GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If it seems like the Gators just won a national championship, well, you’re not losing your memory.
As Florida ace Hannah Rogers dusted off Alabama late Tuesday night to claim UF’s first softball national title at the Women’s College World Series, only 45 days had passed since the UF gymnastics team won its second consecutive national championship, sharing the title with Oklahoma thanks to a stirring comeback.
Gators gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn shared Florida’s national-title success in a tweet Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, UF softball coach Tim Walton tried to grasp the first national title in the UF softball program’s 18 seasons.
Walton knew he had a good team. But he found out how good in the NCAA Tournament as the Gators went 10-1 and outscored opponents 81-10. The fifth seed, the Gators were a perfect 5-0 in Oklahoma City after knocking off SEC rival Alabama on back-to-back nights in the championship series.
"This is kind of a surreal for me," he said during his postgame press conference. "We just felt good about our team. We set a goal. Most teams set goals to win every series or win the SEC or do some things. This team actually set a goal to win a national championship. This team felt like we had the parts and pieces to do it."
In the first all-SEC WCWS Championship Series, the Gators won Game 1, 5-0, Monday night behind a four-hitter from Rogers. In Game 2, Rogers earned the save in Florida’s 6-3 victory. Kirsti Merritt’s three-run homer in the second inning was the game’s biggest moment and knocked Crimson Tide ace Jaclyn Traina from the game.
The Gators are compiling national championship trophies at an impressive rate since winning their second football national title in 2006. Florida’s athletic program has won 15 national titles over that span, adding 11 since the 2009-10 sports calendar.
Florida’s 15 national titles since 2006 lead the SEC, and the Gators have won multiple national titles in each of the last five years.