Barnhill powers Florida Gators softball to NCAA semifinals

Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Behind a balanced offensive attack, some stellar defense and a dominant performance from Kelly Barnhill, the University of Florida softball team blanked LSU, 7-0, to reach the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series on Friday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

After defeating Texas A&M on Thursday, 8-0, Florida (57-8) exploded for seven runs on nine hits on Friday. UF’s 15 runs are the most its scored to open the WCWS since 2014.

In addition, the Gators recorded their 40th shutout of the season on Friday, which is a new program record (2009: 39 shutouts).

The first three innings on Friday were tight, as each team had runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize.

The Gators broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when senior Chelsea Herndon delivered a two-run double down the right-field line. Prior to that, she was 0-for-12 in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Aleshia Ocasio and Jordan Roberts set the table for Herndon with a walk and a hit by pitch, respectively.

In the sixth, Florida extended its lead to 3-0 when Janell Wheaton hit her first career postseason home run with a solo shot to left. The Gators tacked on four more runs in the seventh, which was highlighted by a Kayli Kvistad two-run home run to right-center field.

In the circle, the National Player of Year lived up to that title as Barnhill (26-3) tossed seven scoreless innings in the circle and allowed just two hits, while striking out eight.

NOTABLES

  • Florida is now 24-12 all-time at the WCWS.
  • During Tim Walton‘s tenure as head coach, UF is 74-25 in NCAA play and 20-11 at the WCWS.
  • Amanda Lorenz went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Tigers, which ran her NCAA Tournament numbers to 14-for-24 (.588) and 22 total bases in 25 at-bats.

UP NEXT
Florida will face the winner of Saturday night’s first elimination game in the semifinals at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.  Check FloridaGators.com for broadcast information and more details.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.