FLORIDA 5, ALABAMA 2
Columbia, MO– Two of the top players in the SEC led Florida past Alabama in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday. The Gators topped the Crimson Tide 5-2 to advance to the SEC Semifinals on Friday.
Facing a two run deficit, Gators outfielder and All-SEC first teamer, Aleshia Ocasio smacked a two run homer to right in the fourth inning to tie the game.
In the sixth inning, it was the SEC Player of the Year, Amanda Lorenz, who crushed a three run homer to center to put Florida ahead late.
Florida starter Kelly Barnhill pitched five innings in the no-decision before Ocasio relieved her for the final two frames to earn the win. Barnhill allowed three hits and walked five as the Alabama hitters laid off many of her deep-count rise balls. Barnhill finished with five strikeouts, but fared much better after allowing two first inning runs.
Ocasio improves to 19-6 on the season by allowing only one hit in her appearance.
Lorenz finished the game 1-3, but reached base three times (once via a walk and once via an error). DP/RF Jordan Matthews was the only Gator to record multiple base hits, going 2-4 against the Tide.
Florida’s comeback was completed despite a terrible call by the umpiring crew in the third inning when Lorenz was called out at the plate for the third out, but SEC Network replays clearly showed Lorenz safe. It’s plays like this that emphasize the need for replay in collegiate softball.
The Gators are now 48-8 on the season and advance to the SEC semifinals where they will meet #4 Tennessee on Friday at 5:30 PM. The Volunteers defeated #5 seed LSU by a 1-0 final score on Thursday.
Stay with The Gator Chomp Blog as we continue coverage of Florida’s playoff run through the SEC Tournament and (hopefully) a deep run through the NCAA Tournament.
W: Ocasio (19-6)
L: Alexis Osorio (13-9)