Saturday May 5, 2012Series Tied Between UF and Bama Softball After 9-1 Tide Win Saturday
The Crimson Tide got the best of the Gator softball squad Saturday, evening the series in Tuscaloosa with a 9-1, six-inning victory in front of a crowd of 3,540 at Rhoads Stadium. No. 6 Alabama (46-6, 22-5 SEC) used three runs in the second, five in the third and a final score in the bottom of the sixth to down No. 3 Florida, as the Gators moved to 44-9 overall, 21-6 in league play.
A win Sunday in the series finale for the Orange and Blue would secure a three-way tie for the SEC regular-season crown between Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. Saturday’s win gave the Crimson Tide a one-game lead in the SEC standings at 22-5 and at least a share of the SEC title. Tennessee completed its league slate at 22-6 and will await the results of tomorrow’s showdown, as the regular-season standings will come down to the last day of conference play.
A leadoff shot for Kaila Hunt in the second started the rally for Alabama, while a Courtney Conley two-run base hit made it 3-0 Bama after two. The Gators traded hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) for freshman Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) to kick off the third, but a rowdy Crimson Tide crowd contributed to the UA momentum. Alabama added five runs in the stanza, started by an Amanda Locke two-run blast and followed by a Jazlyn Lunceford two-run single up the middle for the 7-0 lead. A Conley sac fly plated the final run of the frame for Alabama, with the Tide threatening a five-inning run-rule.
After a scoreless fourth for both clubs, Florida added its lone run of the contest on a senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) sac fly in the top of the fifth to narrow the margin 8-1 and force a sixth inning. Sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) led off with a single up the middle, while junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) doubled down the left-field line to move both Gators into scoring position. After a Jackie Traina strikeout, Moultrie knocked her sacrifice fly to deep center, plating Fagan, before a groundout retired the side.
The Gators held the Crimson Tide scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, but Traina sat down three UF batters in order in the top of the sixth to negate any scoring opportunities. Jennifer Fenton, who reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed her to also take second in the bottom of the frame, tagged and advanced to third on a Locke fly out and scampered home on a Gator defensive miscue for the final Bama run, giving the Tide its 9-1 victory in six innings.
Florida was last run-ruled April 1, 2011, at Kentucky – a game the Wildcats won 10-2 in six innings in the 2011 series opener in Lexington.
Rogers (26-5) was charged the loss in Saturday’s contest after allowing Bama’s three second-inning runs on three hits. Rogers both walked and fanned two hitters in her 2.0 innings of work. Traina (30-2) picked up her 30th win of the campaign for Alabama after succumbing to just four Gator hits and UF’s lone run, while fanning six and walking just two through her winning effort. Through her 3.2 innings of relief for the Orange and Blue, Bache allowed four Bama hits, six runs, four earned, and walked four to finish out the game for UF.
In addition to K. Fagan and Gammel hits, freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Moultrie both connected for UF’s two additional hits on the afternoon, Moultrie with a hard-hit two-out grounder through the right side in the third and S. Fagan with a leadoff hopper to shortstop in the fourth.
Alabama finished the afternoon with seven hits, led by leadoff hitter Kayla Braud’s 2-for-4 outing.
Sunday’s series finale kicks off at 3 p.m. (ET) from Rhoads Stadium and will air live on ESPNU, with the call by Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza. Gator fans can also tune in live locally on the radio or online to 105 The Game, WYGC 104.9-FM, with Adam Schick on the call or follow live stats through Gametracker, accessible on the GatorZone.com softball schedule page.
For all game notes, stats and recaps, be sure to visit www.GatorZone.com following each game through the remainder of the UF/Bama series and through the postseason. For in-game updates on all the action, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall and check UF’s official softball Facebook page HERE for updates on competition.