College softball: Top-ranked Florida clinches second straight SEC title
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Following Auburn's loss to Texas A&M on Friday night, No. 1-ranked University of Florida secured its sixth Southeastern Conference regular-season championship on Friday night. Florida (50-4/18-4 SEC), picked in the preseason to win the SEC, has won its second-straight SEC regular season crown for the first time since the Gators went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
In addition, the Gators receive a bye and will open play in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on May 9.
UF (18-4, .818) edged out Auburn (15-6, .714) for its sixth league title in school history (1998, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016), and fifth under Florida head coach Tim Walton.
Earlier on Friday, the Gators defeated Arkansas (17-37/1-21 SEC), 9-0 (five innings), in the opener of the teams' three-game Southeastern Conference series at KSP Stadium. Three different seniors hit home runs for the Gators and Aleshia Ocasio (19-1) threw a complete-game shutout and recorded five strikeouts while yielding three hits and no walks.
Florida is 50-4 overall on the campaign as it heads to the postseason next week in Starkville, Miss., in the midst of its eighth 50-win campaign in school.
The Gators are 21-4 (.840) against top-25 opponents, tops in the SEC, own eight come-from-behind wins – four in SEC play – and are 3-0 in extra-inning games in 2016. Florida owns 25 shutouts and 18 mercy-rule victories. In addition, UF is 22-4 versus current 1-25 RPI opponents and 9-0 against opponents ranked 26-50 in the RPI rankings.