GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2-ranked Florida scored two runs in its last at bat Saturday to rally past UAB, 4-3, in the first game of the NCAA Softball Super Regional at Pressly Stadium.
Katie Medina's single scored Kelsey Horton with the winning run as the Gators (56-7) survived the hard-fought contest. Florida scored its two runs in the final inning on only one hit but was aided by two walks and a pair of base runners who reached first after being hit by a pitch.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday in Game 2 at 12:04 p.m. ET. The contest will be televised on ESPN. UAB will need to win the first game Sunday to force deciding third game of the series which would follow immediately after.
The Blazers (40-18), who reached the Super Regionals by winning the Louisville Regional last weekend with wins over UCLA (twice) and host Louisville, looked like they could be on their way to taking the first game of the series with the Gators when they led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
UAB had taken a one-run lead in its half of the seventh frame on a Kristin McGrath single that scored senior Whitney Fletcher.
Leigh Streetman took the loss for UAB after replacing starter Lannah Campbell in the sixth inning and is now 13-8. Campbell went five innings, allowing two earned runs and six hits. She struck out eight Gators while walking three. Streetman yielded a pair of earned runs on one hit with three walks and three strikeouts.
Hannah Rogers went the distance for Florida and yielded a pair of earned runs on six hits. She had four strikeouts and allowed four bases on balls as she improved her record on the season to 32-5.
"That's not what we came here for," UAB head coach Marla Townsend said. "We did not come here for some moral victory; we came here to win a ballgame. I felt like we played our hearts out and Florida won the freebie war.
"There's lots of film to be watched and then we'll get right back at it. We probably chose the hard way, but now our deal is to come out here and play two games tomorrow."
UAB opened the scoring Saturday in the top of the second, as senior catcher Anna Kimbrell reached on a leadoff hit-by-pitch, her 27th of the year. Freshman Kelly Britt entered to pinch run and scored on an error by the Florida first baseman Taylor Schwarz on a Megan McGrath grounder.
Florida tied the game at 1-1 in the third with an RBI single up the middle by Stephanie Tofft, before the Blazers regained the lead in the fifth on an RBI single to right by Fletcher.
Florida evened the game at two runs apiece in the bottom of the fifth when Horton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Kirsti Merritt.
Florida finished with four runs on six hits with one error while UAB had four runs, six hits and no errors. Both teams left plenty of runners on base Saturday -- the Gators with 13 and the Blazers with nine.S