March 29, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 4 ranked Alabama softball team returned to form behind a gutsy pitching performance by Kelsi Dunne as it downed No. 1 Florida 6-4 Sunday afternoon at Pressly Stadium. Dunne tossed a career-high 211 pitches and struck out a season-high 13 batters to help Alabama improve to 27-6 overall and 7-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The win is the second on the year over a number one ranked team for Alabama.
"We showed a lot of heart and determination today," head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It is always tough to come back from a day like yesterday but they showed all coaches and staff what a resilient group they are."
After tying the game in the fourth the Crimson Tide then got to Florida (34-3, 13-1 SEC) for the first time in the series with three runs in the fifth. Alabama loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning and finally broke through against Stacey Nelson.
Senior Ashley Holcombe gave the Tide the lead when she reached on an error that brought home Charlotte Morgan. Freshman Jazlyn Lunceford then supplied the big hit when she drilled a single up the middle that plated Lauren Parker and Cassandra Reilly-Boccia.
Alabama tacked on insurance runs in the sixth and seventh on Florida reliever Stephanie Brombacher. Montalvo started the inning by reaching base by getting hit by a pitch and then moved to second on an illegal pitch. Parker then found real estate in center field to bring home Montalvo.
In the seventh Lunceford again came through by drilling a triple off the right-centerfield wall. Brittany Rogers then followed suit with a double to left-center to complete the Alabama scoring.
Florida rallied in the seventh by scoring three runs but Dunne and the Alabama defense was able to buckle down to hand the Gators their first conference loss of the season. Francesca Enea made it close when she belted a three-run shot over the left-centerfield wall.
The Gators opened the scoring by putting a run up in the first inning. Again with two outs Florida was able to get to the Tide when Corrie Brooks singled up the middle to plate Kelsey Bruder.
Alabama then answered to knot the game at one with a single run in the fourth. The Tide loaded the bases and Rogers brought home Jennifer Fenton on a fielder's choice.
Parker and Lunceford led Alabama at the plate with two hits apiece. Bruder was the only Gator to collect a multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 performance.
Dunne allowed four runs on six hits to improve to 13-1 on the season. Nelson (18-3) was tagged for the loss after allowing four runs, one earned while striking out nine in five innings.
Alabama will return home to host another instate team. The Crimson Tide will play a midweek contest against Troy on Wednesday, April 1 at 6:00 p.m. Alabama will then welcome Georgia for a three game series, beginning on Saturday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m.