GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 1-seeded University of Florida softball team advanced to NCAA Super Regionals with an 8-0 run-rule victory over UCF in the Gainesville Regional Final Sunday at KSP Stadium. With the win, UF earned a Super Regional berth for ninth time in 10 seasons.
The Gators (56-5) blanked UCF (38-22) for a second time this weekend behind Aleshia Ocasio's (22-1) three-hit shutout. Ocasio fanned seven and gave up just one walk in Sunday's showdown. After tossing 17 scoreless innings and outscoring three foes 24-0 this weekend, the Gators racked up three consecutive shutouts in regional play for the fourth time in school history (also: 2007, 2014, 2015), and for the 10th consecutive regional game since 2013.
Once again, seniors Taylor Fuller and Aubree Munro provided a spark for the Gators at the bottom of the batting order to turn over the lineup and generate run production in Sunday's Regional Final.
Fuller drove in the first two Florida runs, working a little two-out magic in the second. With bases loaded and two down, the third-baseman roped a two-run single through the left side to score a pair of seniors in Kirsti Merritt, who led off with a double, and Munro, who worked one of two base-on-balls for the Gators in the frame.
The Gators got back to work in the fourth and put together a six-run stanza for the eight-run rule win. Florida took advantage of two hit-by-pitches and a Knights error when freshman Amanda Lorenz dropped a blooper in shallow center for UF's third run. A Merritt bases-loaded walk plated the fourth score and a sneaky Kelsey Stewart stole home on the same play to give the Gators a 5-0 advantage to set up a Nicole DeWitt three-run jack for the eight-run lead and final against UCF.
Florida has won 12 straight NCAA Regional contests dating back to the 2013 season and will host the winner of the Athens Regional -- Georgia or Oklahoma State -- next weekend in Super Regional action
Florida will host either Georgia or Oklahoma State a Super Regional next weekend. Dates, times and television information are to be determined..