Florida’s Danielle Romanello had just one extra-base hit in 30 at-bats this season coming into Monday night’s softball game against Alabama at Rhodes Stadium, but you would never have known it from her performance in the deciding game of the SEC series between the two teams.
Romanello had all three of Florida’s RBI’s as the Gators edged UA 3-2 to take the series, two games to win and drop Alabama to 25-11 overall and 6-6 in SEC play.
“Give her credit,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “She came in as a pinch-hitter but took advantage of the chance. We had some opportunities that we did not capitalize on.”
Alabama struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Elissa Brown started the rally with a single, stole second (she was originally called out but the call was overturned) and came home on Kaylee Tow’s 2-run home run. It was Tow’s eight home run of the season, tying Bailey Hemphill for the team lead.
Florida immediately came back. Alabama starter Alexis Osorio, who struggled with control at times, walked the bases loaded and, with two outs, Romanello laced a double down the right field line, bringing in the tying runs.
Romanello had an even bigger hit in the top of the fifth, hitting her first home run of the season, a two-out solo homer to give the Gators a 3-2 lead and its eventual winning margin.
Alabama was able to bring the potential winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Tow was hit by a pitch with two outs but Hemphill was retired on a soft line drive to third, ending the game.
Florida ace Kelly Barnhill pitched a four-hitter to earn the win, raising her record to 17-1. Osorio, who threw 179 pitches, fell to 9-5 with the loss.
Alabama will return to SEC play on Friday, opening a road series at Arkansas.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.