Photo by Brian Fox |

After they knocked off Mississippi State in the quarterfinals and Missouri in the semifinals, the Gators were shut out by Alabama 4-0 in the SEC Tournament Championship Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Florida right-hander Elizabeth Hightower made her third start of the tournament and gave up three runs — two of which were unearned — in the top of the first inning.

Crimson Tide left fielder Alexis Mack poked a leadoff single up the middle and scored the first run on cleanup hitter Jenna Johnson’s bunt single down the third-base line. On the next at-bat, two more runs scored on Florida third baseman Charla Echols’ throwing error.

Alabama right-hander Montana Fouts — the 2021 SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year — started in the circle and dealt her 19th complete game this season. Fouts struck out 11 Gators en route to setting a new SEC Softball Tournament strikeout record (39).

Following a trio of hits in the first two frames, the Gators managed only two baserunners the rest of the game via a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

Florida southpaw Katie Chronister relieved Hightower with two outs in the top of the fifth and allowed the final run of the game on shortstop Taylor Clark’s two-out single in the sixth.

Final (R/H/E)

No. 3 Alabama: 4 / 7 / 0

No. 4 Florida: 0 / 3 / 1

Pitching Decision

Win: Fouts (22-3)

Loss: Hightower (16-5)

Individual Stats

Hightower: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Chronister: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

  1. Adams: 0-3, 1 K
  2. Wilkie: 0-3, 2 K
  3. Echols: 1-2, 1 BB
  4. Lindaman: 1-3, 2 K
  5. Hoover: 0-3, 3 K
  6. Matthews: 0-2, 2 K
  7. Goddard: 0-2, 1 HBP
  8. Longley: 1-3
  9. Lindsey: 0-2, 1 K

Postseason Continues

The Gators will return to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium where they’ll host an NCAA regional site next weekend (May 21-23). The other three teams competing in Florida’s regional will be determined during the selection show Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

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