March 22, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Alabama could not secure the weekend series over Florida on Saturday, as the Gators rebounded from Friday's loss with a big 7-1 win in game two, handing the Crimson Tide its first SEC loss of the season.
Alabama (26-5, 7-1 SEC) kept it a manageable game for the first four innings before Florida (29-3, 5-3 SEC) used a five-run fifth to put the game out of reach. The Tide scored one run off five hits with Jadyn Spencer scoring Alabama's lone run off a fourth-inning solo homer, already her second long ball of the weekend. Haylie McCleney failed to earn a hit, ending her career-long hitting streak at 16 games. Leslie Jury (11-3) took the loss in the circle while Hannah Rogers (13-2) earned the win for the Gators.
Florida took advantage of three illegal pitches to move ahead in the bottom of the second, as Lauren Haegar walked to lead off the inning and then advanced to second, third and eventually home off three illegal pitches to put the Gators on top, 1-0. Taylor Schwarz added another with a solo home run to center field as the Gators stretched the lead to 2-0.
Spencer erased the shutout and cut the deficit in half with a towering solo home run in the top of the fourth to make it 2-1. Florida tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth, as Kirsti Merritt sat on an offspeed pitch and sent it back up the middle for an RBI single. The Gators continued to rally, eventually loading the bases with one out as Bailey Castro took a belt-high pitch back over the scoreboard for a grand slam as Florida pulled ahead 7-1.
The Gators put a pair on base in the bottom of the sixth but could not secure the run-rule victory as they were held scoreless. Rogers stayed in the game and retired the Tide hitters in order in the seventh to close out the six-run victory for Florida.
The series rubber match is set for a 12:06 CT time start on Sunday, March 23. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sun Sports and can also be heard locally on 95.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.