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Gators win the
series against Alabama

Written by Andrew Spivey, March 23, 2015, 0 Comments,
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Special to GC
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The No. 3-ranked University of Florida softball team secured a series victory at Alabama on Monday, splitting two games with the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide. In the continuation of Game 2, which was suspended on Saturday night, Florida overcame a one-run deficit to earn a 4-1 win, while Tide took Game 3 by a 5-1 score.

Alabama held a 1-0 lead when Game 2 resumed with no outs in the top of the fifth; the Gators had Justine McLean on third base and Kelsey Stewart at the plate. The junior hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring the freshman to tie the game at one run apiece. Florida (30-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) then loaded the bases on a Kirsti Merritt single, a Lauren Haeger double and a walk to Kayli Kvistad.

Taylore Fuller was hit by a pitch to force in Merritt before a passed ball scored Haeger and allowed Kvistad and Fuller to move up one base. Nicole DeWitt capitalized on the opportunity with a sac fly to center, bringing home Kvistad to give Florida a 4-1 lead. The three-run cushion was enough for Aleshia Ocasio (10-2), who limited the Tide to just the one unearned run in Friday’s portion of the game, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four to reach double-digit wins on the season.

Merritt doubled to lead off the second inning in Game 3, then advanced to third on a passed ball before coming home on a wild pitch for the first run of the contest. Alabama (22-7, 6-3 SEC) then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a two-run home run to right-center.

In the following inning, an RBI single and a two-run triple extended the Tide’s advantage to four runs, producing the final margin in the home team’s 5-1 win.

STAR OF THE GAMES
· Aleshia Ocasio: In the first SEC road start of her career, the freshman tamed the 2014 league champions and logged her seventh complete game in 10 starts this season.

NOTABLES
· The Orange and Blue won a regular-season series (excluding single-game matchups) against the Tide for the first time since April 22-24, 2011, when Florida took two of three games in Gainesville.
· The Gators have won five of their last seven games against Alabama dating back to last season.
· Game 2 marked UF’s fourth comeback win of the season.
· Stewart had two hits in Game 2, extending her career-best hitting streak to 18 games before the string was snapped in Game 3.
· The junior has a team-best 13 multi-hit games this year.
· DeWitt’s RBI in Game 2 was her first since she tied her career high with three RBI vs. UC Davis on Feb. 28, a span of 10 games.
· Fuller’s bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in Game 2 marked her second game-winning RBI of the year (also: March 5 vs. San Jose State).
· Merritt’s double in Game 3 was her fourth in 16 games dating back to Feb. 25. She had two in the season’s first 16 games.
· The junior has six two-baggers this season, breaking a three-way tie for second on the team (Stewart, 12).

UP NEXT
Florida will travel to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State in a three-game series next weekend. The action begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). Live streaming will be available to subscribers on SEC Network+ via WatchESPN. WGGG (1230-AM) will have the radio broadcast with Corey Brooks and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call. In addition, live stats links can be found on the schedule page on GatorZone.com.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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Special to GC
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The No. 3-ranked University of Florida softball team secured a series victory at Alabama on Monday, splitting two games with the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide. In the continuation of Game 2, which was suspended on Saturday night, Florida overcame a one-run deficit to earn a 4-1 win, while Tide took Game 3 by a 5-1 score.

Alabama held a 1-0 lead when Game 2 resumed with no outs in the top of the fifth; the Gators had Justine McLean on third base and Kelsey Stewart at the plate. The junior hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring the freshman to tie the game at one run apiece. Florida (30-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) then loaded the bases on a Kirsti Merritt single, a Lauren Haeger double and a walk to Kayli Kvistad.

Taylore Fuller was hit by a pitch to force in Merritt before a passed ball scored Haeger and allowed Kvistad and Fuller to move up one base. Nicole DeWitt capitalized on the opportunity with a sac fly to center, bringing home Kvistad to give Florida a 4-1 lead. The three-run cushion was enough for Aleshia Ocasio (10-2), who limited the Tide to just the one unearned run in Friday’s portion of the game, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four to reach double-digit wins on the season.

Merritt doubled to lead off the second inning in Game 3, then advanced to third on a passed ball before coming home on a wild pitch for the first run of the contest. Alabama (22-7, 6-3 SEC) then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a two-run home run to right-center.

In the following inning, an RBI single and a two-run triple extended the Tide’s advantage to four runs, producing the final margin in the home team’s 5-1 win.

STAR OF THE GAMES
· Aleshia Ocasio: In the first SEC road start of her career, the freshman tamed the 2014 league champions and logged her seventh complete game in 10 starts this season.

NOTABLES
· The Orange and Blue won a regular-season series (excluding single-game matchups) against the Tide for the first time since April 22-24, 2011, when Florida took two of three games in Gainesville.
· The Gators have won five of their last seven games against Alabama dating back to last season.
· Game 2 marked UF’s fourth comeback win of the season.
· Stewart had two hits in Game 2, extending her career-best hitting streak to 18 games before the string was snapped in Game 3.
· The junior has a team-best 13 multi-hit games this year.
· DeWitt’s RBI in Game 2 was her first since she tied her career high with three RBI vs. UC Davis on Feb. 28, a span of 10 games.
· Fuller’s bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in Game 2 marked her second game-winning RBI of the year (also: March 5 vs. San Jose State).
· Merritt’s double in Game 3 was her fourth in 16 games dating back to Feb. 25. She had two in the season’s first 16 games.
· The junior has six two-baggers this season, breaking a three-way tie for second on the team (Stewart, 12).

UP NEXT
Florida will travel to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State in a three-game series next weekend. The action begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). Live streaming will be available to subscribers on SEC Network+ via WatchESPN. WGGG (1230-AM) will have the radio broadcast with Corey Brooks and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call. In addition, live stats links can be found on the schedule page on GatorZone.com.

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