Alabama Softball Falls in Series Opener to Florida, 6-1
Alabama softball fell in its series opener to Florida, 6-1, Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (24-10, 5-5 SEC) fell behind in the first inning after Florida (33-5, 8-2 SEC) scored a pair of runs. The Crimson Tide cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second after a fielding error allowed an unearned run to cross the plate. The Gators would go on to score four more runs down the stretch to bring the score to its final mark of 6-1. Making her return following a two-week absence with a foot injury, senior Peyton Grantham went 2-for-3 batting sixth. Senior Alexis Osorio (8-4) took the loss in the circle while Kelly Barnhill (16-1) threw the complete-game victory for Florida.
Florida threatened immediately in the top of the first, loading the bases on a hit and two walks to lead off the game. The next batter went down swinging before Hannah Adams dropped a one-out single into right field, scoring one run as everyone moved station-to-station. On a soft grounder in the next at-bat, the runner was caught between first and second for out number two but the Tide could not complete the double play as a run came home on the fielder’s choice RBI to make it 2-0. A popup ended the half-inning with the Gators leading by two.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the second for Alabama, Barnhill fielded a grounder but overthrew first base, allowing junior Reagan Dykes to score from second and cut the deficit in half at 2-1. With the score the same in the top of the fifth, Florida loaded the bases with a hit and two walks and nobody out and Jordan Matthews tacked on a run with an RBI single to make it 3-1. A fly ball to right field allowed the runner at third to tag up on a sacrifice fly and make it 4-1 with two out before a strikeout ended the inning.
With two out in the bottom of the fifth, back-to-back walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases but an inning-ending fly out kept it a three-run lead for the Gators. With two on and one out in the top of the sixth, a hard throw from Dykes behind the plate to Grantham covering third caught the runner stealing and a groundout to Osorio in the circle capped the inning.
With the score the same in the top of the seventh, Florida loaded the bases with two hits and a walk and Aleshia Ocasio pulled a ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 5-1. After another fly ball went for out number two, Sophia Reynoso ripped a single to left to score the runner from second and make it 6-1. Alabama looked to get something going in the bottom of the seventh, as freshman Kaylee Tow drew a one-out walk and sophomore Bailey Hemphill followed with a hard-hit double to center field to put two in scoring position. A strikeout and fly ball would end the rally however as Florida held on to win, 6-1.
The three-game series continues Sunday, April 8 with a 2 p.m. CT first pitch on ESPN2.
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