Softball

WCWS Bound: Hoover’s clutch hit leads Gators back to OKC

Photo by Brian Fox / ChompTalk.com

For the third consecutive year, the Florida Gators are headed to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series. And for the second straight year, the Gators advanced thanks to a walk-off.

The Gators and Tennessee duelled to extra innings for consecutive nights, however this time the Gators came through with the clutch hit.

Jaimie Hoover had struck out in each of her first three at-bats, but when faced with a two on, two out scenario in the bottom of the eighth, she came through with her most clutch hit as a Gator.

Amanda Lorenz scored from third and raced into a sea of awaiting teammates to clinch the WCWS berth.

Head coach Tim Walton admitted that pinch hitting for the struggling Hoover was a thought prior to the at-bat. Fortunately, he didn’t follow through.

“I reminded them not to interfere with the runner before [Amanda] crossed home plate.”

The Gators took an early 1-0 lead as Amanda Lorenz walked and came around to score on Sophia Reynoso’s single to right-center.

Tennessee finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh when RF Haley Bearden crushed Barnhill’s first offering over the right-center field fence to set up the dramatic finish.

Photo by Brian Fox / ChompTalk.com

Fast stats:

  • Kelly Barnhill: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 7 K, 1 BB
  • Hannah Adams: 2-4
  • Amanda Lorenz: 1-3, 2 R

Quotable:

  • Jaimie Hoover: “I was just looking for something I could drive.”
  • Amanda Lorenz: “I was trying to soak it in all game.”

What’s next:

Florida heads to Oklahoma City for the tenth time in the last twelve years. The Gators will open WCWS play on Thursday against Oklahoma State. The game is slated to begin at 7:30 PM.

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