Saturday May 12, 2012Softball's Coyle, S. Fagan & Haeger on SEC All-Tourney Team; Gators Fall Short in Tourney Championship Game
Photo courtesy of Jeri Gulsby, SEC
Photo courtesy of Jeri Gulsby, SEC
The Alabama Crimson Tide used two runs each in the first and fourth innings and a six-run third to take the SEC Tournament Championship at home in Tuscaloosa, downing the Gators 10-1 in five innings Saturday. The Florida trio of sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) and freshmen Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) was named to the 2012 SEC All-Tournament Team.
A record crowd of 10,044 watched this weekend’s SEC Tournament at Rhoads Stadium on the Alabama campus, including 2,672 fans Saturday, as the Gators took part in all three sessions to advance to their fifth ever tournament championship game, the first since 2009, after defeating both LSU and Tennessee Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Florida (46-11) now awaits seeding for the 2012 NCAA Tournament, as ESPNU will air the tournament Selection Show live at 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The Gators will be looking to host a NCAA Regional for the 10th consecutive season and 13th overall after picking up the No. 4 national seed in 2011.
Alabama hurler Amanda Locke (4-1) earned just her fourth win of the season, limiting the Gators to just three hits and one run, while walking three and fanning four through the five-inning victory. Florida’s Haeger worked the first 3.0 for the Orange and Blue, allowing Bama’s first eight runs on six hits with four walks and a strikeout, before sophomore Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on in relief in the bottom of the fourth. The Crimson Tide mustered up two runs and two more hits off Rogers, who had one strikeout and two walks in the frame. Haeger moved to 14-5 on the year with the decision.
After Alabama jumped on the board first with a two-run triple in the initial stanza from UA shortstop Kaila Hunt, the Gators cut the lead in half in the top of the second thanks to a Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) single through the left side that plated Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.), running for Haeger, for a 2-1 ballgame.
In front of a rowdy hometown crowd, Alabama then strung together a six-run third stanza, thanks in part to a Jaz Lunceford three-run shot, followed by a Courtney Conley walk and then a Kendall Dawson two-run blast for five runs after Hunt roped a RBI single earlier in the frame.
Hunt and Cassie Reilly-Boccia both connected for RBI base hits in the fourth for Bama’s final two scores of the afternoon. Hunt finished the day 3-for-3, with two runs and four RBI for the Crimson Tide, which out-hit Florida 8-3. Coyle and S. Fagan additionally picked up base hits for the Gators, as S. Fagan extended her team-best hit streak to 10 games.
Florida has won five of its last nine games against Alabama after taking two of three in Gainesville last season, then two on elimination Sunday at the 2011 Women’s College World Series to advance to its second-ever championship series. Alabama then took two of three in the regular-season finale May 4-6 in addition to Sunday’s tourney championship victory, the first run-rule victory in a SEC tourney championship game.
Stay posted to www.GatorZone.com for all information about the upcoming NCAA Tournament, including seeding, Regionals site/location, broadcast and ticket information.
In addition to potential television and live streaming broadcasts for the remainder of the postseason, Florida fans can 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 season. 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.
2012 Southeastern Conference All-Tournament Team
Tennessee – Madison Shipman
Tennessee – Raven Chavanne
Georgia – Paige Wilson
Georgia – Erin Arevalo
Florida – Sami Fagan
Florida – Lauren Haeger
Florida – Cheyenne Coyle
Alabama – Kayla Braud
Alabama – Jennifer Fenton
Alabama – Kaila Hunt
Alabama – Jackie Traina (Tournament MVP)