Florida seeks softball title repeat
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Defending champion Florida leads five Southeastern Conference schools in the field for the eight-team Women's College World Series.
Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and LSU are the other SEC qualifiers. Action starts Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Florida, the No. 1 seed, defeated Kentucky in Super Regional play to advance. The Gators won the series opener, and then took the second game on Sunday when Lauren Haeger tossed a three-hitter in a 1-0 victory. The game's lone run scored on a single by Justine McLean in the fourth inning.
Florida will play No. 8 seed Tennessee on Thursday.
Alabama, last year's national runner-up, might have had the toughest road to Oklahoma City. The Crimson Tide defeated Oklahoma in the Super Regional.
No. 6 seed Alabama lost the first game, and then grabbed a pair of wins on Saturday. Oklahoma's Lauren Chamberlain, the career leader for home runs in Division I, went deep twice in the deciding game on Saturday, but Marisa Runyon's grand slam lifted the Crimson Tide to a 5-3 win.
Runyon had no hits in the Super Regional until she cranked the grand slam.
''I just wanted to get it done,'' she said. ''I didn't care about any other at-bat. Mentally, I just thought, `Whatever, it happens.' I just wanted to get at least one run in and hit the ball hard and let fate tell the rest.''
Alabama won 2-0 in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. Freshman Alexis Osorio struck out Chamberlain with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
''It was a really tight situation,'' Osorio said. ''I knew I needed to just stay calm, relax and stay within myself. I had to do whatever it took for the team.''
Chamberlain ended her career with 95 home runs.
Alabama will play No. 3 seed Michigan, which advanced with a sweep against Georgia.
No. 4 seed Auburn beat Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday to advance to the College World Series for the first time. Auburn coach Clint Myers had discussed the possibility with his team throughout the season.
''We're not afraid to talk about things we believe in,'' Myers told AuburnTigers.com. ''We believed this club had potential - with some hard work and a little luck, we'd be able to do some great things.''
The Tigers will play No. 5 seed LSU.
No. 2 seed Oregon will face No. 7 seed UCLA in a Pac-12 matchup.