Alabama collected a season-high 18 hits that led to 12 total runs for a 12-9, extra-innings victory over fourth-ranked Florida in the series-opening game. The Tide scored 10 runs over the final three frames to lock up the win.
“Our guys continued to compete throughout the night and were able to come away with the win,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “It was a back and forth game, but I thought our guys showed good resolve in the end to stick with it and have the big 10th inning.”
Alabama stranded a season-high 15 runners, but was still able to manage 12 runs on the afternoon. The Tide’s scoring was highlighted by a seven-run seventh and a three-run 10th that accounted for 10 of the team’s total hits and runs. In the seventh, UA strung together five consecutive one-out base knocks to collect four runs, and then rounded out the scoring with a bases-loaded walk and single to add three more. The Tide sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning and took its first lead of the game, 9-4.
Florida would answer with three in the bottom of the seventh and then two more to tie the game up in the eighth at 9-9, sending the two teams to extra innings. In the top of the 10th, Alabama put a three-run rally together on the strength of four hits. The inning started with Kyle Overstreet recording his team-leading third hit of the game, a single to center field. Overstreet was followed by Chance Vincent, who contributed a double to put two in scoring position with none down. The Gators would intentionally walk Will Haynie to load the bases, and that move would work in the Tide’s favor.
With runners on all the bases, J.C. Wilhite slapped a dying liner to center that fell in front of the fielder to plate the go-ahead run. Alabama would add two more before the inning ended, thanks to a fielder’s choice at second off the bat of Chandler Avant and then a single to left from Georgie Salem.
Ray Castillo remained in for the bottom half of the 10th and ended game one with a 1-2-3 inning to collect his third win of the year. Castillo contributed 3 2/3 innings of work, the most by a Crimson Tide reliever this season.
After forcing the Gators to use eight pitchers in the day’s first game, Alabama would fall, 8-1, in a complete-game effort by Florida starter Logan Shore.
The Gators started out the game hot, putting up a five spot in the home half of the first that would prove to be all Florida needed for the win. Alabama would counter with one run in the top of the second thanks to back-to-back doubles from Overstreet and Will Haynie, but that would be all the scoring from the Tide offense in game two. UF would add one run apiece in the third, fourth and fifth innings to close out the night’s scoring at 8-1.
Overstreet led the Tide offense in the second game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The junior second baseman would finish the twinbill at 5-for-9 with two RBI and three runs scored.
“It was disappointing to come out and not be able to get the series win in game two,” Gaspard added. “We got behind 5-0 early, and that makes it tough on a team. We’ll move forward now and focus on taking advantage of this opportunity we have to get a series win on the road.”
Saturday’s finale will decide the series between the Crimson Tide and Gators. Alabama will toss sophomore right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett while Florida will call on sophomore righty Dane Dunning to close out the series.