Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The fifth-ranked Florida softball rallied in the fifth to defeat No. 14 LSU, 5-3, and clinch the series Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. UF has now won five consecutive Southeastern Conference series.
Amanda Lorenz provided the heroics in the comeback effort with a three-run triple to tie the game in the fifth and finished going 2-for-3 at the plate. Starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill (24-1) tallied 14 strikeouts for her 15th game of 10 or more strikeouts.
The Gators (44-8, 17-4 SEC) rallied after the team fell behind 3-0 in the top of the fifth thanks to Lorenz’s clutch bases-clearing triple to tie the game 3-3. The Tigers ( 37-13, 10-10 SEC) went to the bullpen after starting pitcher Shelbi Sunseri relinquished a leadoff single to Jordan Roberts and followed up with a four-pitch walk to Sophia Reynoso.
LSU brought in Maribeth Gorsuch to try and quell the Florida comeback, but a one-out walk to Hannah Adams set the table for Lorenz’s game-tying triple. Nicole DeWitt provided the knockout blow after she followed up with an RBI single to right field that scored Lorenz from third.
At the top of the frame, the Tigers broke the scoreless tie in with a pair of home runs and took a 3-0 lead over the Gators. Shemiah Sanchez put LSU ahead 1-0 with a solo home run and Michaela Schlattman followed up with a two-run homer after Shelbi Sunseri reached with a single to center field.
Florida punctuated the scoring in the sixth with a run that extended the lead out to 5-3. UF manufactured the run after Roberts reached with a leadoff walk and was pinch-ran for by Katie Chronister. Chronister advanced to second with her first stolen base of the season and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sophia Reynoso.
Alex Voss drove in Chronister with a SAC fly to deep center field to cap the scoring for the game.
Next up for the Gators is a trip to Missouri to close out the regular season against the Tigers. The series is slated to start Friday, May 4, at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT.
On taking the series against LSU…
“When you play LSU, it’s like this every time. They are a tough team and have been in a lot of tight games this season, so give them credit. It was a great team win today and this week overall, with it being senior week. I talked about trying to find a way to win this week for our seniors and we found a way to win the week.”
On Amanda Lorenz…
“You can’t put into words what she has done, especially with her back against the wall. She has been impressive. I’m really proud of her and the way she has not only handled the successes of her career thus far, but also the speed bumps along the way.”
From the Players
On her hit after Amanda’s triple…
“I knew I had to be calm at the plate and do what I had to do. I’ve been struggling at the plate a little in the past two games, so I just wanted to focus on doing the little things right.”
“We have to stick with our energy and we will be okay. We haven’t been able to bounce back much this season when we’ve been down, so it was a nice feeling to come back today.”
On her hit to put them up…
“I was trying to hit something and continue to pass the bat along. We were doing a great job in the inning and I just wanted to keep it going. The crowd engagement today was a huge asset, the atmosphere they gave to us was incredible and it pushed us to play better.”
On emotions of this weekend…
“It’s nice to face a team like LSU so close to postseason because they know how to win when it counts. It was a good test for us – we got better this weekend. We found a way to win and punch back. We ended senior week on a high note.”
· The Gators closed down the all-time series lead to 30-33 and 13-13 when playing at home.
o The team is now 11-3 on the season when playing on network television.
o UF improved to 22-6 against competition ranked inside the Top 25 of both major polls.
· Florida scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead.
o It’s the 29th time in 52 games that the team has scored four or more runs in an inning.
· UF picked up 14 strikeouts in the game and now has 20 games with 10 or more strikeouts.
o The team is 20-0 on the season when posting 10 or more strikeouts.
· Today was the fifth come from behind victory of the season for the Gators.
o Florida trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth and scored four runs.
· Amanda Lorenz finished the week batting .636 going 7-of-11 with a double, a triple, four RBI and a pair of runs scored.
· Kelly Barnhill tallied 14 strikeouts in the effort for her 15th game of 10 or more strikeouts.
o Barnhill struck out the side twice today and has now struck out the side 30 times this season.