Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida softball team capped the Aquafina Invitational in stellar fashion as right-handed pitcher Kelly Barnhill (7-0) hurled the first perfect game of her career in an 8-0 victory over Georgia Southern. It’s the eighth overall, seventh individual, perfect game in Florida history.
Delanie Gourley was the last to throw a perfect game against Iowa (Mar. 2, 2017) in the Judi Garman Classic.
In the first game of the day, Aleshia Ocasio (7-1) threw her second complete-game shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over Iowa State.
In a rematch of yesterday, the Gators (16-1) defeated the Cyclones (8-7) ,3-0, to start the final day of the Aquafina Invitational.
Florida opened the scoring once again in the first inning after Amanda Lorenz scored Hannah Adams with a double down the left field line to gain the lead 1-0.
The Gators struck for two more in the third via a Jordan Matthews RBI double to right center, both Kayli Kvistad and Nicole DeWitt scored to extend the lead out to 3-0.
Iowa State tallied six hits in the game and threatened to score in the fifth inning. The attempt was denied by center fielder Alex Voss as she threw out Kaylee Ramos at home to end the frame.
Aleshia Ocasio provided another solid outing in the circle for Florida as she tallied her second complete-game shutout of the season.
In the final game of the Aquafina Invitational, Florida took the lead in the first inning against Georgia Southern the same way it did against Iowa State.
Lorenz doubled down the left line to plate DeWitt with one out and the Gators continued to plate two more runs in the frame via an error by Eagles second baseman India Davis and bases loaded walk by Ocasio.
Another double provided by Lorenz in the following inning extended the Florida lead out to 4-0 over Georgia Southern.
Barnhill was electric to start the game as she struck out eight of the first nine batters faced in the game.
More run support arrived for Barnhill in the third via a Adams base hit and error by Macy Coleman at shortstop to score pinch-runner Jaimie Hoover.
Lorenz improved to 3-for-3 in the game with a three-run home run later in the inning to extend the Florida lead out to 8-0.
Barnhill ended the perfect outing with 11 strikeouts against the Eagles on just 56 pitches.
Next up for the Gators is the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The first game is set for March 1, against Loyola Marymount at 5:30 p.m. (ET).
On Kelly’s perfect game…
“She had good stuff today and yesterday. I thought she came in and established the ownership early. She was able to locate her rise ball on three levels and for that it makes it really hard to hit.”
On the momentum and bringing it to California …
I thought we had a really consistent game at the plate. Good at-bats, some clutch hits, well-executed swings. Overall, we had a little bit of everything this week. I was really pleased with how our performance was and how we competed at the plate all weekend.”
On going out to California…
Personally it’s where I’m from. We have friends who come out and see us. It’s a great recruiting market. It’s a great brand of softball that comes from all over the country to go out and play there. It’s a first class event. So I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there and having our team compete well.”
From the Players
On her pitching today…
“The rule is you never think about while you’re doing it. I just really try to live in the moment, go pitch-by-pitch, and that’s what we did today. The offense was amazing. They scored lots of runs, scored early and often. When we do that we play good softball.”
On her second no-hitter of the weekend…
“Scoring early and just having a defense behind me. WE have an amazing defense. They barely ever make errors. They’re one of the best fielding percentages in the country. It’s easier to go out and pitch when you know your fielders have your back.”
On catching Kelly’s perfect game…
“It’s pretty good. You just don’t want to think about it or say anything of it. I actually didn’t know anything of it until after postgame. I knew it was a no-hitter, but I wasn’t sure about the perfect game. She looked a lot better today, and she had her pitches going for her.”
On what was working for her and what were you doing for her…
“Her thing is not to think about it and she’s been thinking a lot about her pitches, but once she has a rise ball she’s good and going. She had that today on all different levels. She felt really comfortable and you could tell that on the mound.”
On the out at home plate…
As soon as it was hit to Alex Voss, I was like ‘all right, I have to get in front of the plate.’ We practice this all the time during practice from all different kinds of angles and speeds of the runners. So it was picture perfect by Alex Voss.”
· Pepsi will plant trees for every Florida run scored during the Aquafina Invitational.
o So far the Gators have scored 48 runs during the tournament.
· Kelly Barnhill threw her the first perfect game of her career against Georgia Southern in the final game of the Aquafina Invitational.
o Barnhill threw her fourth career no-hitter and second of the season against Iowa State yesterday.
o She threw her first no-hitter of the season against North Florida (Feb. 14).
· It’s the first perfect game thrown at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium since Hannah Rogers, Lauren Haeger and Alyssa Bache achieved the feat against Presbyterian (Mar. 3, 2013).
o It’s the first individual perfect game thrown at KSP Stadium since Stephanie Brombacher did so against USF (Mar. 25, 2010).
o It’s the first perfect game since Delanie Gourley’s against Iowa (Mar. 2, 2017) at the Judi Garman Classic.
· Amanda Lorenz went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and accounted for five RBI against Georgia Southern today.