Florida started to mount a rally in the ninth as Jeff Corsaletti led off the inning with a single and that was followed by a Matt Graziano walk. After a groundout Tucker drove in a run with a single through the left side. Smith followed Tucker with a single through the middle that cut the lead to 8-3. Alabama reliever Seth Johnson then got the final two batters to end the game.
Making the first start of his career sophomore hurler Adam Sanabria went 5.1 innings and gave up 11 hits and eight runs. Sanabria took the loss to drop to 0-1 on the season. Two Florida pitchers held and did not give up another run following the sixth inning.
Tankersley improved to 4-0 as he pitched a career-high 8.1 innings andgave up eight hits and three runs while striking out six and walking three.
Sanabria got the first two hitters of the game out before a Adam Pavkovich single. Beau Hearod then stepped to the plate and gave Alabama a two-run lead with a homer down the left field line. Hearod did strike again in the third as he hit a three-run bomb after Allen Rice and Pavkovich singled. Those ended being the winning runs as Alabama came away with the five run victory.
Alabama did add three more runs in the sixth as Al Hecklinski hit a solo shot for the third homer of the game for Alabama. Zac Welch later came home on a wild pitch and Grant Redding drove Charlie Lyons home with a single.
Florida had nine hits in the game while Alabama had 17. At the plate for the Crimson Tide, Hearod had five RBI while Pavkovich had a career-best four hits.
The two teams will play the middle game of the series Saturday, March 22 at 4 p.m. The game will be televised live on Sunshine Network with Larry Vettel and Nick Belmonte calling the action.
Sanabria was the seventh pitcher to start a game for Florida this season.
Brian Rose was hit by a pitch for the ninth time this season and the 39th time in his career in the sixth inning. The UF career record is 41 held by David Eckstein.
Florida was held to nine hits, their lowest output of the season at home.
Brett Dowdy extended his hit streak to six games with a single in the first inning.