BLACKSBURG, Va. - No.14-seed Florida raced past No.3-seed Virginia Tech for a 12-0, five-inning run-rule victory at Tech Softball Park Sunday afternoon to advance to the Women's College World Series for the 11th time in program history.
The Gators (48-17) and the Hokies (46-10) squared off in game three for a trip to Oklahoma City in front of a crowd. The Orange & Blue answered the call and handed Virginia Tech their third shutout and first run-rule defeat of the season. In fact, it was the first run-rule defeat for VT since March 13, 2021 against North Carolina State.
Florida scored in every inning of play during today's game with the first being the result of a pair of errors in the first inning of play. Freshman leadoff batter Kendra Falby reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and eventually scored on a collision down the left field line on a fly by ball from Echols.
From that moment on the Gators never looked back as the team went on to score 11 more times on 13 total hits. The 12 total runs are the most given up by the Virginia Tech pitching staff this season that includes All-American starting pitcher Keely Rochard (26-4).
Rochard was matched up with the combination of Florida's freshman starter Lexie Delbrey and fifth-year graduate reliever Natalie Lugo (11-5). The duo limited a potent Virginia Tech offense to a season-low two hits as each only allowed one in the five-inning affair.
Sophomore's Katie Kistler and Avery Goelz kept the momentum going at the plate and started a big three-run rally that eventually put the Gators ahead 4-0 over the Hokies. Kistler drew a one-out walk to put a runner on and a productive groundout by freshman Sam Roe move her into scoring position, but it was Goelz who set the tone for the rest of the game at the plate.
Goelz, a Myakka City, Fla. native, stood in the box and blistered the 0-2 offering from Rochard down the right field line for an RBI double that scored Kistler from second base. It was the first extra-base hit off of Rochard for the Gators in the series.
That double was followed by RBI single from both Falby and redshirt-junior Skylar Wallace. Florida hung another crooked number in the third inning and took a 10-0 lead over the Hokies with a six-run frame that knocked Rochard out of the game. Freshman Reagan Walsh started the frame with a five-pitch walk, which was then followed by back-to-back singles from senior Cheyenne Lindsey and Kistler.
Roe and Goelz both notched sacrifice flies during the ensuing at-bats, while Falby and Adams reached via an infield single and a walk. Virginia Tech pulled Rochard after the walk to Adams and opted to bring in freshman ace Emma Lemley, but that didn't slow down Florida's torrid pace at the plate.
Wallace drove in Falby and Kistler with a two-RBI single to right and Echols followed up with another two-RBI single to the same spot to give UF the 10-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, the Gators faced the Hokies third pitcher of the day, Mackenzie Osborne, and plated one run to extend their lead out to 11-0. Goelz once again did the damage as she drove in Kistler with a two-out RBI single to center field.
Florida closed out the scoring in emphatic fashion in the top of the fifth inning. Wallace stood in the box and worked a 2-0 hitter's count and lifted the ball over the left center field wall for her eighth home run of the season.
- The program advanced to the Women's College World Series for the 11th time in program history.
- It's also the 11th time in 14 NCAA Super Regional appearances since making the program's first appearance in 2007.
- The Gators are 23-11 all-time during the NCAA Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Overall, the program is 99-48 all-time in the tournament.
- The two-hit shutout is the fourth time the Gators have held a NCAA Super Regional opponent to just two hits and it's the 11th shutout thrown by UF pitcher's all-time in a super regional game.
- UF is 8-1 all-time against Virginia Tech and 3-1 when playing in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Gators have outscored opponents 47-10 in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
- Florida's 12 runs are the most ever by the program in a super regional game.
- The 12-run differential was also the largest in a game three of a super regional.
- Florida has produced 10 or more hits in five out of the six NCAA Tournament games this year.
May 20, 2022 vs. Canisius - 10 Hits
May 21, 2022 vs. Georgia Tech - 10 Hits
May 22, 2022 vs. Wisconsin - 15 Hits
May 28, 2022 vs. Virginia Tech - GM2 - 10 Hits May 29, 2022 vs. Virginia Tech - GM 3 - 13 Hits
- In addition, the Gators 13 hits are the most hits by the Gators in an NCAA Super Regional game.
- Avery Goelz's three RBI tied her career-high, which she set against Coastal Carolina (March 6, 2022).
- Skylar Wallace's four-RBI day tied her season-high mark, which she has already achieved twice already this season.
Next up for the Gators is an opening round game against Oregon State in Oklahoma City at the Women's College World Series.