Tampa Bay Times staff
Sunday, May 31, 2015 9:37pm
Florida’s Taylore Fuller is met by teammates after she homers in the fourth inning during the Gators 3-2 victory over SEC rival Auburn. Florida, the defending tournament champion, faces Michigan in a best-of-three final series starting tonight.
Associated Press: Florida’s Taylore Fuller is met by teammates after she homers in the fourth inning during the Gators’ 3-2 victory over SEC rival Auburn. Florida, the defending tournament champion, faces Michigan in a best-of-three final series starting tonight.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kristi Merritt and Lauren Haeger made the throws and a freshman got the big hit to put Florida on the verge of a repeat.
Merritt, a center fielder, threw out runners at the plate in the second and fourth innings, Haeger pitched a complete game, and freshman Nicole DeWitt hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth to give Florida a 3-2 victory over Auburn on Sunday, sending the defending national champion Gators back to the Women’s College World Series final.
No. 1 seed Florida (58-6) faces No. 3 Michigan in Game 1 of a best-of-three series starting at 8 tonight on ESPN2. The Wolverines (59-6) eliminated LSU 6-3.
Both finalists are undefeated in the postseason and Michigan has won 28 in a row. The teams have met twice this season, with the Gators winning both, including once in Tampa at the USF Softball Classic.
Haeger gave up 11 hits Sunday but constantly got out of jams.
“It was a battle,” Haeger said. “It was a dogfight. It was a nice clean softball game of just fighting each other and getting outs when we needed to.”
DeWitt’s single in the bottom of the ninth scored Justine McLean for the winner. McLean reached second on a wild pitch before DeWitt’s hit off Auburn reliever Marcy Harper.
The Tigers (56-11) left 14 runners on base, squandering their chance to force a second game.
Florida loaded the bases in the third, and McLean scored on a wild pitch. In the fourth, Branndi Melero’s bases-loaded single scored two to put the Tigers up 2-1.
UF answered quickly. Taylore Fuller’s rocket cleared the leftfield fence in the fourth to tie it. “That’s an experience that’s once in a lifetime,” she said.
Men’s golf: USF remained in solid contention for the school’s first national title in any sport.
The Bulls shot 4-over-par 292 in the third round of stroke play and stood seventh at 13-over 877 when lightning halted action at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton. Florida State, in 11th at 19-over total, was among nine teams still playing Sunday.
Both clinched one of the top 15 spots in today’s final round of stroke play, which will start 30-45 minutes after the third round. The top eight teams reach Tuesday’s match-play quarterfinals.
Leading the Bulls again was freshman Claudio Correa, whose 3-under 69 put him in a three-way tie for third (4 under) for the tournament. FSU sophomore Jack Maguire of St. Petersburg High was even through 16 when his round was halted. He was tied for 14th (even) overall.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.
Florida clinches return to Women’s World Series final 05/31/15 [Last modified: Sunday, May 31, 2015 11:04pm]