Florida lost its opening game in the 2014 SEC Tournament to the rival Georgia Bulldogs. Suffice to say, the mood was sour after failing to defend 2013’s regular season and conference tournament championships.
2014 Florida Gators Softball
Florida and head coach Tim Walton commanded the fifth-overall seed to begin the NCAA Tournament. Hosting an All-Florida Gainesville Regional, the Gators put a beatdown on Florida A&M thanks to a five-inning no-hitter from freshman Delanie Gourley. UF then beat Stetson and UCF in straight games to advance to the Super Regional.
The combined score of those three games? 29-0.
The Gators took two-of-three from the Washington Huskies, winning Game 1 and Game 3 by a combined score of 17-0. Florida ace Hannah Rogers pitched all 10 innings of both run-rule-shortened shutouts, scattering five hits and striking out 11 batters in total.
Keep in mind: Not one of Florida softball’s pitchers were named NFCA All-American that year.
Florida moved on to its third Women’s College World Series appearance in school history.
2014 Women’s College World Series
Now hotter than a six-minute Hot Pocket, Rogers threw two more shutouts to start the WCWS — The first was a three-hitter in five innings against Baylor followed by a complete-game, three-hitter versus Oregon. Rogers picked up her sixth win in 17 days in a 6-3 victory over Baylor to clinch a championship-series date with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In Game 1 (you guessed it), Rogers through all seven innings of a complete-game shutout. Aubree Munro’s solo home run in the third inning gave UF a 1-0 lead, but they tacked on four more for good measure.
Game 2 sent junior Lauren Haegar to the mound, who was no slouch that season. (She had a 10-3 record with a 2.30 ERA while doubling as the team’s best power hitter.) But after three strong innings, and Florida ahead 5-2, Delanie Gourley took over and pitched two innings of no-hit softball.
Only one woman was closing out the national title: Hannah Rogers.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Alabama’s Jadyn Spencer hit a bouncer back to the pitcher’s circle. Calm, cool and collected, Rogers threw over to first base to end the game.
For the first time, the Florida Gators were the Women’s College World Series champions.
UF’s Final Out Seals Victory vs. Alabama
Hannah Rogers’ final stat line during those five postseason games in Oklahoma City is among the greatest performances you’ll see in any sport: 360 pitches, 28 innings, 17 hits, four earned runs, two walks, 13 strikeouts, four wins, and one save.
As if there was any doubt, she was named the 2014 WCWS Most Outstanding Player.
The 2014 season set the precedent for greatness in Gainesville. The three-headed pitching staff was lights out, while an offense led by Haeger (20 home runs), Kirsti Merritt (13 home runs), Stephanie Tofft (65 RBIs) and Kelsey Stewart (.438 batting average and 36 stolen bases) delivered time and again.
Tim Walton’s dynasty was heralded as the No. 2 college softball program of the decade in 2019 and hasn’t slowed down churning out talent and championships since his arrival.
In case you forgot, Florida repeated in 2015 by beating Michigan. Lauren Haeger took her turn and was named Most Outstanding Player.