Florida softball, currently ranked 16th in the country, is geared up to host the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles in the second matchup between the two teams in as many weeks.
And as Florida continues to cling to the hope of being a host site for NCAA Regionals, a win tonight might be required to achieve that dream.
Florida Softball: Sunshine Showdown, Part 2
Both teams are coming off recent victories, with the Gators (34-16) winning their final SEC home series against Ole Miss. The Seminoles (43-8) swept Notre Dame on the road. The two squads met last week, and the Gators are looking for redemption after a 5-3 loss to the Seminoles last week in Tallahassee. Florida held leads of 1-0 and 3-2, but a three-run 4th inning helped FSU pull away for the victory.
As always, Florida will look to Skylar Wallace to lead the Gators. She currently ranks 10th nationally with a .456 batting average and leads the team in on-base percentage (.596) and runs per game (1.33).
For the Neighbors to the West, the Seminoles boast a solid pitching staff with a combined 1.68 ERA. Freshman Makenna Reid leads the group with an impressive 0.93 ERA and an 11-0 record. With a 1.17 ERA and an 18-3 record, Kathryn Sandercock completes the one-two duo.
Florida State may have their eyes on a bigger prize as the Seminoles have a chance to win their first ACC regular-season championship since 2018 if they can pick up one win against Louisville over the weekend.
With that said, a win tonight for the Seminoles would match their longest winning streak against the Gators since 2000.
Although the Gators have been up-and-down this season, including a season-high four-game losing streak last week between the Tennessee series and the loss to FSU, they have been solid at home, boasting a 23-5 record in Gainesville. The Seminoles are a solid road team, winning 12 straight away games, including the recent sweep of Notre Dame.
A win would mean more for Florida softball than it would for FSU. The Seminoles are probably locked into a top-eight national seed, even with a loss tonight. But with Florida teetering around 16th nationally, a win tonight, followed by a series win this weekend against Kentucky, could assure Florida they don’t have to travel when NCAA play begins.
Unlike baseball, you can actually watch this contest. The game is at 6 PM on ESPNU.