Florida Gators Drop Double-Header with Tennessee Volunteers

Two top-five clubs squared off in Knoxville for a double-header, with number two Tennessee hosting number four Florida.

The Gators led the opening game 6-4 when the game was paused following the fifth inning. SEC rules called for the game to be suspended in order to have an hour break before the televised game at 1:00. Under SEC travel rules, the first game could be completed after the second game, but would be called at 5:30 to allow for Florida to keep their travel obligations back to Gainesville.

Kirsti Merritt stole the headlines early with two home runs, her fifth and sixth of the season, and third of the series. Her first blast gave Florida a 2-0 lead in the first, and her second cut the deficit to 4-3 in the third.

The Gators continued their productivity in the third by loading the bases before Taylor Schwarz drew an RBI game-tying walk, then Kelsey Stewart knocked a two-run RBI single for the 6-4 advantage.

Kelsey Stewart kept things going in the second game as well, which UF lost 5-2. Stewart opened the game with a single but eventually was tagged out at home; she came back to the plate in the second with the bases once again loaded, and cranked a two-run double to center field to give Florida a 2-0 lead. The hit was the seventh double of the year for the All American.

Tennessee cut the lead in half in the fourth inning with a leadoff home run, then tied it up with a single to left field. Before the inning ended the Vols seized a 3-2 lead.

UT built on their lead in the sixth by adding two runs, due in part to some sloppy defense from Florida. There were no errors committed, but several mishandled balls hurt the Gators.

The Gators fell to 31-7, 5-7 SEC.

When the first game resumed Tennessee hit a solo home run in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-5, then a bases loaded hit by pitch and a sac fly gave the Vols a 7-6 advantage, which would prove to be the final score.

The Gators will host in-state rival Florida State at 6:00 on Wednesday before Auburn comes to Gainesville for the weekend series.

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Tags: Florida Gators Softball

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