Alabama Softball Can't Beat Gators
"We let them continue their innings and something bad is going to happen when you continually give people free bases," said Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy. "We wanted to stay away from big innings and just get the 21 outs. Obviously that didn't happen today."
Down 9-5, the Tide bats came back to life in the bottom of the sixth when Lunceford doubled to right-center and came around to score when Amanda Locke doubled to right. Lauren Sewell pinch hit for Jennifer Fenton and promptly drew a walk.. Kayla Braud brought everyone home with a three run home run just over the wall in right-center. Braud's three-run shot tied the game back at 9-9.
Florida broke the tie with back-to-back home runs by Brooks and Samantha Holle to lead off the top of the seventh. The two solo shots put the Gators back in front for good, 11-9.
Florida got on the board first in the top of the first, scoring a single run. Francesca Enea hit a solo home run over the centerfield wall with a 0-2 count and two outs to give the Gators the early lead.
Alabama struck back in the bottom half of the frame, besting Florida with a four-run first. Braud hit a line drive double off of the wall in right-centerfield. Charlotte Morgan drew a walk on four straight pitches. Both runners advanced on an illegal pitch by Stephanie Brombacher. Braud scored on a fielding error by Brombacher when Alex Blewitt hit a slow dribbler back to the circle. Lunceford pushed in three more for the Tide with a three-run shot over the right field wall, scoring Morgan and Blewitt. The big first inning put Alabama on top 4-1.
Florida scored three runs without a hit in the top of the second. After Brittany Schutte, Tiffany DeFelice and Corrie Brooks all walked, Kelsi Dunne walked in a run by giving a free pass to Aja Paculba. DeFelice and Brooks both scored on a fielding error by Lunceford. With the three-run second the Gators tied the game at 4-4.
Florida continued their offensive attack in the third on one swing of the bat. Schutte drew a one out walk and Michelle Moultrie singled through the right side. DeFelice singled to left to load the bases. Corrie Brooks hit a grand slam over the left field foul pole. The four-bagger put UF back on top, 8-4.
The Crimson Tide answered by plating a single run in the bottom of the third. Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a leadoff double off the wall in right center. Reilly-Boccia advanced to third on an illegal pitch and then scored on Blewitt's single to center pulling Alabama back within three with Florida still leading 8-5.
The Gators answered Alabama with a single run in the top of the fourth. Enea drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second later on a fielding error by Larsen. Enea came around to score on DeFelice's single through the left side, pushing Florida's lead back four at 9-5.
After pitching two innings of solid relief Amanda Locke (3-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up the back-to-back home runs. Locke struck out one and allowed the two runs on four hits.
Ensley Gammel (4-0) earned the win on 1 2/3 innings of relief. Gammel allowed one run on two hits and struck out one.
Braud led Alabama at the plate with three hits and three RBI while scoring two runs. Lunceford chipped in two hits, two runs and three RBI.
Alabama will not play a midweek game this week as it will prepare for a three-game series against rival Auburn. The two teams will square off under the lights on Friday, April 2 with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
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