The Florida Gators and LSU Tigers kicked of the 2015 College Softball World Series action with victories on Thursday afternoon. The World Series is an eight team double elimination tournament that is broken into two-four team brackets. The winners of each of the two brackets advance to play in a best of three series starting June 1.
Florida and LSU will square off on May 29 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at 7:30. The top-seeded Gators (56-6) advanced with a 7-2 victory over No. 8 seed Tennessee (47-16) while the No. 5 Tigers defeated No.4 Auburn 6-1.
In the Florida game, National Player of the Year Lauren Haeger got things started for the Gators with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. The home run was the 69th roundtripper for the SEC’s career home record holder.
“It felt great. I wasn’t going out there — I can’t ever go out there and try to hit a home run,” Haeger said. “My home runs will come with good at-bats and good swings at good pitches. I was just going up there looking for a good pitch to hit with two outs. I did a great job with battling a few off there and got a good pitch to hit and it was really exciting.”
Kayli Kvistad extended Florida’s lead to 3-0 with a two-run blast for her sixth home run of the season. However, Tennessee did something in the top of the fourth that no other team has managed to do this postseason — which was to score runs off the Gators. Megan Geer smacked a two-run homer to bring the Lady Vols to within 3-2.
The Gators answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth and then added insurance runs in the sixth. Haeger, who went 2-for-2 at the plate, picked up her 29th win on the mound. She surrendered just one hit and didn’t walk a single batter while going the distance.
LSU pounded out a WCWS-program record tying 10 hits en route to their victory over Auburn. Emily Griggs went 3-for-3 and Constance Quinn added a pair of hits.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a Bianka Bell home run, her 18th of the season. LSU then added four in the third to make it 5-0.
Carly Hoover scattered six hits and struck out five while going the distance for the Tigers. Marcy Harper suffered loss for Auburn, which will face Tennesee on May 30 in an elimination game.
No. 3 Michigan is currently taking on No. 6 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon (51-6) will face No. 7 UCLA (50-10) later tonight ( 9:30 p.m.). All games are televised on the ESPN family of networks.