Alabama softball took the lead first in Sunday’s series rubber game against Florida, but the Gators responded with three unanswered runs to claim a 3-2 victory in the low-scoring pitcher’s duel.

Alabama (25-11, 6-6 SEC) pulled ahead in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run from freshman Kaylee Tow, but Florida (34-6, 9-3 SEC) answered right back in the next half-inning tying it with a two-run double. The score remained the same until the Gators pulled ahead 3-2 on a solo home run in the top of the sixth, which proved final. The Tide out-hit the Gators, 4-2, while sophomore Bailey Hemphill drew a pair of walks to extend her reached-base streak to 18 games. Alexis Osorio (9-5) battled in the complete-game effort, throwing a season-high 179 pitches holding Florida to three runs on two hits with nine strikeouts.

Both teams were hitless until the bottom of the third, when sophomore Elissa Brown knocked a two-out chopper up the middle. Tow made the second hit of the day a big one, blasting a no-doubt home run into right field to put Alabama ahead 2-0. In the top of the fourth inning, a trio of walks loaded the bases for Florida with two out and pinch-hitter Danielle Romanello pulled a double to the right-field corner, scoring a pair to tie it at 2-2. An intentional walk to Amanda Lorenz loaded the bases again for the Gators before a 4-3 groundout ended the half-inning with the score knotted up.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Brown reached on a fielding error and Tow followed that with a walk to put two on base but a grounder to third started a 5-3 double play to end the inning. With two out in the top of the sixth, Romanello added her third RBI of the day with a solo home run to put Florida ahead 3-2. A pair of walks and fielding error kept the inning going with two out but a popup got the Tide out of the bases-loaded jam, now trailing 3-2.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, junior Caroline Hardy battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before poking a single through the right side, representing the potential tying run. With freshman KB Sides pinch-running at first, junior Merris Schroder followed that with a nine-pitch at-bat, ending in a single through the left side to put two on with one out. A pair of fly outs ended the inning as Florida was able to take a one-run lead to the seventh.

The Gators stranded two on base in the top of the seventh, unable to add to its 3-2 lead. With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Tow was hit by a pitch to bring the potential game-winning run to the plate but a hard-hit line drive to third ended it as Florida held on to win, 3-2.

Alabama begins the second half of its SEC schedule with a road series at Arkansas (29-8, 6-6 SEC), beginning Friday, April 13 at 6 p.m. CT. The Tide and Razorbacks have a quick turnaround, playing game two at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, April 14 live on ESPNU before closing the weekend on Sunday, April 15 at 1 p.m. CT.

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