After hitting two consecutive game-winning hits on national television, it seemed like a no-brainer for Kelsey Bruder to be named as the SEC Player of the Week for the second week in a row, and her third this season.
Bruder’s three-run homer against pitcher Kelsi Dunne ended Saturday’s game with No. 3 Alabama giving No. 8 Florida the 6-5 win.
In Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Tide, the left fielder had two key hits in the eighth and ninth innings that kept Florida alive, and clinched the series against the Crimson Tide.
Bruder hit a blooper into right field in the eighth giving the Gators their first run of the game. The hit allowed Florida to continue an eighth inning that saw three Gators get hit by pitches thrown by Dunne and Jackie Traina.
Of those three, Brittany Schutte’s hit-by-pitch tied the contest at two sending the game into the ninth inning where Bruder’s hit to second base was not fielded cleanly allowing Cheyenne Coyle to score the game-winning.
Bruder was the only player to get two hits in a game against Alabama’s one-two punch, and was the only player besides Michelle Moultrie to get a hit in every game. She also went 2-3 with a homer and a triple with three RBIs in Wednesday 8-1 win over Central Florida.
Before the Gators’ offense outburst in their wins, Dunne held Florida to only three hits in Alabama’s win on Friday, and only two before the eighth inning on Sunday.
“Give them credit,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said after Sunday’s contest. “I thought both of their pitchers did a great job this whole weekend. They’ve got a really, really good team. It’s not the last time you’ll see Alabama on TV for sure.”
Bruder said coming up to bat, she did feel some pressure from the crowd as she feels the fans sometimes expect her to hit a home run every time she’s in the situation. But she said the team’s ability to come from behind is something that she never worries about.
“It might take a kick in the butt going down two (to) nothing to get us going, but it again just shows our heart,” Bruder said. “Regardless of what the score is, I feel like we’re always going to pull through, and that’s comforting to know that we’ve put (that) into action the last two days.”
Gator Country reporter Safid Deen can be reached at Safid@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SafidDeenGC.