Gators come up short to Tide in SEC Tournament Championship

A special report from the UAA on the Florida Gators softball team:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No.1-seed Florida fell 4-0 to No.3-seed Alabama in the SEC Tournament Championship at Rhoads Stadium Saturday afternoon. Charla EcholsKendyl Lindaman and Emily Wilkie earned SEC All-Tournament Team honors.

The Gators (42-9) fell behind in the top of the 1st inning of play, 3-0, to the Crimson Tide (45-7). Alabama was able to manufacture a three-run inning, two of which were unearned, via a squeeze bunt from Jenna Johnson and a defensive miscue later in the inning.

In the following frames, Elizabeth Hightower (16-5) and the Gators defense settled in to retire the next 10-straight Alabama batters, before Elissa Brown reached in the top of the 5th inning. Brown was immediately erased when Wilkie threw her out trying to steal second base for the second out.

After an infield single by Mack and a walk to Hemphill, Katie Chronister was called from the bullpen to relieve Hightower in the circle. Chronister proceeded to end the rally as she struck out Kaylee Tow to end the inning.

Alabama eventually added a run in the top of the 6th via a Taylor Clark RBI single to left field to push the lead out to 4-0 and cap the scoring.

Offensively, the Gators were able to reach base at least once in the first four innings of play. Charla Echols (1-for-2), Kendyl Lindaman (1-for-2) and Sarah Longley (1-for-2) all picked up hits, while Baylee Goddard reached via hit-by-pitch.

Montana Fouts (22-3) pitched a complete-game for Alabama to earn the decision.

The Gators now wait to see their where they land in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The selection show is set to air on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET.

Notable Notes:

  • The Gators hold a 34-27 (.557) record in the SEC Tournament and holds the third best winning percentage among SEC programs in SEC Tournament play.
    • The 34 all-time wins are the third most by any SEC program in the tournament
    • Head Coach Tim Walton holds a 25-10 record and a .714 win percentage, which is tied LSU’s Yvette Girouard for the best win percentage in SEC Tournament history.
  • The No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament holds a 56-16 record and the Gators hold 18-6 record as the top seed.
  • This is UF’s ninth SEC Tournament Championship appearance which is the second most finals appearances in the league.
  • The SEC Tournament games are the first neutral site games for the Gators this season.
    • UF is now 2-1 in neutral site games.
  • Charla Echols extended her hit streak out to six games and has now reached safely in 33 consecutive games.
Bailiegh Carlton
A lifelong sports fan, Bailiegh Carlton knew from a young age that she wanted to work in sports in some capacity. Before transferring to the University of Florida to study journalism, she played softball at Gulf Coast State College. She then interned for Gator Country for three years as she worked toward her degree. After graduation, Bailiegh decided to explore other opportunities in the world of sports, but all roads led her right back here. In her time away, she and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. When she isn't working, she can almost always be found snuggled up with sweet baby Ridley, Cody and her four fur babies.