Alabama softball evened its weekend series against Florida with a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium.

Alabama (25-10, 6-5 SEC) scored the first run of the game on an RBI single from freshman Kaylee Tow but Florida (33-6, 8-3 SEC) evened it up in the top of the fourth with a solo home run. The Crimson Tide answered right back in the bottom half with a solo home run from sophomore Bailey Hemphill to retake the lead. An RBI double in the top of the fifth tied it up at 2-2 but a second long ball courtesy of senior Sydney Booker made it a 3-2 game, which ultimately proved final.

“It was great to see us respond immediately each time Florida scored a run,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “We started off with Elissa [Brown] getting on base and scoring in the first. Bailey [Hemphill] came back with a bomb and [Sydney] Booker’s won it. The bounce-back was huge today.”

Sophomore Elissa Brown set the tone at the top of the order, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a pair of stolen bases. Junior Courtney Gettins threw 4.2 innings in the start with senior Alexis Osorio (9-4) earning the win in relief, allowing just two hits over 2.1 innings pitched with four strikeouts.

“The defense really came through,” Murphy said. “I thought Courtney [Gettins] made good pitches and gave us a chance to win. She walked a few but made better pitches after the mistakes and got out of trouble. Alexis [Osorio] did a great job behind her to shut the door.”

For the second-straight game, Florida loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first inning. Hemphill fielded a hard grounder in the next at-bat, setting up for a 3-2-4 double play to keep a run off the board and tally two quick outs. A walk would load the bases yet again but a swinging strikeout would get the Tide out of the jam and keep it scoreless. In the bottom half of the inning, Brown poked a leadoff single through the left side, stole second and then came home on an RBI single up the middle from Tow to give Alabama the 1-0 lead.

The Gators loaded the bases again in the top of the third with nobody out. Junior Merris Schroder then fielded a fly ball in shallow left, firing home to junior Reagan Dykes in time to catch the runner trying to tag up and score from third to make it a double play while the other runners moved to second and third. A strikeout looking would end the inning as Florida could not break into the run column.

In the top of the fourth, Sophia Reynoso hit a one-out solo home run to tie the game at 1-1. Hemphill answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with a towering solo shot to give Alabama back the lead, 2-1. With two out in the top of the fifth, a fly ball was lost in the sun, allowing Aleshia Ocasio to reach with a tough-luck triple. Janell Wheaton drove her in with an RBI double down the left-field line to tie it back up at 2-2. That ended Gettins’ outing as Osorio entered in relief with two out and a runner at second base, inducing a popup to get out of the frame with the score tied at 2-2.

In the bottom of the fifth, Booker took the count full to lead off the inning and sent the 3-2 pitch over the fence in left-center to make it a 3-2 game. The Tide could not add to its lead in the sixth, taking a one-run advantage to the top of the seventh. A groundout and two strikeouts retired Florida in order as Osorio shut the door to secure the 3-2 win for Alabama.

The series rubber game is set for a 6 p.m. CT start on Monday, April 9 live on the SEC Network.

For the latest information on the team, follow @AlabamaSB on Twitter, BamaSB on Instagram and Alabama Softball on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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