Florida errors allow Alabama to avoid softball series sweep

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No. 3 Alabama took advantage of three Florida errors to score three unearned runs in salvaging the SEC softball series Sunday with a 4-2 win.

The No. 5 Gators, who committed three errors in a game for the first time this season, dropped to 32-6 overall, 12-3 in the SEC. Alabama improved to 33-7 and 12-6 behind the pitching of Montana Fouts (14-3), who struck out 10 UF batters, including the final four she faced and gave up only four hits.

Alabama, which trailed early in the first two games of the weekend, scored first with a run in the first inning. After two singles, Bama scored on a Kaylee Tow run-scoring groundout.

Florida, which has now clinched all five of its SEC series this season after 2-0 and 9-2 wins earlier in the weekend, took the lead with two runs in the third inning. Baylee Goodard walked, then, following two strikeouts, Charla Echols singled and Kendyl Lindaman walked to load the bases for Julie Cottrill, who drilled a two-run single.

The Gators' first error of the series proved costly in the third when the Tide scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. Bama scored without the benefit of a hit when two walks, two fielder's choices, a throwing error and a groundout were productive.

More errors on Florida allowed Alabama to score another run in the fourth inning for a 4-2 lead on a single, error, sacrifice bunt and a fielding error at second.

Pitcher Elizabeth Hightower (15-3) left after giving up a double in the fifth inning and having allowed four hits, but only one earned run of Alabama's four. Katie Chronister came in and kept the Tide hitless the rest of the way.

Next up for the Gators is a visit to Fort Myers for a 5 p.m. game Wednesday against Florida Gulf Coast University before a weekend home series against South Carolina.