It has not been a great season for Florida softball. After starting the year 10-0, the Gators went 26-20 the rest of the way. Worse, for the first time since 2004, the Florida Gators will not be a host site for the NCAA Softball Tournament.
Instead, the Gators will be on the road out west to Palo Alto, CA, as the two seed in the four-team regional hosted by Stanford. At stake will be a trip to Super Regionals to face the winner of the Durham Regional, hosted by Duke.
Florida has advanced out of Regionals every season since 2012, so to enter Regionals as the underdog is unfamiliar territory for the Gators.
The following are five moments that doomed Florida to head out west to keep their season alive.
Florida Softball Letdowns: Disaster out west
The first sign that something was wrong for Florida softball was when they went 1-3 in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Gators were mercy ruled by UCLA and Oregon but had defeated UC Riverside and were in extra innings against Cal State Fullerton with a chance to at least split the weekend.
And in the top of the eighth, Florida took the lead on a Katie Kistler single and needed just three outs to get on the plane with a win.
Elizabeth Hightower couldn’t seal the deal, though, and given the extra innings rule that placed a runner on second to start the innings, the home run surrendered to Hannah Becer was a two-run shot that sent Florida packing.
Cal State has also made the tournament, so it was a missed opportunity for a quality win by the Gators.