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Florida rides stellar pitching to championship

2015 Division I Softball

University of Florida coach Tim Walton builds his teams around pitching and defense. Entering the 2015 Women’s College World Series, the Gators had not allowed a run in the NCAA tournament. And riding the arm of senior pitcher Lauren Haeger, Florida repeated as national champions, defeating the University of Michigan in a best-of-three game series June 3 in Oklahoma City.

The Gators finished the season where they started – ranked No. 1 in the nation – and compiled a 60-7 record. The Wolverines finished the year with a 60-8 mark.

“To win this game to be the overall percentage leader in the country just says a lot about not only both programs but the coaching staffs and the players,” Walton said.

Haeger, the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, didn’t pitch in Game 1 of the championship series. Instead, Walton relied on freshman Aleshia Ocasio to get it done in the circle. Ocasio held Michigan scoreless through five innings, but gave up two in the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Walton called upon sophomore Delanie Gourley to close. Florida escaped Game 1 with a 3-2 victory, snapping the Wolverines’ 28-game winning streak.

Entering Game 2, the Wolverines came out swinging. Michigan jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the 1st inning – it was the only run either team would score all game. The Wolverines forced only the fourth-ever deciding Game 3.

In Game 3, Florida scored three runs in the bottom of the first and another in the second. Those would be enough to secure a 4-1 victory and a national championship. With the win, Florida joins the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Arizona as the only schools to earn back-to-back national titles in Division I softball. 

The Results
2015 Division I Softball

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Game 1: Florida 3, Michigan 2
Game 2: Michigan 1, Florida 0
Game 3: Florida 4, Michigan 1

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Dylan Supak, LSU

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