Alabama, Florida Split In Softball

The Alabama softball team split its Southeastern Conference doubleheader against Florida Saturday afternoon at the Alabama Softball Complex. The Tide ran away with a 10-4 victory in game one but fell in the night cap, 7-5.

After the day Alabama moves to 24-8 on the season and 7-3 in conference play while Florida sports a 22-4 overall mark and a 5-2 record in league play.

"When you have the winning run on third in the bottom of the seventh you have to do it," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "We just didn't shut the door in game two. I hope we learn from it and come back bigger, better and stronger tomorrow. We were able to make some things happen in game one and come back but unfortunately that didn't carry over into the latter part of game two."

Game 1

After falling behind 4-1 at the conclusion of the third inning the Alabama bats came alive with an eight-run fifth to run away from Florida in game one, 10-4.

All-America Charlotte Morgan on her senior day led the charge in the series opener by batting 2-for-3 with four RBI. Freshman Kayla Braud scored three times from the top of the lineup and sophomore Jazlyn Lunceford hit a two-run homer.

The Tide opened the game with a single run in the first when senior Alex Blewitt hit a sacrifice fly that scored Braud from third. The newcomer started the game with a single and reached second on a throwing error. She was able to move over to third on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of sophomore Cassie Reilly-Boccia.

Florida scored two unearned runs in the second and then put two more on the board in the third to take an early 4-1 lead after three innings.

The Tide erupted for eight runs in the fifth, taking advantage of five walks and plating all the runs on just three timely hits in the frame.

Morgan started the scoring barrage with a two-run double to right-center that scored pinch-runner Keima Davis and Braud. Sophomore Amanda Locke then came through with a single to center that plated pinch-runner Lisa Elizondo. Lunceford followed suit with a sacrifice fly to center that scored junior Whitney Larsen. Reilly-Boccia then walked with the bases loaded to add another before Morgan came through again in the inning with two more RBI with a base hit through the right side.

Alabama tallied its final run in the sixth when Lunceford cleared the fence in right field for her fifth homer of the season.

Junior Kelsi Dunne improved to 12-4 on the season after allowing four runs – two earned on just three hits while striking out 11 in 6 1/3 innings. Freshman Lauren Sewell pitched two-thirds of perfect relief.

Game 2

Alabama continued to put runs on the board in game two by taking an early 4-0 lead but this time it was Florida who mounted the comeback to earn the 7-5 win. The Gators scored seven runs in the final three innings to salvage the twin-bill split.

Braud again got the Tide on the board first, scoring on a wild pitch after starting the inning with a single up the middle. Larsen then drove home Reilly-Boccia on an error by the shortstop.

Alabama tacked on two more in the second when Braud tripled to right-center to bring home sophomore Jennifer Fenton and Locke to extend the Tide lead to 4-0.

Florida answered in the sixth when Brittany Schutte hit a three-run homer to right-center to pull the Gators to within one.

The Gators took the lead in the seventh when Michelle Moultrie drilled a double off the centerfield wall to score two and hand Florida a 5-4 lead.

Alabama showed resolve by tying the score in the bottom half of the frame. Morgan came through again for the Tide as she hit a sharp grounder through the right side to score Braud from second.

In extra innings Florida tacked on two more to seal the doubleheader sweep. Aja Paculba hit a two-run shot over the left-centerfield wall to put the final score at 7-5.

Stephanie Brombacher came back into the game after being tattooed for eight runs in the first game to earn the win. The junior struck out four and allowed one run on three hits in four innings of relief.

Sewell was tagged with her first collegiate loss (7-1) after allowing four runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Morgan allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings.

The two teams will now meet in the rubber game of the series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 and will be televised on ESPNU.

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