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UF Softball: No. 5 Gators Claim Series with Victory Over No. 3 Alabama

Kendyl Lindaman hit her first grand slam of the season.
Photo by Hannah White

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

No. 5 Florida defeated No. 3 Alabama, 9-2, to clinch the series Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. UF has now clinched all five of its Southeastern Conference series this season.

The Gators (32-5, 12-2 SEC) used a five-run 6th inning, which was highlighted by a Kendyl Lindaman grand slam, to run away with second game of the series against the Crimson Tide (32-7, 11-6 SEC). Natalie Lugo (10-1) hurled 4.0 innings and held Alabama to just two runs on four hits, while Katie Chronister shut the door in the final 3.0 innings to earn her third save of the season.

Florida posted a pair of runs in the top of the 3rd inning of play to break the scoreless tie. Hannah Adams started the rally with a one-out walk on four pitches, and Cheyenne Lindsey drove her home when she sent the 0-1 offering from Goodman to right-center field for a double.

Charla Echols then followed up Lindsey’s double with one of her own as she flared a shot to left field, which allowed Lindsey to race home and slide headfirst, with her hand reaching the plate before Bailey Hemphill was able to apply the tag.

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Alabama was able to strike back in the home half of the 4th inning to tie the game 2-2. A leadoff walk by Hemphill and a base hit to right field by KB Sides put two runners on with no outs for Kaylee Tow.

Tow then sent a chopper up the middle of the Florida infield, which scored pinch-runner Kayla Davis. When Tow attempted to gain an extra base she was thrown out, but the result also allowed Sides to score the tying run from third.

The Gators regained the lead, 3-2, in the 5th inning after the team took advantage of a series of wild pitches by the Crimson Tide. Echols drew a one-out walk and was able to advance all the way to third on a pair of wild pitches, and Lindaman battled through a 12-pitch at-bat to put runners on the corners.

Florida then brought in pinch runners Kali Reis and Katie Kistler during Julia Cottrill’s at-bat. Alabama opted to intentionally walk Cottrill, but relief pitcher Sarah Cornell put the ball in the dirt, which allowed Reis to score from third.

The Gators’ big 6th inning started with a single by Avery Goelz, which was followed up by a SAC bunt from Sarah Longley to move Goelz into scoring position. Florida then extended its lead to 4-2 after back-to-back fielding errors that allowed Goelz to score.

Echols then was intentionally walked to load the bases. That set the table for Lindaman’s first grand slam of the season.

In the 7th inning, Sarah Longley picked up a two-out single to put the inning in motion, and Jaimie Hoover reached on a fielding error by Morgan at third base. Adams reached in the next at-bat via a full-count walk to load the bases, and Longley was able to race home on a wild pitch to cap the scoring.

The Gators and the Crimson Tide will close out the series Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m. (ET) on the SEC Network.

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