Arizona State cooled off Florida's hot bats during the game, but the Gators came back with a few fierce cuts afterward.
ASU pounded four home runs and took quick control of the Women's College World Series championship series with a 14-4 win Monday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series.
But Florida dominated the postgame press conference, not mincing words in their description of Chris Drumm, the home plate umpire for Monday's Game 1.
Florida left fielder Kelsey Bruder reiterated strongly that she wasn't making excuses for her team by complaining about the umpiring, but she was equally strong in her criticism of Drumm's work.
And maybe it's a sign that these Gators will bounce back from Monday's miserable showing with the fire that carried them through two dominant Sunday wins over Alabama to earn their spot in the championship series.
“I'm looking forward to playing ASU without her behind the plate,” Bruder said. “I hope that whoever appoints her reevaluates her abilities.
“I'm not making any excuses. ASU absolutely kicked our butts, and they deserved to win today. But it was really hard adjusting to the inconsistent calls.”
When coach Tim Walton was asked about his team's strategy at the plate being impacted by an inconsistent strike zone, he deferred back to Bruder.
“I'll try to answer it in only a few words, because I don't have that many positive or nice comments to make about her abilities behind the plate,” Bruder said. “But I think it was incredibly inconsistent.
“I think she eliminated every opportunity we had to have a good at-bat. The approach is completely different when it's 0-2 versus 2-0. It was really hard. It was just absolutely miserable. Miserable. The worst ever.”
The confrontations between Florida and Drumm started with the second batter of the night, Tiffany DeFelice. She was hit on the arm by a pitch — as replays clearly showed — but Drumm ruled that the pitch hit her bat instead. DeFelice and Walton both argued the call to no avail.
“It didn't hit the bat at all,” DeFelice said. “I don't know if bone sounds like bat, but it hit me square in the arm. It swelled up like a snowball, and I had to have the trainer wrap it up.
“It was a rough night with that umpire. I know it was a rough night the first night we had her, too.”
Walton said he was warned by Drumm afterward.
Warned for what?
“I have no idea,” he said.
The NCAA does not make umpires available to the media after games.
But in the end, Bruder's initial comment was the truest of all — Arizona State was the better team Monday night.
The Sun Devils can thank the middle of their lineup for the 1-0 series lead. Kaylyn Castillo went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, Annie Lockwood had a home run and three RBIs and Krista Donnenwirth had two homers and four RBIs.
ASU scored one run in the first inning, then added six in the second, including a two-run single by Castillo and a three-run homer by Donnenwirth.
Sun Devil freshman Dallas Escobedo was near unhittable through the first five innings while her offense built a 14-0 lead. She gave up five hits and five walks, striking out seven to improve to 36-3 on the season.
Through four games, the Sun Devils have the best batting average of any team at the WCWS at .346, and their defense has yet to commit a single error. Add a 2.50 earned-run average, and ASU looks like the type of complete team ready to be crowned a national champion.
“We know what we have to do,” Devils coach Clint Myers said. “We've said it in every news conference — we're not concerned about the other teams. We know that they're a very good team. And so are we.
“So if we take care of the things we're supposed to do — timely hitting, good defense, great pitching — then I like our chances.”