Gators Top Tide In Softball Opener

It was about opportunities. Florida took advantage of theirs and Alabama didn't. As a result, the Gators took a 4-1 win over Bama at Rhoads Stadium Friday night, tying the teams at the top of the Southeastern Conference standings with two games to play.

Alabama has had tough times against Florida in recent years, and the first game of the three-game series was another Crimson Tide disappointment in front of 3,240 fans. Both teams now have 21-5 SEC records. Bama must win one game to have a mathematical tie for the title, but the Tide must win two games to win the championship outright and have the number one seed for the SEC Tournament, which begins next week in Tuscaloosa.

The loss dropped Bama to 45-6 overall while Florida improved to 44-8.

The two teams will return to Rhoads Stadium for game two of the series. The game will air on ESPN2 with first pitch slated for 3 p.m.

Florida pitcher Hannah Rogers improved to 26-4 on the season after holding Alabama hitless until the sixth inning, when Jennifer Fenton hit a one-out single through the left side. Rogers allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven.

Jackie Traina dropped to 29-2 for Alabama, giving up four runs – three earned on six hits in her seven innings of work while striking out nine batters.

After Florida scored a first inning unearned run, Alabama tried to battle back. The Tide loaded the bases with two outs, but was turned away by a Rogers strikeout.

Florida managed to score three runs in the top of the seventh, but Alabama tried to come back in the bottom of the frame. Traina led off the inning with an opposite field solo home run, her ninth of the year, but the Tide could not manage any more offense.

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