TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A top-five team like Florida does not need an extra out to work with in an inning, and it certainly doesn't need two.
In the sixth inning of a one-run game, Alabama made two costly errors to Florida's one and two-hole hitters. The errors extended the inning and led to a Gators grand slam from Kendyl Lindaman to bust open the score 8-2.
"Both of those plays have got to be made," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "We can't sit back and let the ball play us. You have to go get it."
Those runs in the sixth were more than enough as No. 4 Florida beat No. 3 Alabama 9-2 at Rhoads Stadium on Saturday afternoon, securing the series win over the Crimson Tide.
The final score may be deceiving to the performance of the pitching staff. Starter Krystal Goodman and relievers Sarah Cornell and Jaala Torrence did combine to give up nine runs, but only three were earned.
Until the breakout sixth inning, the pitching staff was keeping the Gators' offense under control. But the errors combined with four wild pitches and eight walks ultimately led to the loss.
"I don't think the score indicates how close it was just," Murphy said. "It got away from us at the end, but I thought all three [pitchers] gave us something good."
It was Goodman's first SEC start of the year. Lexi Kilfoyl was not available due to a nagging injury according to the TV broadcast and Murphy didn't elaborate.
Alabama was also without senior shortstop Claire Jenkins who went down with an injury Friday.
"A rotten part of athletics is injuries, and unfortunately we've had our fair share this year. It stinks for Claire, it stinks for Jenna Johnson, Bailey Dowling, but it's always the next person up."
Florida struck first in the third inning with a walk and back-to-back doubles to give the Gators the early 2-0 lead.
Alabama rallied in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at two. After a leadoff walk to Bailey Hemphill and a single from KB Sides, an RBI-single from Kaylee Tow brought in two runs as Sides scored from first due to some heads up base running. With the single, Sides extended her hit streak to eight games.
The fourth inning was the only scoring production from Alabama in game two. The Tide had four hits, none for extra bases.
The series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
"We need to lose the shell shock sort of thing, and just start playing again," Murphy said.