With the first game of the 2014 College Softball World Series final out of the way, the Florida Gators will be looking to take out the Alabama Crimson Tide and win their first ever national championship on Tuesday night.
The Gators had a very strong 5-0 win over the Crimson Tide on Monday night thanks to some solid hitting against Jaclyn Traina, who surprisingly struggled despite being one of the more reliable pitchers in softball. On the other hand, Hannah Rogers was her usual self, getting a complete game shutout while allowing just three hits.
With Game 2 of the best-of-three series set for Tuesday, let's take a look at the TV schedule for the game followed by a preview of what to expect.
Date: Tuesday, June 3
Time: 8 p.m. ET
This series is big not only for the two schools, but for the entire SEC conference. Regardless of who wins, it will be just the second SEC school to ever win the national championship, with Alabama winning the other one back in 2012.
Florida's big win on Monday ties the season series at 2-2 between these teams, but none of them will be bigger than this one. Both teams have been incredibly successful this postseason, with the two now posting a combined record of 17-2.
If the Crimson Tide want to win, they can't depend on Florida making any mistakes defensively. The Gators have the highest fielding percentage in the nation, and that was on display on Monday, as they turned two double plays despite allowing just four total baserunners.
Both teams have some solid hitters, but all eyes will be on the pitchers in Traina and Rogers. It was a rough first night for Traina, but she's considered arguably the best pitcher in Alabama softball history.
Head coach Patrick Murphy spoke very highly of his pitcher, according to Roger Moore from NCAA.com, saying, "Jackie will go down as probably the greatest in Alabama softball history and one of the best in women's softball."
While Traina is still a terrific pitcher, Rogers is probably better. After the win on Monday night, she now has 126 career wins, third all-time behind Tennessee's Monica Abbott and former Gator Stacey Nelson. This postseason, Rogers is already 4-0 with just a 0.86 ERA.
Senior Washington outfielder Victoria Hayward tweeted out to remind everyone on Monday night that Rogers is not fun to go up against.
One name to look out for on offense will be Florida's Kelsey Stewart. She went 2-for-3 with two runs scored on Monday, but she's a bigger threat to steal a base or two. She leads all players with six stolen bases during the playoffs and had 30 during the regular season, so don't be surprised if she gets another one on Tuesday.
Right now, the Gators look like they're in control, but anything can happen in a series like this one, so we'll see what happens in Game 2.