The BR-2 Florida Gators have put together a dominant season on the diamond. At 53-4, they are the front runner for a national title. But how much do you really know about the Lady Gators?
Here are 10 surprising facts about the best squad in college softball:
1) Seven of the 19 members of this year’s team – Senior Aubree Munro (Brea), juniors Delanie Gourley (Lakeside) and Justine McLean (Rancho Cucamonga), sophomores Nicole DeWitt (Garden Grove) and Janell Wheaton (San Dimas), and freshmen Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark), and Sophia Reynoso (Palmdale) – all hail from the state of California. Head coach Tim Walton and assistant coach Jennifer Rocha grew up in the Golden State, and it’s clear they like to recruit there as well.
2) Head coach Tim Walton is one of two current Gator head coaches who also won national titles as an NCAA athlete. Walton was the game-winning pitcher for Oklahoma in the 1994 College World Series.
3) If Florida goes all the way to the NCAA title again this season they'll be the second team in D1 College Softball history to three-peat, and the first since UCLA won it all in 1988, '89, and '90.
4) Florida outfielder Kristi Merritt is currently watching 27 different TV shows. No clue how she balances that with softball, and you know, school.
5) Florida leads the division in team ERA with an impressive 0.88. They've allowed 47 earned-runs in 374.2 innings pitched.
6) If they manage to retain that impressive ERA, it'll be the best team ERA since 2008-09, when the (guess who?) Florida Gators put up a combined 0.69 mark on the year.
7) Florida picked up the 900th win in program history on April 26, in a 9-1 win over Texas A&M.
8) Catcher/First basemen Janell Wheaton always wears a bracelet on her right wrist.
9) Outfielder Chelsea Herndon wants to work for Nike in some capacity when she graduates.
10) Only one team has a winning record against the Gators this season: Alabama. The Gators will get a chance to even the score if the Tide can pull out a win against Auburn in their rain-delayed 11 a.m. CT start today.
11) The Gators' rivalry with the Tide goes deeper than just this year — Alabama and LSU are the only SEC teams that can boast a winning record against Florida. The Tide lead the all-time series 35-31, while the Tigers lead their series 32-27.
12) Outfielder Amanda Lorenz looks up to Derek Jeter and Jessica Mendoza. How can you not admire those two?
13) Gator southpaw Delanie Gourley’s uncle, Matt Nokes, played 11 years in the MLB.
14) Utility player Kayli Kvistad puts her initials on everything she owns. Hopefully she never loses anything.
15) Infielder Kelsey Stewart is terrified of the Chic-fil-A cow. I mean can you really blame her?