The fourth ranked Florida softball team beat the 15th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 3-2 on Monday, giving the Gators the series win two games to one. Despite the Gators being outhit by the Crimson Tide, freshmen Danielle Romanello’s two-run double and solo home run were the difference makers. Kelly Barnhill returned to the circle and improved to 17-1 for the season, despite giving up an unusual five walks and striking out four batters. The Gators are now 34-6 for the season and 9-3 in SEC play.
Many Alabama fans at Rhoads Stadium today had their eyes pinned and their mouths aimed at the umpires. If you took your eyes off this game you probably missed something important. Like a great novel, there were moments that completely changed the plot. The drama escalated from the possible missed calls by the umpires, a plethora of walks, and excellent performances despite the odds.
The home-plate umpire received an ear-full of hate from Alabama fans because of perceived missed calls on Crimson Tide pitcher Alexis Osorio’s pitches. The starter continuously pursued throwing her inside-curve, but it resulted in 11 walks in seven innings. Those walks led to Florida left fielder Amanda Lorenz extending her reached base safely streak another game and for Lorenz, Nicole DeWitt and Hannah Adams to finish with two or more walks. But Florida did not take full advantage of this, leaving 12 runners left on base compared to the Tide’s seven.
Alabama center fielder Elissa Brown singled in the bottom of the third inning and ended up stealing second base. The umpire ruled her out initially but had not noticed that shortstop Sophia Reynoso had dropped the ball while trying to signal that she tagged her. Florida coach Tim Walton, who had an altercation with the home-plate umpire during the game and received a warning, watched Alabama take the lead directly after. Tide right fielder Kaylee Tow drilled a two-run home run to right field.
In the same manner, Romanello took advantage in her at-bats when facing Osorio; her two-run double was a ball right over the plate on a full count. Despite Osorio getting out of a lot of jams, she eventually paid for her wildness.
The Gators will end their road trip on Wednesday with a non-conference match up against upstate rival 13th-ranked Florida State. Florida is 24-15 all-time against the Seminoles, dominating the series with only two losses since 2007. However, the last loss was their last meeting when they played last year in Tallahassee as the Gators lost 3-1 in 11 innings.