SOFTBALL: Lauren Haeger had a home run and three RBIs against Michigan, but what she didn’t do Monday night could play a more important role in Florida’s championship hopes.
Haeger, the national player of the year, is also her team’s ace pitcher. After winning three games at the Women’s College World Series, she got a break from the mound, and her teammates handled Michigan.
Freshman Aleshia Ocasio and sophomore Delanie Gourley combined to beat the Wolverines 3-2 in Oklahoma City and put the Gators within one win of a repeat title.
Haeger threw 160 pitches against Auburn on Sunday, so coach Tim Walton didn’t want to use her. He didn’t need to. Ocasio went six innings and gave up two runs to earn the win, and Gourley got the save for the Gators (59-6).
“First of all, I’m just so proud of them,” Haeger said. “They work so hard, just like I do.”
The teams will meet again tonight in Game 2 of the best-of-3 championship series, and the Wolverines likely will have to deal with a rested Haeger.
Michigan (59-7) saw its 28-game win streak snapped. The Wolverines hadn’t lost since April 3.
“We didn’t really come out to play to win until about the fifth inning,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “Our energy – we seemed a little tentative.”
Haeger opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, her third home run of the World Series. In her next at-bat, she doubled in a run to give Florida a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
7 of 8 seeds advance but not No. 1 UCLA
Baseball: No. 1 UCLA is out of the NCAA baseball tournament, while all seven of the other national seeds will head to super regionals.
Maryland eliminated the Bruins with a 2-1 win in Los Angeles, making this the second straight year the top national seed failed to win its regional.
No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Louisville, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Miami, No. 6 Illinois, No. 7 TCU and No. 8 Missouri State each made it to the round of 16.
The Southeastern Conference had five of its seven tournament teams move to super regionals and the Atlantic Coast Conference had four of its seven advance. The Pac-12, which had six teams make the tournament, won’t be represented in super regionals for the first time in the 17 years of the current tournament format.
Winners of the best-of-three super regionals go to the College World Series in Omaha, starting June 13.
SMU’s DeChambeau edges Huskies’ Pan
NCAA golf: SMU’s Bryson DeChambeau won the NCAA individual golf title and Illinois topped the eight team match-play qualifiers.
DeChambeau closed with a 1-under 71 for a one-stroke victory over Washington’s hard-charging Cheng-Tsung Pan in Bradenton, Florida. DeChambeau finished at 8-under 280 to hold off Pan, who was 7-under over the final 16 holes.
“I always felt like I could contend for a national championship, but I never believed in myself that I could,” DeChambeau said. “From this year to last year, it was about trusting myself and my game. That allowed me to get here.”
Pan had a 67 after a bogey-bogey start following his disappointment after the Huskies were eliminated from the team race in a playoff.
Illinois finished at 3-under 1,155. DeChambeau watched on TV for nearly an hour and a half as Pan birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 17 to get to 7 under. Pan’s approach shot on 18 landed in a front-side bunker. He nearly holed the sand shot, missing it by mere inches.
“That was a tough bunker shot,” Pan said. “You’d have to be kind of lucky to get it, get a bounce, but I gave it a good try. It’s really not an easy shot.”
N.J. Devils to hire Hynes as coach
MISCELLANY: New Jersey general manager Ray Shero has reached into his ties with Pittsburgh to pick the Devils’ next head coach, John Hynes, a source said.
Hynes has coached the Pens’ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AHL team for five years.
• Wisconsin gets Senior golf: The PGA announced that its Champions Tour will make a stop starting in June 2016 at the University Ridge course in Madison. The last regular tourney was the PGA Tour stop in Milwaukee that ended in 2009 following a 42-year run.
• Scott back to old caddie: Adam Scott has split with his new caddie and for now is going back to his old one – Steve Williams.
Scott said he had to talk Williams out of retirement for the next three months.
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