Florida Softball: Gators play double and advance to SEC championship game

Florida knocked off Georgia and Texas A&M to set up a rematch with Missouri
Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports

The stay for Florida Softball in the SEC Tournament in 2023 was a short one. After winning their first round game against Kentucky, the Gators were invited to leave in the quarterfinals by Tennessee. Their 4-0 loss in last year's tournament was a perfect summation of the season as a whole.

For better or for worse, the 2024 SEC Tournament has also been a perfect summation of Florida's season, and now they get a chance to fix the one blemish on their resume ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

Florida Softball: Flags Fly Forever

Thanks to weather delays in Auburn, Florida's opening quarterfinal game against Georgia was pushed to Thursday morning. The time may have been different than what the players were used to, but the manner in which the game played out was standard 2024 Gator Softball.

Skylar Wallace opened the preceding with a two run home run and that 2-0 lead held into the 5th inning as Keagan Rothrock held the Bulldogs scoreless for the first four innings. The fireworks then began as Georgia responded with a two run home run of their own to tie it in the top of the 5th, only for Florida to re-respond Jocelyn Erickson hitting a three-run home run to cap off a four run bottom of the 5th.

With a 6-2 lead in the 6th it should have been smooth sailing, but as it has been all season long it was anything but. Georgia came back with two solo home runs and had a runner on before Rothrock was lifted for Ava Brown. The Gators got out of the inning and Emily Wilkie hit her first home run of the season in the bottom of the inning to finally put the game away.

Florida 9, Georgia 4

Because the show must roll on, Florida then had to turn around last night and face Texas A&M in the semifinals. The two squads faced off in the regular season finale, with Florida sweeping the series.

Once again, Florida shot out to a huge lead after a five run 2nd inning that featured home runs by Mia Williams and Wallace. Texas A&M clawed two back in the 4th and one more back in the 5th to make it 5-3 heading into the 6th.

Erickson doubled to score two runs and once again put the game to rest as Rothrock collected the complete game victory.

It sets up a winner take all championship game against Missouri, the lone team to take a series off the Gators this season. Back in April during the opening game of their series, the Gators had a 3-2 lead and were four outs away from victory before the Tigers erupted for four runs and won 6-3.

Beyond an SEC title to hang up forever, one would hope a win today would lock up a top-eight seed for the Gators in the NCAA Tournament, giving Florida the inside track to host a potential Super Regional.

First pitch is at 5 PM.