OKLAHOMA CITY – Before Sunday’s Southeastern Conference showdown at the Women’s College World Series, Florida outfielder Kelsey Bruder said her team has had its fair share of wins against Alabama as the Tide have had the same.
In their first matchup, the Gators had another win, and it wasn’t even fair.
The Gators tagged Alabama pitchers Kelsi Dunne and Jackie Triana for 11 runs in the first inning off of five hits and five walks, leading to a 16-2 run-rule victory after five innings.
Florida and Alabama will play again at 7 p.m. ET to determine who will move on to the championship round at the WCWS, and who will see the end of the season.
“I thought we were really loose and comfortable, and we were ready to play right from pitch one,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said.
All-American Michelle Moultrie, who came into the game leading all players in the WCWS in hits, home runs, RBIs and total bases, started the attack for Florida as she led off the bottom of the inning with her third home run of the WCWS.
Catcher Tiffany DeFelice followed with a single and Dunne gave up walks to Kelsey Bruder and Brittany Schutte on nine pitches to load the bases. After Megan Bush popped out in foul territory for the first out, Dunne hit Cheyenne Coyle by a pitch, and walked Aja Pacubla. Both walks drove in runs resulting in a 3-0 lead for Florida and the end of Dunne’s outing.
Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy tried to stop the bleeding by bringing in Triana, but it didn’t help as she walked Gammel to bring in another run, and gave up a two-RBI single to Kasey Fagan to bring the score to 6-0. With Gammel on third and Fagan on first, the Gators executed the double steal to perfection allowing Gammel to score.
In their second go around in the lineup, Moultrie singled to center field advancing Fagan to third base. After DeFelice popped out in foul territory for the Gators’ second out, Bruder was walked once again to load the bases for Schutte, who hit her second career grand slam.
“We just wanted to come out strong and get on top and we did that,” Schutte said. “It was a great feeling to come out and score 11 runs right away.”
The Gators’ run total in the first set the WCWS record for runs scored in an inning, and put an end to Triana’s time in the game.
Murphy brought in pitcher Lauren Sewell to pitch the rest of the way, but the damage did not stop there.
In the next two innings, Florida added five more runs thanks to home runs by Gammel and Coyle, respectively in the second and third.
Florida senior Stephanie Brombacher pitched all five innings for the Gators giving up only three hits with two of them being solo home runs.
When asked whether Brombacher or freshman Hannah Rogers would start for the Gators in the second game, Walton didn’t give an answer, but said he was equally confident in both pitchers.
“(Stephanie) gave up a couple of home runs but other than that, she struck out seven and had good stuff,” Walton said. “We hit first in this next game so hopefully we’ll set the tone.”
Gator Country reporter Safid Deen can be reached at Safid@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SafidDeenGC.