Justine McLean hustled to first base after her hit danced on the foul line, ultimately staying in play
Up until that point, the Gators were hitless eight batters in, not seeing much luck on offense.
But with McLean, Florida’s first baserunner, on first with two outs in the inning, Amanda Lorenz stepped up to bat looking to open up the game.
She watched as the count became 1-2 before Alabama pitcher Sydney Littlejohn threw a pitch over the plate.
Lorenz got all of it.
The home crowd erupted in cheers as she smacked the ball over the left-field wall, giving Florida its first lead of the Super Regional.
“Every time (Lorenz) lifts the bat, I have that feeling that something big like that is going to come from her,” Gourley said. “So tonight it was just huge.”
Following the Moorpark, California, native’s two-run home run, the Gators (54-8) defeated the Crimson Tide (46-17) 2-0 in game two of the NCAA Super Regional on Friday night at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Led by Delanie Gourley on the mound, UF held the Tide scoreless and only allowed four hits. At the plate, the Gators collected five hits, including two from Lorenz, and walked three times.
However, strong pitching from both sides left this game pretty close.
Gourley struck out eight batters, and stopped the Tide from putting a runner in scoring position aside from the first inning. Littlejohn struck out four and retired Florida’s first eight batters.
“Delanie got better and better as the game went on,” coach Tim Walton said. “Proud of her, as well, for gutting that game out.”
After Lorenz’s home run, though, the Gators put a runner on base in each inning, even coming close to adding a third run in the bottom of the fourth. Katie Chronister, pinch-running for first baseman Kayli Kvistad, tried to reach home from second on a Janell Wheaton single, but got thrown out at the plate.
Alabama had its chances to score early in the game, too.
The Tide put the ball in play four times in the bottom of the first inning, but two interference calls allowed Gourley and the Gators to escape with the score still set at zero.
In the bottom of the second inning, Chandler Dare got on base with a single, but Gourley struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
And after Gourley retired the side in the bottom of the third, Bama wouldn’t put a runner in scoring position for the rest of the game.
The Gators will look to build off of Friday night’s win when they play again on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the third game of the NCAA Super Regional. The winner of will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
“Its Alabama-Florida,” Walton said. “We’re going to get the chance to play at the College World Series and it's an awesome opportunity to play a great game here tomorrow night and figure that out.”
Contact Jake Dreilinger at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.
UF's Aleshia Ocasio readies her swing during Florida's 3-0 loss to Alabama in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional on May 25, 2017, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.