Jacksonville Sports Day

Florida Closes 2017 Season with 5-4 Loss to Oklahoma in WCWS Finale

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Gators closed the books another successful season Tuesday, falling to Oklahoma, 5-4, in the second game of the Women’s College World Series best-of-three Championship Series at USA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Florida (58-10) has made eight WCWS trips in the last 10 years and has now played in the WCWS Championship Series five times (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017).

This season in Oklahoma City, UF represented their conference and university well with five WCWS All-Tournament Team members, highlighted by sophomore Amanda Lorenz. Oklahoma (61-9) rallied for its second-straight title and third in five years with 7-5 (17 innings) and 5-4 wins over Florida.

OU’s Shay Knighten garnered Most Outstanding Player honors for the Women’s College World Series.

Along with Lorenz, junior Aleshia Ocasio, senior Justine McLean, sophomore Kelly Barnhill and senior Delanie Gourley were named to the 2017 WCWS All-Tournament Team. UF won three games in OKC this season to move its record to 13-3 at the WCWS since the start of the 2014 season.

That win total marks the most in the country.

In addition to its impressive postseason run, Florida clinched its third-straight SEC Regular Season Championship. UF became the first team in league history to accomplish that feat.

OU struck first in the bottom of the first inning, as Nicole Mendes recorded a leadoff home run for the Sooners.

Florida quickly answered with a Sophia Reynoso solo home run to lead off the top of the second inning. That long ball was her third homer of the season and first since March 19.

One walk and a pair of singles later, Aleshia Ocasio recorded a two-out RBI single to right field to give Florida its first and only lead of the game.

Following the single, OU removed Paige Parker (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 K, 3 BB) and brought in rookie Mariah Lopez with the bases loaded. After Kayli Kvistad brought Florida’s lead to 3-1 with an RBI on a hit by pitch, Lopez induced a fly out to end the inning.

Undaunted, Oklahoma responded with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the second inning.

OU loaded the bases with one out, which prompted a pitching change from Florida. Delanie Gourley, who threw 127 pitches on Monday and 104 on Sunday, replaced Ocasio (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 K, 1 BB) in the circle.

Florida’s senior lefty struck out Nicole Mendes for the second out of inning, but walked OU’s Caliegh Clifton and surrendered a bases-clearing double to Shay Knighten.

The walk and double push Oklahoma ahead of Florida, 5-3.

In the top of the third, senior Chelsea Herndon answered with a solo home run to center field.

On her birthday no less.

However, that was as close as Florida would come.

In the 6th, Florida pushed a runner into scoring position following a leadoff single, but could not score her.

Oklahoma turned to its ace, Paige Lowary, following Jordan Roberts’ leadoff single. The Sooner lefty retired the only six batters she faced to secure the win.

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