Georgia defeats Florida Gators softball on walk-off home run

Special report on the Florida Gators softball
ATHENS, Ga. – Florida softball dropped its series opener against No. 10 Georgia, 5-4, via a walk-off home run by Alyssa DiCarlo at Jack Turner Stadium Friday evening. The two-run home run was the fourth of the game by the Bulldogs.

Florida (22-2, 3-1 SEC) jumped out in front early against Georgia (25-1, 4-0 SEC). Kayli Kvistad drove home Amanda Lorenz with a two-out RBI double to center field in the first to put the Gators up 1-0.

The Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the frame with three-straight solo home runs. The trio of Alyssa DiCarlo, Alysen Febrey and Mahlena O’Neal helped put UGA ahead 3-1 after each hit a solo home run with two outs.

Aleshia Ocasio (9-2) and the Gators immediately responded in the second. Janell Wheaton reached with a leadoff infield single to third and Ocasio tied the game, 3-3, in the very next at-bat with a two-run home run to right field.

Georgia tried to push across a run in the bottom of the second via a squeeze bunt. Cortni Emanuel’s bunt dribbled out to starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill, who fielded it cleanly and made the flip home to Wheaton to eliminate the scoring threat. Barnhill’s evening ended after she induced a fly out from Justice Milz to end the inning.

After the top of the third concluded, both teams opted for pitching changes as Ocasio entered the circle from center field in the bottom of the frame and Georgia’s Brittany Gray entered in the top of the fourth to replace starter Kylie Bass.

Florida regained the lead, 4-3, in the top of the sixth after a series of scoreless innings. A full-count walk by Kvistad to lead off and a single to center field by Jordan Matthews put two on with no outs, Wheaton moved pinch runners Haven Sampson and Alex Voss to second and third with her SAC bunt.

Ocasio drove in the go-ahead run after her grounder ricocheted off Gray in the circle, which allowed a streaking Sampson to score from third.

The two teams will reset and recover before coming back tomorrow to play at 2 p.m. at Jack Turner Stadium. The game will be streamed on the SEC Network which can be found on WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app.

Walton’s Words
Overall thoughts on the series opener…
“Overall I thought – whenever you put up one (run), then going down 3-1 after Georgia went back-to-back-to-back (with homes runs) – we showed a lot of resilience. That was an uncharacteristic set of circumstances, but I thought our team fought back and showed some toughness. That was the part I was most pleased with, just the way that we bounced back and fought all the way obviously until the end of the game.”

Notable Notes
· Florida still leads the all-time series against Georgia 38-26 overall and 17-8 on the road.
· The Gators scored in the first inning for the 17th time this season.
· Amanda Lorenz reached base safely for the 24th consecutive game after drawing a two-out walk in the top of the first inning.
o Last year Lorenz reached safely in 66 of the 68 games played.
· Kayli Kvistad drew her 21st walk of the season in the top of the sixth inning to spark the Gators rally and her second in the seventh.
o She now has 150 walks during her career and ranks third all-time in UF history.
· Aleshia Ocasio registered her second multi-hit game of the year after going 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI.
o The three RBI game makes it her fifth multi-RBI performance of the season.

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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.