Roundup: Florida softball upsets top-ranked Tide
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 1:05 a.m.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No. 4 Florida upset No. 1 Alabama 8-4 in a Wednesday matchup with national ramifications, but it won't count in the SEC standings.
With the expansion of the SEC to include Missouri and Texas A&M, increasing the league to 13 softball-playing schools, the league schedule starting this season no longer has each school playing every other league member. Alabama vs. Florida, the SEC's hottest rivalry for the last several years, wasn't on the slate for this season, but the coaches decided to play regardless.
The Gators improved to 23-1, while the Crimson Tide fell to 22-1.
UF pitchers Hannah Rogers (11-1) and reliever Lauren Haegar combined to scatter six Alabama hits over seven innings, while UF scored seven earned runs off Crimson Tide ace Jackie Traina (10-1), six of them in the final two innings to rally.
Haeger, Kelsey Horton and Stephanie Tofft had two hits and an RBI each for UF, while Taylore Fuller had a two-run double. Briana Little added two hits and scored two runs.
The Gators will now head to Auburn, Ala., to open Southeastern Conference play Friday against the Tigers at Jane B. Moore Field. The Gators and Tigers will play at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Florida is 23-9 all-time on SEC opening day and 10-4 under head coach Tim Walton in league openers.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: At Tallahassee, fifth-ranked Florida improved to 53-1 against in-state foe and No. 16 Florida State with a chilly 4-0 victory at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee.
The Gators (8-2) shuffled their doubles lineups with three new pairings and it proved successful as Florida earned the doubles points with wins on courts one and two, after the Seminoles opened the match winning on court three.
Alexandra Cercone and Sofie Oyen had compiled a 1-3 record as a pair this year during the fall, but used that experience to post an 8-2 against Francesca Segarelli and Kristina Schleich on court one, as the Gator tandem improved to 8-4 all-time together.
Lauren Embree and Brianna Morgan, who were playing together for the first time, provided the clinching doubles point victory with an 8-2 decision versus Daneika Borthwick and Kerrie Cartwright on court two.
Danielle Collins and Olivia Janowicz weren't as fortunate, as they dropped an 8-1 result to Mia Vriens and Amy Sargeant at the number three spot.
“I was very pleased with our number one and two doubles pairings, they looked really good, they moved well together,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “In singles, we took care of business with straight set wins on three of the courts that finished. It was tough conditions, very cold and windy. I thought both teams managed to play fantastic tennis despite the conditions. We're happy to head home with the ‘W' and hopefully we'll get some warmer conditions when we host South Carolina on Saturday.”
Oyen raced out to a 6-0, 6-1 win against Borthwick on court two and gave Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring.
Embree followed with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Mia Vriens at the number one position, as the Gator senior improved to 103-14 in her overall singles career, as well as 73-5 in dual match action.
Cercone provided the fourth and final point in the team win, as she downed Sargeant, 6-4, 6-3.
The remaining three singles matches on court were abandoned once Cercone clinched the Gator victory, its 18th consecutive against instate opponents.