The University of Florida bullpen continues to dominate as the top-ranked Gators improve on their unblemished record.
The Gators (16-0) have arguably the best pitching staff in collegiate softball, with three ladies who could be aces at most other schools. Not only are the pitchers getting wins and retiring batters, they are doing it with no-hitters. Junior Lauren Haeger (5-0, 1.03 ERA) threw her first career no-hitter in Vegas during the Easton Desert Classic; not to be outdone, Senior Hannah Rogers (6-0, 1.08 ERA) tossed the third no-no of her career during the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville last Saturday.
During the Lipton Invitational, Haeger was one inning away from a second no-hitter.
The third member of the pitching trio is Delanie Gourley (5-0, 2.17 ERA), a Freshman from Lakeside, California. Gourley has played very well while learning the college pace, and has pitched nicely to get out of jams. The experience she is getting this year will be even more valuable next year in the absence of Rogers.
To get a better picture of the talent in Florida’s bullpen, realize that junior Alyssa Bache is 14-0 in her career. Not many teams have an undefeated pitcher fourth on the depth chart.
Florida certainly has the weapons to win in Oklahoma City this summer. A strong bullpen is only half the battle, but the Gators also possess the other half —consistent batters. The Gators have won their 16 games by a combined score of 131-22. Consider that leadoff batter Kelsey Stewart has scored more runs herself (21) as all 16 opponents combined.
The season is young, but this seems to be the complete team. The Gators have never won the WCWS, but Gator fans are hoping this is the year.
The Gators will be in action this weekend at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando.