It was a very rough week for the Florida Gator softball team as they went into Knoxville looking for a jump start in the SEC race and came away empty handed. The Gators entered Friday’s contest 31-4 on the season. As great as that record appears, the SEC record is not particularly good right now.
After losing two of three to the Alabama Crimson Tide the Gators found themselves 5-4 and already three games back. But now Florida is 5-7 in league play after being swept in a three game series by Tennessee.
In Friday’s first game, the Gators found themselves unable to produce at the plate. The Gators threw their senior ace Hannah Rogers and despite it being the first time the Volunteers had seen her all year, they were locked in.
Much as in her last outing against Alabama, Rogers threw just three innings allowing three runs on four hits. Despite having a very deep rotation, Gator head coach Tim Walton found little success with any pitcher as the Volunteer offense was just too strong. Junior Lauren Haeger threw just one inning giving up a run on two hits and junior Alyssa Bache three the final two giving up a whopping five runs.
The star for Tennessee on Friday was none other than senior pitcher Ellen Renfroe who threw a complete game giving up just two runs on six hits, while striking out seven. The Volunteers recorded 11 total hits in a 9-2 win.
With a rain delay on Saturday, the Vols and Gators were forced to play a doubleheader on Sunday that became really confusing. The first game began in the Gator’s favor with Florida jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Both teams would then trade runs over the next few innings and with the Gators holding a 6-4 lead at the end of the bottom of the fifth the game was suspended due to TV rights of the series finale.
Now in the third game of the series, Rogers and Renfroe took to the circle for the second time and again Renfroe was victorious. Rogers pitched six innings giving up five runs on eight hits while Renfroe threw a complete game, allowing just two hits and two unearned runs while fanning 11 in a 5-2 Tennessee win.
The teams had to finish the suspended game but the Gator lead soon vanished. Down 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth Tennessee tacked on three runs and the Gators could never recover because yet again Florida’s mortal enemy of the weekend stepped in the circle.
Ellen Renfroe pitched the final two innings and did not allow a run and the Lady Vols came away with the sweep, winning 7-6.
With their losses the Gators left Knoxville with a 31-7 record, 5-7 in SEC play. Next up for Florida is a home game Wednesday against FSU with first pitch at 6pm.