After taking the first game in the Women's College World Series, the Florida Gators were looking to win the NCAA title with a second win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Gators did exactly that, taking Alabama down 6-3 to win the first national championship in school history.
The Gators got a strong 5-0 win in Game 1, thanks to a dominant performance from Hannah Rogers. However, head coach Tim Walton decided to go with Lauren Haeger in Game 2 instead of Rogers, according to ESPN's Beth Mowins.
Breaking news: Lauren Haeger starts for Gators, not Hannah Rogers #wcws game 2 Finals espn next. What ya think— Beth Mowins (@bethmowins) June 3, 2014
Rogers had been virtually unstoppable as the starting pitcher since the start of the tournament, with a 7-0 record and a 0.50 ERA, making it a surprising move for Walton to go with Haeger.
After not getting a hit until the fifth inning in the first game, the Crimson Tide quickly got two singles off of Haeger in the first inning of Game 2. Jadyn Spencer, who had been dominant throughout the postseason, was then able to drive in a run to give Alabama the 1-0 lead.
That lead didn't last long, however. In the bottom of the first, Stephanie Tofft belted a solo home run off of Jackie Traina to tie things up. As Gator Zone's Chris Harry pointed out, that home run gave Tofft her sixth RBI during the Women's College World Series.
Traina's struggles continued heading into the second inning, as it was clear that she just didn't have her best stuff in this series despite being one of the best pitchers in the country prior to this week. The Gators got another RBI single followed by a huge three-run home run by Kirsti Merritt to put the Gators up 5-1.
Those five runs, in just 1.1 innings, were enough for Traina to get pulled for the second consecutive night, as she was replaced in Game 2 by Sydney Littlejohn.
The Crimson Tide got on the board again in the top of the third thanks to a solo home run from Kaila Hunt to close the lead to 5-2. With that shot, the senior actually moved to tied for second in career home runs at Alabama with 58.
Kaila Hunt's HR in the T3rd ties her with Charlotte Morgan (2008-11) for second in Alabama history with 58 career HRs— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) June 4, 2014
While the team came into this game as the nation's best fielding team, the Gators were actually pretty sloppy early on with three errors. Another error came in the bottom of the fourth on a fly ball to put runners at second and third with no one out for Alabama, but freshman Delanie Gourley was able to work out of the jam without allowing a run.
Gourley was able to keep the Crimson Tide from scoring through the fifth inning, and coach Walton decided it was time to pull the trigger before the sixth inning and finally bring out Rogers to pitch to try and seal the win for Florida.
Both teams were able to add another run late, but Rogers was able to close things down in the seventh inning to give the Gators the 6-3 win and the national title.
The win gave the Gators their first NCAA title in school history while also becoming just the second SEC school to ever win the Women's College World Series. The Crimson Tide were able to win the whole thing back in 2012 to be the first SEC school to do so, but they were unable to add a second title, coming up just short.
Now, the Gators can enjoy the offseason as national champions, and Rogers can officially go down as one of the greatest college softball pitchers of all time.