Special to GC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Michigan’s softball team scored one run on two hits in the bottom of the first inning, which proved to be the difference in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series, as the Wolverines downed the University of Florida, 1-0, on Tuesday night in front of 8,254 people at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
In was a classic pitcher’s duel that saw UM’s Haylie Wagner (25-2) come out the victor. The senior threw seven scoreless innings, struck out five Florida hitters and walked none.
Her counterpart, UF senior Lauren Haeger (31-2), kept the Gators in the contest the whole way, as she threw six strong innings but the first inning run couldn’t be overcome by the UF offense.
In the bottom of the first, UM’s Sierra Lawrence and Sierra Romero each reached base by way of a single and fielder’s choice to lead off the frame. One batter later, Lauren Sweet drilled a RBI single into center field
After Sweet’s single, Haeger retired 17 of the final 21 Wolverines she faced.
The Gators best chance to score came in the top of the second, as UF had runners on the corners with two outs, but were unable to capitalize on the situation. That was the lone Gator baserunner to make it to third all night.
Florida and Michigan will play a decisive WCWS Championship Series Game 3 tomorrow night at HOF Stadium in Oklahoma City at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
STARS OF THE GAME
Lauren Haeger: The senior went 2-for-3 at the plate and tossed six strong innings of one-run softball for the Gators.
Taylor Schwarz: The junior had one of the two hits during the Gators second inning rally and was solid all night defensively at first base with eight putouts.
2015 is the second consecutive year both teams in the NCAA WCWS Championship Series or Game are both located east of the Mississippi River. The first time was in 2014 when Florida faced Alabama in the WCWS Championship series.
This is the eighth time in the 34-year history of the WCWS that the championship final does not contain a team from the Pacific Time Zone. The first 24 years of the event had at least one team in the final from a west coast state.
The Florida-Michigan meeting marks the fifth consecutive year a Southeastern Conference team appears in the WCWS Championship Series.
Florida is now 21-12 all-time at the WCWS.
The Gators are now 68-33 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
During Tim Walton’s tenure as head coach, UF is 63-21 in NCAA play and 21-12 at the WCWS.
The Gators are now 27-3 since April 1; the stretch includes 18 victories over ranked teams and 11 nonconference wins.
In 72 innings during this NCAA Tournament, the Gators threw 68 scoreless frames; Haeger has recorded 55 of those shutout innings.
The Gators will look to clinch their second consecutive national title when they meet Michigan in Game 3 of the best-of-three WCWS Championship Series at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on Wednesday on ESPN. Florida Sports Talk will have the radio broadcast with Adam Schick (play-by-play) and former Gator All-American Megan Bush (analysis) on the call. In addition, live stats will be available through Gametracker via the GatorZone.com schedule page.