With runners on second and third base in the bottom of the seventh inning, shortstop Kelsey Stewart threw to first.

But as Auburn’s Jade Rhodes charged toward first and as Emily Carosone headed home, Schwarz dropped the ball and the No. 3 Tigers came out with a walk-off 5-4 win.

The No. 1 Gators’ (26-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) first loss came on a 40-degree evening in the final leg of a three-game series in Auburn, Alabama.

"Overall, we didn’t play great Gator softball in the seventh inning," coach Tim Walton said in a release. "When you give a good team an opportunity and allow them to knock on the door, you see what happens."

The Tigers (23-3, 1-2 SEC) jumped out to an early lead after Rhodes hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the second off junior Delanie Gourley, giving Auburn a 2-0 edge.

Florida chipped away at the Tigers’ lead in the fourth when sophomore Kayli Kvistad drove in senior Kirsti Merritt on a ground out.

Merritt put Florida in the driver’s seat in the fifth when she dug in and lifted a low 1-2 pitch over the left-center field fence — her fourth home run in five games. The three-run shot gave the Gators life and a 4-2 lead.

"To be down a run and for her to put that swing on what looked like a changeup is really good," Walton said. "Just to see our response and be able to come back from being down on the road in a pretty big time environment is good to see."

Auburn’s Carosone hit a home run in the bottom of the inning, cutting the Florida lead to 4-3.

Sophomore Aleshia Ocasio came in to close the game after Gourley tossed six innings, giving up four hits, four walks and three earned runs.

As the Tigers trailed in the bottom of the seventh, Carosone reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in the tying run.

Two batters later, Rhodes’ grounder to Stewart took a moment too long to field. Stewart threw the ball to first as the runner arrived, making the final play seem like a judgement call, until first baseman Taylor Schwarz did not cleanly come up with the ball.

"We had plenty of opportunities to score a lot of runs," Walton said. "I said it even with the two victories, we have to do a better job of putting team’s away and we didn’t do that today."

Contact Matt Brannon at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MattB_727

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