Alabama Softball Falls to Florida, 5-2, in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals
Alabama softball jumped ahead to an early lead over Florida Thursday night in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round, but the Gators rallied back to tie it in the fourth and take the lead in the fifth to hand the Crimson Tide a 5-2 loss.
Alabama (33-17) got on the board first with a pair of runs in the first inning before Florida (47-8) came back to tie it in the fourth inning with a two-run home run. With the score still tied in the bottom of the sixth, another home run for the Gators gave them a 5-2 lead, which proved final. The Tide tallied four hits in the loss, driving in its two runs on an RBI groundout from freshman Kaylee Tow and a sacrifice fly from sophomore Gabby Callaway. Alabama starter Courtney Gettins threw 4.0 innings in the start but did not factor into the decision, with senior Alexis Osorio (13-9) taking the loss in relief.
Sophomore Elissa Brown started the game with a leadoff single back up the middle and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch in the next at-bat. Senior Demi Turner drew a walk to put two on base and a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position. Tow pulled a slow grounder to second base for out number one but it drove in Brown from third to give Alabama the 1-0 lead. After a walk to sophomore Bailey Hemphill put runners at the corners, Callaway lifted a fly ball to center field to score Turner from third on the sacrifice fly and make it 2-0.
With two on and one out in the Florida half of the first inning, a strikeout followed by a throw down to third base to catch the runner stealing ended the inning on a great heads-up double play. In the bottom of the second, the Gators led off the inning with back-to-back singles before a sac bunt moved the runners into scoring position. A walk would load the bases but a 6-2-3 double play would end the frame and keep Florida out of the run column.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the third, a single would bounce off the glove of a diving senior Sydney Booker at short and Florida tried to score the runner from second on the play. Booker quickly corralled the ball and fired home to junior Reagan Dykes who tagged out the runner to end the inning and preserve the Tide’s two-run lead.
After a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth, Aleshia Ocasio blasted a two-run home run to right field to tie the game at 2-2. Gettins and the Tide defense bounced back after the home run with three-straight outs to keep it a tie game heading to the fifth inning.
After a fielding error to start the bottom of the fifth, Osorio entered to pitch in relief for Alabama and got out of the inning without allowing a run. Alabama stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the sixth and, with two on and two out in the bottom half, Amanda Lorenz hit a three-run home run to give Florida a 5-2 lead and tha would ultimately prove final.
The 2018 NCAA Division I Softball Championship bracket and its field of 64 teams will be announced Sunday, May 13 at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN2, with NCAA Regional play to begin the following weekend.
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