Florida Softball: Gators complete turn around and are returning to Oklahoma City

The Florida Gators are heading back to the Women's College World Series after defeating Baylor in game three
Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY

Last season, Florida Softball struggled to pitch when it mattered and didn't have enough depth in the lineup to overcome big innings from the opposition. As a result, Florida's season ended in the Regional round.

But after flipping the roster from 2023, the Florida Gators are returning to a place that is the standard for the program after knocking of Baylor 5-3 in game of Super Regionals.

Florida Softball: Welcome Back

After winning game one 4-2 Florida couldn't find enough timely hits yesterday. In combination with Keagan Rothrock getting knocked out early, the Gators fell 5-2 to force a winner take all game three.

Unfazed, Rothrock returned to the circle and pitched three innings as sharp as one could be. She kept Baylor scoreless, and along the way, the Gators opened up a 4-0 lead, in part thanks to a Mia Williams home run.

In the bottom of the third it looked like Florida was going to bust things open and make the remainder of the game a formality. The Gators had bases loaded with no outs and seemingly walked home a run to make it 5-0. But a Baylor challenge determined the Gators left the base early, leading to an out, and Florida hit into a double play with the next batter to leave the inning still up just 4-0.

From there, Baylor chipped away at Rothrock and got it to 4-3 heading into the bottom of the 5th.

Arliel Kowalewski brought home Jocelyn Erickson on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3, but Florida kept the door open by only getting one run out of another bases loaded and no out situation.

A quiet 6th inning set up a nerve racking 7th inning after Baylor had two runners on with no outs and the score still 5-3. Rothrock induced a pop out on a bunt, a fly out, and another pop out to escape the jam and send the Gators back to the Women's College World Series.

The Gators will now be off to Oklahoma City and will take on Oklahoma State in the opening round on Thursday. The two squads met earlier this season in Gainesville, with Oklahoma State winning 3-0. The two teams also met back in 2022 in the World Series, with Oklahoma State also winning that affair 2-0.