COLLEGE STATION, Texas (UA Athletics) - Alabama and Florida battled in a low-scoring pitcher’s duel to decide the SEC Tournament Championship, with the Gators pulling out the narrow 2-1 victory over the Crimson Tide.
Alabama (52-7) took the first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth but Florida (44-15) rallied back to move in front on a two-run double in the sixth, bringing the score to its final tally of 2-1. Sophomore KB Sides drew a pair of walks and scored the Tide’s lone run of the day. Junior Krystal Goodman threw 3.2 shutout innings in the start with freshman Montana Fouts (15-4) taking the loss in relief.
For their efforts over the week, Sides, Fouts and freshman Skylar Wallace earned SEC All-Tournament team honors.
After two hitless innings for both teams, Amanda Lorenz sent a one-out single up the middle in the top of the third and Kendyl Lindaman chopped a double into left to put two in scoring position for the Gators. Alabama intentionally walked Hannah Adams to set up the force at any base and Goodman caught Jordan Roberts looking at strike three for the second out before a popup ended the threat and kept the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the second, senior Regan Dykes drew a one-out walk and then hustled into scoring position on a wild pitch in the next at-bat. Alabama could not drive her in however, as it remained 0-0 heading to the fourth. Florida put two on base in the top of the fourth after a single and a fielding error, forcing Alabama to turn to its bullpen as Fouts stepped into the circle. Lorenz took the count full before rolling an easy grounder to junior Bailey Hemphill at first, who stepped on the bag to end the threat and keep the Gators out of the run column.
Sides drew her second walk of the day to lead off the home half of the fourth before Hemphill dropped a single into shallow left for Alabama’s first base hit of the game. A force out at second went for out number one and put runners at the corners. On a sharp grounder to the shortstop, she attempted to throw home but could not beat Sides running in from third as she scored on the fielder’s choice to put the Tide ahead 1-0. Wallace singled to load the bases, but a strikeout and groundout stranded the bases loaded as Florida limited the damage to one run.
With the score the same in the top of the sixth, Florida pinch-hitter Cheyenne Lindsey reached on a two-out slap double that just stayed fair down the left-field line. A second pinch-hitter drew a walk, bringing Lorenz to the plate. The senior battled to a full count before dropping a two-run double into the left-field corner to give the Gators the 2-1 lead. After a walk to Lindaman, a force out at third ended the half-inning with Florida in front.
The Gators couldn’t add to its lead in the seventh and the Tide got the potential tying run on base in the bottom half but could not push her across.
Next up, Alabama awaits its NCAA Tournament assignment as the field of 64 will be announced Sunday, May 12 at 8 p.m. CT live on ESPN2 with NCAA Regional round play to begin the following weekend.