FLORIDA 3, SOUTH CAROLINA 1
Columbia, MO– The Florida Gators have swept the SEC regular season and post-season championships. The Gators defeated South Carolina by a 3-1 decision on Saturday to earn the tournament crown.
The Gators were led by the efforts of starting pitcher Aleshia Ocasio and a three run home run from SEC Player of the Year, Amanda Lorenz.
The Gamecocks got on board early as Ocasio gave up a double to the first hitter of the contest, Kenzi McGuire. South Carolina got on the board with a sacrifice fly by Cayla Drotar just two batters later.
In the third inning, Lorenz struck. Ocasio reached base with a single, and Alex Voss walked to put a pair of runners on. With two outs, Lorenz got down in the count, 0-2 before taking a couple of pitches and hitting a home run that barely scaled the wall in centerfield. What makes this more impressive was just how ugly of a swing Lorenz took in getting behind. Lorenz made a half-hearted offer at the second pitch of the at-bat. She told the ESPN broadcast crew after the game that she was happy she didn’t make contact on that attempt.
Armed with a 3-1 lead, Ocasio was able to cruise. For three innings (second through fifth), Ocasio didn’t even throw a ball out of the strikezone. Ocasio finished with a final line of 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
Nicole DeWitt, Amanda Lorenz, Aleshia Ocasio and Janell Wheaton were each named to the All-SEC Tournament team with Lorenz taking home the Tournament’s MVP honors.
This is the fourth time in program history that Florida has earned the Tournament title and first since 2013 when it was held in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Gators will await Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show to find out where they will be seeded. Head coach Tim Walton said he “optimistically” expects to be in the two to four seed range.
The NCAA Softball Tournament Selection show can be watched live on ESPN 2 at 10:00 PM on Sunday.
The Gator Chomp Blog will do a feature previewing the regional round of play Thursday morning. Please stay with us as the Gators look to make a run through the NCAA Tournament beginning next weekend.
W: Ocasio (20-6)
L: Kelsey Oh (13-5)