A game-sealing and unprecedented six runs in the fourth inning delivered Florida its first win in a three-game series against the Crimson Tide Monday.
The No. 7 Gators (31-9, 8-7) handed No. 5 Alabama (33-6, 10-5) a loss Monday night despite the Crimson Tide securing the series win with a 2-1 victory Sunday.
After a stellar first inning, Alabama continued to rack up the runs after freshman Jenna Lord scored to put her team up 3-0.
Florida freshman Regan Walsh had seen enough as she executed a textbook solo home run at the bottom of the second to put the Gators on the scoreboard.
Walsh continued to make her presence known as the infielder propelled her team back into the ballgame with some critical plays at the bottom of the third. Walsh proved invaluable to the Gators, her single up the middle of the field resulting in a two-run score that evened up the contest at three runs apiece.
Head coach Tim Walton spoke about his team’s youth following the victory and understands that players will only get better as time goes on.
“There's a lot of kids doing things for the first time right now,” Walton said. “We got to just got to keep getting better.”
At the top of the fourth, pitcher Lexie Delbrey replaced senior Elizabeth Hightower at the circle. Alabama senior Ashley Prange took advantage of the freshman’s entrance into the ball game, producing a home run that resulted in two more runs for the Crimson Tide, leading 5-3.
At the bottom of the fourth, Florida found itself in a position to take over, leaving its early scoring woes in the past. Along with six runs, the Gators packed the stat lines with three hits and capitalized on wild pitches and errors from Alabama to end the fourth up 9-5.
Florida scored three more runs in the sixth inning to effectively ice out Alabama, 12-7.
While the victory is a nice change of pace for the Gators, Walton understands there are still parts of the game Florida can improve on moving forward.
“How many two-strike hits do we give up tonight,” Walton said. “I think that's going to be the mantra of the bullpens this week as we get ready for Ole Miss.”
The Gators look to take this late-series success into Oxford, Mississippi, for an SEC matchup against Ole Miss.
The Rebels will also hunt for redemption following a series loss to No. 8 Kentucky, where Ole Miss had no answer for the Wildcats’ impressive hitting ability.
Florida’s showdown against the Rebels is set to begin Thursday at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Contact Brenda Bogle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bogle_brenda.
Brenda Bogle is a UF journalism senior with a specialization in sports and media. She joined The Alligator in the Fall of 2021.