One of the most annoying things after the Sunday win was every news outlet and social media account trumpeting that Bama had “won the series!” before Game 3 had been played. This sort of nonsense is Rat Poison. Granted, Bama played exceptional in the first two games, but Game 3 was a sloppy ugly loss.
All in all, it was a strong outing for the Crimson Tide. Taking two of three in Gainesville is nothing to sneeze at. It certainly helps cement their position among the top eight. Team26’s offense is starting to look like elite teams of old: big innings, everyone hitting, scoring early, and two out RBIs. piching on the other hand, was a bit sketchy.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 8, FLORIDA 3 - Good Lord!
Continuing their three-game streak of big innings, Bama put up two runs in the second inning and five in the next frame for an early 7-0 advantage.
Patrick Murphy’s Gut® feelings were in the zone on Saturday. First was utilizing Jenna Lord as the designated hitter. The freshman merely responded with back-to-back two RBI doubles in her first two at bats. Previous to this game, the Trussville native had 6 RBI for the entire season.
The second Gut® move was dropping Kaylee Tow down to sixth in the batting order. The super-senior recorded a single and a two-run double on the first two pitches she saw. She added another single and finished with two runs and two RBI.
[LOL they call her “Grandma”.]
Once again, Montana Fouts was dominating until that one inning. The second time through the order she again struggled. Up 7-0, the Tide ace had a no-hitter going through three with five strikeouts. In the fourth inning, the first two Gators walked and then got a single and a double. Fouts ended up walking three and yielding three hits and three runs in the inning before getting a big strikeout with the bases loaded. The third and fourth times through the order, it was back to domination.
The other part of this problem is that the Tide offense seems to often go flat after such a big inning by a foe, though they did manage an eighth run on a bases loaded walk in the sixth.
Fouts (16-2) threw a ridiculously high 144 pitches, striking out eleven and walking a season-high six. Tim Walton used four Gators pitchers which seemed unnecessary since three of them pitched well enough to stay in the game.
Five Alabama players posted multi-hit performances as the Tide tallied 12 hits for the game.
(For the record, Skylar Wallace walked and scored, singled and did not score, and struck out twice.)
GAME 2: ALABAMA 2, FLORIDA 1 - Bailey Bomb
Despite a big win in Game 1 with plenty of offense, The Gut® decided to tinker with the lineup by moving struggling Jenna Johnson down to batting sixth, thus moving Ashley Prange, Ally Shipman, Bailey Dowling, and Kaylee Tow each up to spots they are not familiar with. The results were zero hits over the first 5.2 innings against freshman Lexie Delbrey. The no-no was finally broken up when Prange banged a ball off the center field wall for a two out triple.
After a Shipman walk, Dowling got her first hit of the series with a double that knocked in Prange but Shipman was thrown out at the plate on an awkward slide. IMHO, it was catcher obstruction but whatevs.
[No video available, so my point is valid. ;) ]
Meanwhile, Lexi Kilfoyl was holding her own by keeping the game scoreless until the bottom of that same inning, when UF tied it 1-1 on a (sigh) Skylar Wallace solo home run. (For the game, Wallace was doubled off first after walking, struck out with two on, and lined out to third with a runner on first in her other three at bats.)
After two more innings of goose eggs, Dowling led off the ninth inning with a round-tripper over the left field wall.
Kilfoyl (8-2) was a real warrior, throwing a career-high 128 pitches over eight innings. After allowing a single to lead off the bottom of the ninth, she was lifted for Montana Fouts who easily got the final two outs for her third save of the season.
Jenna Lord had two more hits.
GAME 3: FLORIDA 12, ALABAMA 7 - Two Out Magic, All For Naught
After the first two Bama batters recorded outs in the first inning, Ally Shipman doubled and Bailey Dowling hit her second homer in as many days.
In the second, Ashley Prange collected an RBI on a single to push the lead to 3-0. But it wasn’t going to be that easy.
Montana Fouts gave up a solo homer to Reagan Walsh to lead off the second. Walsh victimized her again in the third with a two-run single. Just like that, the game was tied up 3-3.
In the top of the fourth inning, Megan Bloodworth doubled but the next two batters made quick outs on three pitches. Prange picked up the slack with a blast over the center field wall and a 5-3 advantage.
Back to the Gators half of the inning, everything went to ****. The Gators loaded the bases and Fouts was lifted for Lexi Kilfoyl. The new Tide pitcher allowed all three inherited runners to score on a wild pitch, walk and a single. Kilfoyl then beaned the next batter and Patrick Murphy had seen enough. However since Murphy did not bother to sign any elite pitchers, he was forced to go to Jaala Torrence. The sophomore allowed three runs to score on two wild pitches and a sac fly for a 9-5 deficit.
Torrence got through the fifth unscathed, but gave up another three runs in the sixth in what turned into a take-one-for-the-team appearance.
Dowling hit another solo shot (third round-tripper in six plate appearances) in the seventh. Tow singled but was erased by a double play. After a Jenna Lord double, a HBP, and a Kat Grill single loaded the bases, The Gut® put in little used Savannah Woodard to pinch hit for a struggling Dallis Goodnight. I guess it’s a win because she too was hit by a pitch for only her third RBI of the season. But it wasn’t enough.
Prange was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI. Goodnight struck out three times in three at bats at the top of the order. She had five Ks on the weekend.
(In the finale, Skylar Wallace struck out, walked twice, and doubled with the bases empty. No RBI, however she scored three runs in the game.)
*** Lollipop unicorn rainbow chasers, stop reading here lest ye get your feelings hurt! ***
- This has got to be the most pitches that Fouts and Kilfoyl have both tossed in a series - ever.
- The coaching staff needs to find out what is going on with Fouts upon facing the opponents the second time through the order. She is too good of a pitcher to be struggling like this so often. Murph needs fresh eyes on this issue. I’d advise calling up someone like Kayla Braud and get her take on it.
- This year, the NCAA (who abhors anyone having fun) made a rule that all players must stay an arm’s length from the dugout railing after a home run. I am baffled why they think they need such a foolish rule. You may have noticed after Dowling’s blast in Game 2, the whole team ran out to home plate to celebrate. They repeated the act in Game 3. If there were any sanctions doled out on the Tide, I have not heard about it.
- Johnson was 0-for-the-weekend (0-10) but just missed a three-run homer in Game 1. The ball left the yard but was just a few feet foul. Shipman had an almost identical foul ball in Game 3. The Tide catcher was “only” 4 for 12 with 3 runs and 0 RBI.
- Tow continues to struggle with momentous game-changing hits as well as hitting the long ball. She seems to get most of her hits with nobody on base and they are usually singles. Of her 24 RBI on the season, eight have come in the 15 SEC games. Of those eight, five came in the South Carolina series. Do the math.
- Not to pick on Tow but she dropped a foul ball with two on and no outs in the sixth inning of Game 3. It was of the over-the-shoulder variety but the fifth year player should have made the play. Fortunately, that batter would pop out.
- Abby Doerr did not play in any of the three games.
- Dowling had a slick defensive play in Game 1.
- Johnson made a spectacular diving catch in left field with two Gators on base.
- Grill had a web gem in Game 3.
- The Crimson Tide is 26-4 this season when scoring first.
- Saturday’s game had the second largest capacity crowd at UF’s softball stadium ever at 2,609. Even on the road, Bama draws a crowd. #RockStars. About five hundred-fifty less showed up for Game 2. Capacity dropped to half at 1,387 showing up on Monday. Lame.
- Speaking of rock stars, Goodnight has some awesome hair.
- It sure is nice to see Bama games on regular TV. However with that comes the curse of mouthy Mowins and monotone Michele.
- That said... In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2, ESPN2 suddenly switched to the Yankees-Red Sox game with a two second warning. And the switch was not to the main broadcast of the game that was being aired on ESPN. It was to stupid A-Rod trying to do a Manning thing by babbling during the game. The move left viewers scrambling to find the end of the game with Fouts coming in to pitch with a one run lead. Allegedly, Alabama won. By the time I finally found the Spanish-language streaming, Bama was high-fiving.
- Woodard made appearances of the pinch-running variety in the first two games. In the ninth inning of Game 2, she was called out for leaving first base early. Then came the Game 3 HBP pinch-hit. I am really worried about her. It’s too bad the media guys who get access to Murphy are too scared to get the story.
- In case you were wondering, Wallace had one solo homer, one double, and one single in eight at bats. Her batting average actually dropped from .482 to .413. She also had four walks but also struck out four times. She scored five runs and had one RBI. Zero stolen bases despite having the fourth most in the nation (33), first among Power 5 players.
- Alabama is now 33-6 overall and the first team to ten SEC wins at 10-5.
- DOWLING - 4 for 9 (.444), 3 RUNS, 5 RBI, one 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB. After going 4 for 8 last weekend, the Bama shortstop is heating up.
- LORD - 5 for 11 (.455), 3 RUNS, 4 RBI, three 2B, 1 SB, 0 K, hits in all three games.
- PRANGE - 6 for 13 (.462), 3 RUNS, 3 RBI, one 2B, one 3B, 1 HR, 1 BB, hits in all three games.
- TOW - 7 for 12 (.583), 2 RUNS, 2 RBI, one 2B. The reason she is #4 is because most of her hits came without anyone on base and six were singles. What has happened to the home run threat of Tow?
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
We are coming into the home stretch with only twelve regular season games remaining. It’s have another weird 3-game series for the Tide back at Rhoads. This time it is Thu-Fri-Sat. The Crimson Tide have no mid-week games so this should be no problem. Alabama faces the surprise of the SEC from this season in Clanga-Clang (26-14, 7-5) who just took two of three against #23/25 Missouri. #NeedToSweep
- Thursday, April 14 vs. Mississippi State 5 p.m. CT Tuscaloosa, AL - SECN
- Friday, April 15 vs. Mississippi State 6 p.m. CT Tuscaloosa, AL - streaming
- Saturday, April 16 vs. Mississippi State 4 p.m. CT Tuscaloosa, AL - SECN (another time change)