University of Florida

Florida Gators win NCAA title in softball

Kirsti Merritt hit a three-run homer, and Florida defeated Alabama 6-3 on Tuesday night at Oklahoma City to win its first NCAA softball championship.

The Gators (55-12) swept the championship series 2-0. Florida was the national runner-up in 2009 and 2011.

Jackie Traina, one of the nation’s best pitchers, gave up five runs in 1 1/3 innings before getting pulled for Alabama (53-13).

Florida coach Tim Walton chose not to start ace Hannah Rogers, but she entered the game in the sixth inning after Lauren Haeger and Delanie Gourley gave her a lead. She gave up one run in two innings. Merritt helped her with a spectacular diving catch in center field for the first out in the top of the seventh.

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