It certainly wasn’t the prettiest series the Gators have played this year, but a Monday series win put #4 Florida back atop the SEC standings (by percentage points). The Gators defeated #15 Alabama two games to one to take an important SEC series. Florida topped Alabama 6-1 on Saturday in game one, but fell to the Tide in Sunday’s game two, 3-2. Monday’s nearly three hour finale went to Florida, also by a 3-2 score, but saw the starting pitchers combine for more than 300 pitches and sixteen walks. Monday’s win also represented the 700th win for head coach Tim Walton in the orange and blue.
FLORIDA 6, ALABAMA 1
Tuscaloosa, AL– The Gators defeated Alabama in the series opener by a 6-1 final behind the pitching of Kelly Barnhill and a two-run first inning.
Using a different lineup that featured Amdand Lorenz and Kayli Kvistad batting 1-2 in the lineup, Florida took the early lead with a Hannah Adams single to right that scored Lorenz. Aleshia Ocasio also got an RBI on a fielder’s choice that scored Kvistad.
The Crimson Tide battled back and scored an unearned run in the second do to a throwing error by Barnhill.
Florida scored in the fifth and the seventh on sacrifice flies by Ocasio. Sophia Reynoso finished the scoring with an RBI single to left that scored Jordan Matthews.
Florida hitters walked nine times in the contest.
Both starting pitchers, Barnhill and Alabama’s Alexis Osorio hurled complete games, but Florida made Osorio work, throwing well more than one-hundred pitches.
Barnhill earned her sixteenth win allowing only three base hits but walking five while striking out seven Tide hitters.
W: Barnhill (16-1)
L: Osorio (8-4)
ALABAMA 3, FLORIDA 2
Tuscaloosa, AL– Alabama evened the series with a 3-2 victory over Florida Sunday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide got out in front early with a single by freshman Kaylee Tow that scored Elissa Brown before an out had been recorded.
The Gators struck back in the fourth frame when Sophia Reynoso cranked her first homer of the year to tie the game.
The tie didn’t last long as Bailey Hemphill took an Aleshia Ocasio rise ball (that didn’t rise) over the fence in left in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Ocasio would go on to score the tying run in the next inning on Janell Wheaton’s double down the left field line.
Alabama would score the winning run on Sydney Booker’s homer to left center.
Ocasio picked up her fourth loss of the year, but only gave up three runs and striking out six.
Alexis Osorio picked up her ninth win of the year, relieving Courtney Gettins after 4.2 innings of work. Gettins gave up both runs and walked six Gators.
W: Osorio (9-4)
L: Ocasio (14-4)
FLORIDA 3, ALABAMA 2
Tuscaloosa, AL– It sure wasn’t easy, but then again this is the SEC.
The Gators earned the series win despite only notching two hits, both from pinch hitter Danielle Romanello.
Florida trailed the Tide 2-0 after three innings, but Romanello, pinch hitting for Alex Voss, roped a two run double down the right field line to score Nicole DeWitt and Hannah Adams in the top half of the fourth. Romanello stayed in the game as the designated player.
Romanello followed that at-bat with her first career homer, a two-out solo shot to right that put Florida up for good.
Kelly Barnhill and Alexis Osorio struggled with command for much of the game. Barnhill walked five while only striking out four. Osorio walked 11 while striking out nine Gators. Osorio threw 181 pitches while Barnhill threw 130.
W: Barnhill (16-1)
L: Osorio (9-5)
Florida moves to 34-6 overall and takes over first place with a 9-3 SEC mark. Florida will face #13 Florida State in Tallahassee on Wednesday before returning home to take on #12 South Carolina in SEC play. The Gamecocks took two of three against Arkansas last weekend and sit in third place in the SEC with an 8-4 record in conference play.
SEC STANDINGS (THROUGH MARCH 18):
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