The No. 2 Tennessee softball team faltered in the first game of a doubleheader against No. 4 Florida Sunday morning.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., but was postponed due to rain.
Tennessee defeated Florida 9-2 Friday night in the first of a three-game series.
The second game of the series was suspended after five innings with the Gators leading 6-4 in order to leave enough time for the third game at 1 p.m.
Despite the early start time and the cold weather, both teams started hot at the plate.
Florida sophomore Kirsti Merritt hammered a two run home run off sophomore pitcher Erin Gabriel in the first inning to give the Gators an early 2-0 lead.
The Lady Vols answered with a home run of their own in the bottom of the inning by senior Melissa Davin to close the gap to 2-1.
Florida pitcher Delanie Gourley continued to struggle by giving up two runs off of bases loaded walks which allowed Tennessee to take the lead 3-2 after the first inning. Her struggles did not end in the first inning, however.
Davin scored her second run of the game from third base on a wild pitch by Gourley giving the Lady Vols a 4-2 advantage after two innings.
In the third inning, Merrit again took Gabriel deep causing the Tennessee coaching staff to pull her after just over two innings of work.
This was the first start for Gabriel against a team ranked as highly as Florida after she sat out much of her freshmen year with an injury.
Junior Cheyanne Tarango, who had been playing at first base, was not any more effective for Tennessee.
Tarango surrendered a bases loaded walk after coming in, tying the game at four runs.
Florida senior Kelsey Stewart broke the deadlock with a two RBI single down the right side making the score 6-4 after the third inning.
Gabriel came back in to start the fourth inning for Tennessee.
Gabriel received some help in the fourth inning after coming back in from senior shortstop Madison Shipman who made two outstanding plays to keep the deficit at 2 for Tennessee.
Shipman picked up a ground ball at second base for the force out and a throw in time to first for the double play. The next batter again hit to short and was unable to beat the throw from Shipman.
The Lady Vols failed to capitalize in the fourth inning after freshman Megan Geer's leadoff triple keeping the score at 6-4 for Florida.
The game was suspended after a scoreless fifth inning to be resumed at the conclusion of the following game.