Barnhill’s no-hitter pushes Florida Gators to run rule victory over USF

Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida softball team downed USF 9-0 in five innings behind a no-hitter from junior pitcher Kelly Barnhill (12-1) and a walk-off home run from senior Nicole DeWitt. Barnhill hurled another complete-game no-hitter after she struck out 12 and issued only a pair of walks.

Florida (24-3) scored for the 19th time this season in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead over USF (22-13). The inning started with Amanda Lorenz’s leadoff walk and was driven home on Kayli Kvistad’s first career triple. Jordan Matthews plated Kvistad with a groundout to the right side of the Bulls infield.

The Gators offense struck again in the second to extend the lead out to 3-0 over the Bulls. Sophia Reynoso led off the inning with a full-count walk and was advanced into scoring position on a groundout by Lorenz. Nicole DeWitt reached after she was hit by a pitch from USF hurler Hannah Parker (5-3).

Kvistad improved to 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI single that scored Reynoso.

Hannah Adams and Sophia Reynoso reached to start the fourth. Adams put down a bunt single and Reynoso reached via a hit by pitch to set the table for Alex Voss’ SAC bunt that moved the two into scoring position.

Amanda Lorenz tallied her ninth multi-RBI game of the year with one swing of the bat. Lorenz drove an 0-2 past the outstretched arms of Lauren Evans down the line at first base to score the pair and push the Florida lead out to 5-0.

The Gators offense continued to push forward in fourth and loaded the bases with one out. Jordan Roberts drove in Lorenz from third on a ground ball hit to Cassidy Boyle at short. Boyle flipped to Lindsey Devitt at second and attempted to turn the double play but the duo didn’t connect cleanly to end the frame allowing Florida to extend the lead out to 6-0.

Florida put the game away in the bottom of the fifth when DeWitt ended the game with a three-run home run to center field off relief pitcher JoJo McGill. Pinch hitter Jaimie Hoover started the rally after she reached with a two out walk and Lorenz blistered a single off of McGill’s shins to put runners on first and second.

The Gators return to Southeastern Conference action this weekend for a three game series against Texas A&M at KSP Stadium. The series is slated to start Saturday, March 24 at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Walton’s Words

On the top of the lineup producing tonight…

“The top of the lineup had “A” swings tonight, we drove the ball but we were patient too. We had six walks tonight and I thought we did a good job of being patient at the plate, but we were still able to get off our “A” swings and stay on time.”

On Kelly Barnhill getting into a rhythm…

“She threw the ball with confidence and we got some runs for her early; that’s the key to success. Get runs for her early, let her settle in and let that rise ball do its work.”

From the Players

Kelly Barnhill

On being able to rise to this level consistently…

”I just think it’s the work that we put in the bullpen. Rocha’s pitch calling of course is always a big contributing factor and having such solid catchers behind the plate makes it a lot easier.”

Nicole DeWitt

On the home run that ended the game…

“I wasn’t going up there trying to do anything too big, just trying to get a hit to keep the rally going.”

Notable Notes

· Florida extended the all-time series lead over USF to 47-13 and 23-9 at home.

o The Gators are also 20-1 in nonconference play this season.

· Florida scored two runs in the first inning, which makes it the 19th time this season has scored in the first inning.
o The Gators hold an 18-1 record when scoring first in games this season.
· Kelly Barnhill recorded 12 strikeouts in this evening’s game against USF.

o It’s the sixth time this season she has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game.

o This is also the ninth time this season that the Gators have registered 10 or more strikeouts in a game.

· Barnhill also recorded her fourth complete-game no-hitter to go along with her perfect game and a combined no-hitter this season.

· Nicole DeWitt hit her sixth home run of the season this evening. The three-run home run ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.

o This was DeWitt’s seventh multi-RBI game of the year.

· Amanda Lorenz went 2-for-3 at the plate tonight with a pair of RBI and extended her reached base safely streak to all 27 games played this season.

o Last year Lorenz reached safely in all but two games for the Gators.

o It’s her 10th multi-hit game and ninth multi-RBI game of the season.

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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.