Florida Gators softball preview for Kentucky Wildcats series

The No. 2 ranked Florida Gators softball team had the week off for spring break as they had the chance to recharge the batteries before SEC play starts this weekend.

The Gators take their 19-1 record into the start of conference play with the Gators lone loss coming on a walk-off home run in February to number 20 Louisiana Lafayette.

This weekend the Gators will take on the 23rd ranked Kentucky Wildcats who enter with a 14-3 record on the year.

Entering this weekend the SEC has 10 teams ranked in the top 25 out of the 13 teams that compete in softball.

How the teams have fared in conference play:

Both teams open SEC conference play this weekend as most of the league will start this weekend with the rest of the teams starting conference play next weekend.

In the batter’s box:

Junior Amanda Lorenz continues to lead the Gators at the plate with her .460 batting average this year. Lorenz has three home runs and a team leading 25 RBI’s on the year.

Senior Nicole DeWitt leads the Gators with her five home runs on the year and has driven in 18 runs this year. DeWitt is hitting .365 and scored 23 runs on the year.

Freshman Jordan Matthews has a solid first year in the Orange and Blue with her .327 batting average. Matthews has also hit three home runs and driven in 18 runs on the year.

In the circle:

The Gators four man pitching staff supports a 0.57 ERA on the year including the nation’s third best ERA.

Junior Kelly Barnhill is third in the nation with her 0.25 ERA that has led her to a perfect 9-0 record. Barnhill has struck out 95 batters in 56.2 innings pitched.

Senior Aleshia Ocasio supports a 0.80 ERA on the year and is 8-1 on the year. Ocasio also has a save in her 44 innings pitched this year. The senior has struck out 51 batters this year and only walked three hitters.

Arkansas scouting report

Kentucky has been led this year by good hitting and a .351 batting average on the year. The Wildcats have four hitters hitting over .400 on the year.

Bailey Vick leads Kentucky with a .462 average but she has just one extra base hit and has only driven in four runs.

Jenny Schaper leads Kentucky with three home runs on the year and 17 RBI’s and is also hitting .415 on the year.

In the circle Kentucky mainly use a three man rotation and are led by Grace Baalman who is 7-1 on the year with four complete games. Baalman has struck out 40 hitters in 44.1 innings pitched.

Erin Rethlake and Autumn Humes have both started five games this year with Humes going 4-0 and Rethlake going 4-2 on the year.

Player to watch:

For Florida: The Gators will need both Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio to be on their A games this weekend with a good hitting Kentucky team coming to town. Barnhill has been dominate of late with two no-hitters and a perfect game under her belt already this year.

Here’s the schedule for this weekend’s game.

  • #2 Florida vs. #23 Kentucky on Friday at 6:00 P.M. on ESPN3
  • #2 Florida vs. #23 Kentucky on Saturday at 6:00 P.M on SEC Network
  • #2 Florida vs. #23 Kentucky on Sunday at 12:00 P.M on SEC Network
Previous articleTalking SEC opening weekend for softball and spring football: Podcast
Next articleDean looking forward to visiting the Florida Gators this spring
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.