Softball

SB: Gators rally to improbable win to open SEC Tournament

Photo by Anthony Peña / ChompTalk.com

Final: Florida 6, South Carolina 5

Welcome to post-season softball!

The Gators softball team overcame a four run deficit and a five hour weather delay to defeat South Carolina in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

The Gamecocks were in cruise control after taking a 4-0 lead shortly after play resumed.

South Carolina took the lead in the second inning as Cayla Drotar hit a solo homer off starter Elizabeth Hightower.

Carolina connected for a pair of homers in the third inning, a two run shot by Mackenzie Boesel and a solo blast to right by Kennedy Clark, to jump out to a 4-0 advantage.

It appeared the Gators had squandered their opportunity after Jordan Matthews led off the fifth inning with a triple. Alex Voss singled with one out to put runners on the corners, but Amanda Lorenz popped out to short before a Kendyl Lindaman walk loaded the bases. The threat ended with a Jaimie Hoover strikeout.

Florida finally broke through in the sixth with a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 4-2. Voss reached on a throwing error that allowed Hannah Adams and Sophia Reynoso to score.

The Gamecocks added an insurance run in the top of the seventh that set the scene.

Trailing 5-2, Lindaman led off the inning with a walk. Two batters later, Lindaman scored on an RBI single by Jordan Roberts. Hannah Adams then doubled to right center to put the tying run in scoring position.

Reynoso endured a eleven-pitch at-bat that saw her foul off five pitches after being down 1-2 in the count. She took pitch 11 the other way and SC 1B Alyssa Kumiyama made an error that allowed PR Amanda Beane to score.

Jordan Matthews took a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left that scored both Adams and Reynoso for the walk-off win and move the Gators into the second round of the SEC Tournament.

The Gators largest comeback this season had been a one-run deficit and they had only rallied for wins on four occasions entering the post-season.

Fast stats:

  • Florida’s 5-7 hitters: 6-12, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3B.
  • Elizabeth Hightower: 3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 4 K, 0 BB
  • Katie Chronister (W, 1-0): 0.2 IP, 2 H

What’s next:

Florida is still playing! The Gators will face no. 3 seed LSU at 4:00 PM on Thursday.

Florida, who entered the day with the no. 10 RPI in the country, needed the win and likely another for a chance at obtaining a national seed (top 8) and the opportunity to host a Super Regional.

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