Alabama Sweeps Friday Doubleheader vs. Florida to Clinch Weekend Road Series
Alabama softball won both games in Friday’s doubleheader against Florida, claiming the weekend series over the Gators by scores of 3-1 and 6-1.
The series win is Alabama’s (44-4, 13-4 SEC) 11th over Florida (37-11, 9-8 SEC) in the regular season and its seventh in Gainesville. The Tide fell behind early in game one but rallied with a pair of RBI singles and a run off a fielding error to take the 3-1 victory. Leading by the same margin in the seventh inning of game two, Alabama added some insurance runs on a two-run home run and an RBI single to bring it to its final margin of 6-1. The wins were bolstered by a pair of stellar pitching performances from freshman Montana Fouts and junior Sarah Cornell, who each threw complete-game victories allowing a combined two runs on four hits and 14 strikeouts.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 3, FLORIDA 1
Alabama came out on the winning end of a tightly-contested pitcher’s duel in game one of Friday’s doubleheader, with three runs proving enough in the 3-1 win. Florida took the first lead of the game in the bottom of the first but the Tide answered back with a pair of runs to take the lead in the top of the third off RBI singles from sophomore Kaylee Tow and Bailey Hemphill. The third and final run of the day came off a Gator fielding error in the fifth inning. In the circle, Fouts (13-1) went the distance for the complete-game win, holding Florida to one run on two hits.
Following a one-out walk in the bottom of the first, a double from Florida’s Kendyl Lindaman put the home team on the board first. Sophomore KB Sides drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third, Alabama’s first baserunner of the day, and was moved up 60 feet up a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Maddie Morgan. Freshman Skylar Wallace drew another walk to put two on base as it turned back to the top of the order and, two batters later, Tow tied it up with an RBI single up the middle. Hemphill followed that with another RBI single before a groundout ended the inning with Alabama ahead 2-1.
With the score still 2-1 in the top of the fifth, Wallace bounced one off the wall in right and hustled all the way to third for a standup triple to lead off the inning. Three batters later, Hemphill drew a walk to put runners at the corners and a fielding error extended the inning and allowed a run to score. With two on base, a wild pitch moved both into scoring position but a strikeout ended the inning at 3-1.
The Gators made a pair of pitching changes over the last two innings but the Tide could not add to its two-run lead. Down to its final three outs in the bottom of the seventh, Fouts and the Alabama defense retired Florida in order to seal the 3-1 victory.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 6, FLORIDA 1
Alabama found its power stroke in game two of the doubleheader, bashing a pair of home runs as part of a 12-hit performance against Florida to win, 6-1. Five players had multi-hit performances, including a pair of RBI singles from Morgan. Cornell (17-1) was lights-out in the circle, holding the Gators to one run on two hits with a season-high nine strikeouts.
Junior Elissa Brown led off the game with a single up the middle on the second pitch and then stole second in the next at-bat. Tow drew a walk to put two on and, after Brown was caught at third trying to advance on a wild pitch, Hemphill battled through a 12-pitch at bat to earn another free pass and put two on with one out. A fly ball allowed Tow to tag up and move to third and senior Regan Dykes beat out a slow roller for the RBI infield single, putting the Tide on the board first.
Florida’s first hit of the game was a big one off the bat of Amanda Lorenz, a third-inning solo home run that tied the game at 1-1. Wallace broke the tie in the top of the fifth with a solo home run of her own, a no-doubt opposite field shot to lead off the inning. Brown followed that with a single to shallow left, stole second and the moved to third on a groundout. The Gators made a pitching change and a groundout got them out of the inning only trailing by one.
With a runner on first and nobody out in the top of the sixth, Sides dropped one into the gap in right for a triple but the runner was cut down at home trying to score for the first out of the inning. Morgan brought her home with an RBI single through the left side and Wallace followed that with a single before a strikeout ended the inning with the Tide ahead 3-1.
After Tow drew a four-pitch walk to start the seventh inning, Hemphill sent the eighth pitch of her at-bat over the left field fence, increasing the lead to 5-1. Later with two on and two out, Morgan dropped an RBI single into left to make it 6-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Florida’s power-hitting duo of Lorenz and Lindaman got on base via a walk and single but the lineup couldn’t scratch a run across as Alabama held on to win, 6-1.
The series wraps up Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. CT live on ESPN.
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