Special to Gatorsports.com
COLUMUBA, Missouri — Well, who else did you expect?
SEC Player of the Year Amanda Lorenz belted a three-run home run after two were out in the sixth inning Thursday to lift No. 4 Florida to a 5-2 win over No. 15 Alabama and into the SEC softball tournament semifinals.
“All that matters is winning,” Lorenz said of her ninth home run of the season and fourth in 11 games. “I’m just excited that we got the dub (W). I just stayed within myself, found a pitch to hit, had trust in myself and hit something hard.”
The Gators (48-8) will play four seed Tennessee (45-11) at 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Friday for the right to advance to Saturday night’s championship game. The Vols eliminated LSU 1-0 earlier Thursday in one of the other quarterfinals. Arkansas (39-14) plays South Carolina (44-13) at 3 p.m. Friday in the other semifinal.
Alabama (34-18) scored two runs in the top of the first inning off UF ace Kelly Barnhill, the SEC Pitcher of the Year, on a single by Elissa Brown, a wild pitch, walk, passed ball, RBI groundout and sacrifice fly.
Florida, the league’s regular-season champion, had opportunities to score in the first two innings, but eight seed Alabama escaped damage by turning two double plays.
The Crimson Tide kept their lead in the third inning when Lorenz was called out at home even though TV replays showed she touched the plate before the tag by the Alabama catcher.
The Gators tied it at 2-all on Aleshia Ocasio’s two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Ocasio (19-6) relieved Barnhill in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk. She kept the Tide off the scoreboard in her two-inning stint. Barnhill went five innings, allowed three hits, two runs (one earned), walked five and struck out five.
UF took its first lead of the game in the sixth. Ocasio walked and moved to second when Sophia Reynoso dropped a sacrifice bunt that turned into a single when she beat the throw to first. After the next two batters made outs, Lorenz smashed an Alexis Osorio offering way over the centerfield fence.
Osorio (13-10) had relieved starter Courtney Gettins in the fourth inning.