Special to the Sun
ATHENS, Ga. – Florida’s No. 2 softball team dropped its series opener against No. 10 Georgia, 5-4, via a walk-off home run Friday by Alyssa DiCarlo. The two-run home run was the fourth homer of the game by the Bulldogs.
Florida (22-2, 3-1 SEC) jumped out in front early against Georgia (25-1, 4-0). Kayli Kvistad drove home Amanda Lorenz with a two-out RBI double in the first.
The Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the frame with three straight solo home runs. The trio of DiCarlo, Alysen Febrey and Mahlena O’Neal helped put UGA ahead 3-1 after each hit their shots with two outs.
Aleshia Ocasio (9-2) and the Gators immediately responded in the second. Janell Wheaton reached with a leadoff infield single to third and Ocasio tied the game, 3-3, in the very next at-bat with a two-run home run to right field.
Georgia tried to push across a run in the bottom of the second via a squeeze bunt. Cortni Emanuel’s bunt dribbled out to starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill, who fielded it cleanly and made the flip home to Wheaton to eliminate the scoring threat. Barnhill’s evening ended after she induced a fly out from Justice Milz to end the inning.
After the top of the third concluded, both teams opted for pitching changes, as Ocasio entered the circle from center field in the bottom of the frame and Georgia’s Brittany Gray entered in the top of the fourth to replace starter Kylie Bass.
Florida regained the lead, 4-3, in the sixth after a series of scoreless innings. A full-count walk by Kvistad to lead off and a single to center field by Jordan Matthews put two on with no outs, Wheaton moved pinch runners Haven Sampson and Alex Voss to second and third with her sac bunt.
Ocasio drove in the go-ahead run after her grounder ricocheted off Brittany Gray in the circle, which allowed a streaking Sampson to score from third.
The teams will meet again at 2 p.m. today.
Men’s tennis: At Ring Tennis Complex, Florida (9-6, 4-1 SEC) defeated Kentucky 5-0 with wins at No. 1 doubles with Alfredo Perez-Johannes Ingildsen and No. 2 doubles of Duarte Vale-McClain Kessler, and singles wins by Oliver Crawford, Andres Andrade and Chase Perez-Blanco.
Kentucky fell to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the league.
Women’s tennis: At Athens, Ga., Georgia won the battle of unbeaten in the SEC, beat Florida 4-1.
The No. 8 Bulldogs (9-2, 4-0 SEC) won the doubles point with 6-4 marks on courts two and three, as court one was even at 5-all when play was abandoned. It was the sixth time the 18th-ranked Gators (9-5, 4-1) dropped the doubles point this season.
Georgia won the first singles match to finish, taking the straight-setter on court five, before Calhoun, Ga., native McCartney Kessler posted a 6-2, 6-3 win against Mariana Gould on court four.
The Bulldogs then won a tough first set on court two before taking it and a 3-1 lead in the team scoring before polishing off the dual match outcome with a straight-set decision on court six.
Men’s golf: At Statesboro, Ga., through 18 holes of play at the Schenkel Invitational, the Gators sit 11th on the leaderboard. Vanderbilt leads at 274 (-14).
Florida, which is the defending champion, had a tough first day, as only one player was able to finish in the top 20 of the leaderboard.
Freshman Won Jun Lee, who was inserted into the Florida lineup for the second time this season, recorded the Gators only sub-par round on day one. Lee shot 1-under par and is currently tied for 16th in the event. Lee pared the first 17 holes today before carding a birdie on the par five 18th for a first round 71.