Senior Peyton Grantham paced No. 15 Alabama’s offense in her return to the lineup Saturday.
It wasn’t enough as No. 4 Florida roughed up Alabama, 6-1, in the series opener at Rhoads Stadium.
Grantham, who ruptured her plantar fascia against Auburn on March 18, went 2-for-3, breaking up Florida ace Kelly Barnhill’s no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single to right-center field. She also hit a single to left in the sixth inning. Bailey Hemphill’s double in the seventh rounded out Alabama’s three hits.
“I was out for two weeks and in a hard cast for a week, so I just took it back to the basics,” Grantham said. “It was a lot of one-handed swings, getting a lot of tee work, so just seeing it all come together without having to be on the field was pretty cool.”
Barnhill (16-1), last year’s USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year, struck out seven and walked five.
“(Grantham) hadn’t swung until Wednesday in practice this week against a live pitcher, so that was unbelievable for her to do that against that type of pitcher,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said.
Florida scored two runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead, and added a pair of runs in both the fifth and seventh inning. Hannah Adams had two hits for the Gators and Aleshia Osacio finished with three RBIs.
Reagan Dykes scored Alabama’s lone run in the second inning off of a throwing error. The Crimson Tide left runners on base in six of seven innings, stranding 10 total. Alabama loaded the bases in the fifth inning, and left two runners on base in both the second and seventh innings.
“We had people on base, we just couldn’t get that key hit,” Murphy said.
Alexis Osorio (8-4) took the loss on her senior day, striking out five, walking nine and allowing eight hits.
Alabama (24-10, 5-5 SEC) continues its three-game series against Florida (33-5, 8-2 SEC) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rhoads Stadium.
“I told them let’s just play better tomorrow,” Murphy said. “It’s a new day and you still can win the series. You’ve just got to hit better, pitch better and get a better start.”
Reach Joey Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.