GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida softball coach Tim Walton has team ready to once again to make a deep run the NCAA Tournament.
The Gators (50-6) are the No. 1 overall seed for the third straight year and fifth time in program history and host No. 2 seed Oklahoma State, No. 3 seed Florida International and No. 4 seed Florida A&M at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. It’s a tremendous feat considering no other school has ever been awarded the top seed more than once in the 12 years that the NCAA has outright named the top-16 seeds.
“We are the favorite, but we’re also the favorite for people wanting to watch us lose too,” Walton said. “I recognize that. Everybody wants to see the underdog win, so you’ve just gotta embrace it and have fun with it.”
That starts Friday afternoon with the Rattlers (23-30), an automatic qualifier from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Florida has already defeated Florida A&M twice this season by scores of 8-1 (Feb. 17) and 7-0 (May 7).
How to watch Florida on TV and online
Florida’s game against Florida A&M on Friday will be televised on the SEC Network at 2:30 p.m. The game can also be streamed online via WatchESPN. The full Gainesville regional schedule is as follows (with television broadcasts being announced on a daily basis:
Game 1: FIU vs. Oklahoma State, noon (ESPNU)
Game 2: Florida A&M vs. Florida, 2:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, noon
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser (Elimination game), 2:30 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner (Elimination game), 5 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, noon
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 2:30 p.m.
- Florida is 72-35 (.667) all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has swept each of its last four NCAA regionals.
- The Gators are attempting to become just the third school in NCAA softball history to win 3 national titles in a 4-year span (also Arizona, UCLA).
- Florida is a perfect 16-0 all-time against Florida A&M.
- The Gators have faced 17 teams in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64 and owns a 30-5 record against the field.
- Florida placed a program-record-tying 7 players on the NFCA All-Southeast Region teams that were announced Thursday. Pitcher Kelly Barnhill, infielder Nicole DeWitt, outfielder Amanda Lorenz (OF) and pitcher/utility player Aleshia Ocasio landed on the first team. Pitcher Delanie Gourley, first baseman Kayli Kvistad and outfielder Justine McLean earned second-team all-region honors.