Florida Gators softball sweeps away Arkansas

Report on the Florida Gators softball team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team (52-4/20-4 SEC) swept its series against Arkansas (17-39/1-23 SEC) with a five-inning, 8-0, victory on Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators exploded for four runs in the top of the first inning and freshman Kelly Barnhill (15-0) recorded Florida’s fourth no hitter of the season and the first of her career on Sunday as she struck out 10 batters and walked just one Razorback. 
The Marietta, Ga. native walked the first hitter of the game before she retired the next 15 Razorback hitters to record
Florida’s fourth this season and the first of her career.
Four no hitter’s is the most UF has thrown in a single season in program history. In addition, Barnhill joins Lindsay Littlejohn (Feb. 19, 2006, Longwood) and Delanie Gourley (May 16, 2014, Florida A&M) as the only freshmen in program history to throw a no hitter.
UF’s rookie right-hander and Gator Great Stacey Nelson are the only two Gators to throw no hitters against the Razorbacks. Nelson no hit UA on April 26, 2009.
UF scored its four runs in the first on two hits and one Arkansas error.
Senior Kelsey Stewart and rookie Amanda Lorenz ignited the Florida offense during the stanza with a leadoff walk and single. After Stewart came around to score on an Arkansas miscue, Kirsti Merritt recorded an RBI single up the middle to score Lorenz.
The Gators tallied their other two runs on a wild pitch and a Taylore Fuller sacrifice fly.
After Florida extended its lead to 5-0 on an RBI single in the second, the Gators completed their run-rule victory with three tallies in the bottom of the fifth inning.
During the fifth frame, Lorenz notched a two-run single before sophomore Aleshia Ocasio hit a walk-off RBI single up the middle.
With the Gators three-game sweep of Arkansas this weekend, Florida extended its win streak over Arkansas to 23 games. In addition, UF shutout UA in all three games running its total to 27 shutouts this season. In addition, Sunday’s win marked the seventh time Florida has recorded 20 wins in SEC play. Meanwhile, UF’s four losses in league play is tied with the Gators 2010 squad for the third fewest losses in conference play in school history.
Team Notes

  • With today’s win, Florida is now 52-4 and still holds the highest win percentage (.929) in the country.
    • Florida’s now won at least 50 games in four-straight seasons and 2016 is the eighth time in school history that UF has accomplished this feat.
  • Florida clinched its first SEC Championship during a home series for the first time since 1998.
    • The Gators finished 20-4 in league play this season.
      • Four losses is tied with the Gators 2010 squad for the third fewest losses in conference play in school history.
      • On the flipside, Florida won 20 SEC games for the seventh time in school history.
  • Florida’s senior class is now 225-31, which currently ranks tied for third among four-year class records in program history.
  • Sunday’s game was broadcast on SEC Network+. Florida is now 28-3 in contests that are streamed online.
  • Florida is now 31-0 this season against unranked opponents this season.

Stat Watch

  • UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 350-60.
    • In 2015, UF had a plus-282 run differential (396-114) through 56 games.
    • In 2014, UF had a plus-257 run differential (382-125) through 56 games.
  • Florida’s 60 runs allowed through 56 games is the second fewest in school history through this point in any season.
    • UF’s 2009 squad allowed 41 tallies through 56 contests and Florida’s last two NCAA Championship teams had allowed more than 110 runs each, respectively.
  • The Gators have made just 25 errors this season and currently sport one of the best fielding percentages (.983) and earned run averages in the nation (0.89). For comparison, Florida had committed 28 errors through 56 contests last season and had a fielding percentage of .981.UF went on to record a .981 fielding percentage and commit just 33 errors, which are both school records.
  • Florida’s astounding 0.89 team ERA (367.2 IP) would go down as the third-best ERA for a single season in program history if the season ended today.
  • Top ERA Season’s in UF History:
    • 2008 – 0.92 ERA (512.0 IP)
    • 2009 – 0.69 ERA (444.0 IP)
  • Florida’s miniscule .156 batting average against (367.2 IP) would go down as the best b/avg. for a single season in program history if the season ended today.
  • Top B/Avg. Season’s in UF History:
    • 2008 – 0.176 b/avg. (512.0 IP)
    • 2009 – 0.161 b/avg. (444.0 IP)
  • UF did not allow a stolen base on Sunday, remaining the only team in the SEC who has yet to allow more than four stolen bases in 2016.
    • In addition, four stolen bases is the fewest Florida has allowed in school history through 56 games.
    • Florida’s opponents have only attempted to steal 10 bases against Aubree Munro and Florida’s catchers this season. That mark would shatter Florida’s school record of 25 attempts that was set in 2015.
      • In addition, UF’s stolen-base-against percentage of 40% (4-10) this season would be the lowest in school history if the season ended today. Florida’s 2003 team currently holds that mark as they allowed just 51.7% (31-60) of runners to steal a base safely.

Pitching Notes

  • Aleshia Ocasio (19-1), Kelly Barnhill (15-0) and Delanie Gourley (18-3) are the first trio in school history to all record at least 15 wins in a season.
    • Ocasio and Gourley are trying to become the fifth set of teammates to each record 20 wins in a single season.
      • 2011 – Hannah Rogers (36-8), Stephanie Brombacher (20-3)
      • 2009 – Stacey Nelson (41-5), Stephanie Brombacher (22-0)
      • 2008 – Stacey Nelson (47-5), Stephanie Brombacher (20-0)
      • 2000 – Renise Landry (21-11), Beth Dieter (20-16)
    • Barnhill has the opportunity to join Stephanie Brombacher (2008: 20-0, 2009: 22-0) as only two pitchers to record at least 10 wins in a season and not have a loss.
  • Gourley (202), Barnhill (157) and Ocasio (127) are the second trio in school history to all record 100+ strikeouts in a season. They are trying to become the first trio in school history to all record 125+ strikeouts in a season.
    • UF is the only school in the nation with 3 different pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts this season!
  • Gourley and Barnhill are the fifth set of teammates to each record 150+ strikeouts in a single season.
    • 2015 – Lauren Haeger (214), Aleshia Ocasio (155)
    • 2009 – Stacey Nelson (357), Stephanie Brombacher (190)
    • 2004 – Jenny Gladding (217), Stacey Stevens (162)
    • 2000 – Renise Landry (200), Beth Dieter (158)
  • Florida’s trio of pitchers are looking to become the second group to all throw at least 100 innings in a single season.
    • UF’s 2002 group of Amanda Moore (174.2 IP), Amanda Knowles (113.2) and Mandy Schuerman (105.0 IP) last achieved this feat.
    • Innings pitched totals = Delanie Gourley – 138.2, Aleshia Ocasio – 128.0, ,Kelly Barnhill – 101.0
      • Ocasio (136.0, 2015) and Gourley (107.2, 2014) have each achieved this feat once before in their careers.
  • Florida’s pitching trio has combined to allow just 60 runs, while they have totaled 486 strikeouts. Both of those numbers lead the SEC.
    • Only two teams in Florida history have ever allowed less than 100 runs in a single season. UF’s 2009 squad allowed just 67 runs and its 2008 team allowed 94 tallies.
    • Florida’s 486 strikeouts currently ranks third all-time in program history for strikeouts in a single season.
  • Ocasio (0.71) and Gourley (0.76) have the No. 3 and No. 4 ERAs in the country and Barnhill is 11th with a 1.32 earned run average.
    • Historically, UF is trying to join its own 2009 squad and South Carolina’s 1997 team as the only SEC teams to ever finish a season with two pitchers in the top-five nationally in ERA. In addition, UF has a chance to join FSU’s 1993 squad as the only teams to finish a season with three pitchers in the top 10.
  • Kelly Barnhill, who currently holds a miniscule 1.32 ERA, is challenging Stephanie Brombacher’s freshman record 1.40 ERA that she achieved in 2008.
    • Barnhill’s opponent’s batting average against her is an astounding .133 (101.0 IP) would go down as the best b/avg. in Florida history if the season ended today.
      • Jenny Gladding currently holds the top single season opponent batting average against in program history, as she recorded a .146 b/avg. in 2004.
  • Other freshman ranks that Barnhill is climbing into:
    • Wins – T-4th (15)
    • Strikeouts – 3rd (157)

Hitting Notes

  • Hitting Streaks:
  • Kayli Kvistad and Amanda Lorenz are challenging for the top on-base percentage in school history, as they each have recorded an OBP of .524 and .526 thus far this season.
    • Bailey Castro set the program record a season ago when she reached base at a .536 clip.
  • Amanda Lorenz, who’s currently hitting .401, is on pace to record the highest batting average for a freshman in school history. In addition, she could become the first rookie in program history to have an on-base percentage over .500.
    • Kelsey Stewart holds the batting title as she hit .378 during her freshman season in 2013.
  • Other freshman ranks that Lorenz is climbing into:
    • Runs Scored – 4th (53)
    • Hits – 5th (65)
    • Doubles – 3rd (13)
    • Walks – T-1st (43)

Head Coach Tim Walton:
On Kelly Barnhill… 
“It looked like she had a ton of fun. For that, I rewarded her with an at bat as well. She was having a great time out there today. I’m proud of her; she’s a competitor and she wants the ball. But to understand what it’s like to be a freshman pitching is hard. And I don’t ever want to tell her that it’s easy, but she made it look a lot easier today than she has.”
On today’s start vs. her first-career start against No. 2 Michigan…
“I thought the Michigan start and this start were very similar. She had a good rise ball going, she threw some drop balls in today. I say it this way, if you’re 0-1 againstKelly Barnhill, it’s going to be a tough road for you. Today she had hitters 0-1 a lot. That was the reason for success.”
On what this weekend means going forward…
“It’s so funny, I took a picture of all my championship rings last night and it just really started to soak in. Each ring, I look and I see the faces, some smiles, a couple tears, some losses in those rings. To be able to go 52-4 in the regular season, I see all those seniors and their smiling faces, the Kelly Barnhill‘s and Amanda Lorenz‘s that bought into what we were selling a few years ago. It’s a very special feeling to have our team just playing well and being very consistent.”
Freshman pitcher Kelly Barnhill:
On how it felt to throw so well today and close the game out strong…
“It was really nice. I’ve been struggling the last couple of games, and, to come out like this, it’s a relief that all the hard work I’ve been putting in with (Jennifer) Rocha and the catchers in the bullpen has been paying off.”
On how she was able to settle down after the first walk…
“I felt like my pitches were moving well. Sometimes they don’t want to swing at them. (I’ve) just got to know that, even if I throw a good pitch, sometimes they won’t swing. (I’ve) just got to keep on doing my own thing.”
Series History

  • Florida leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 44-10; that includes a 24-5 advantage in Gainesville.
  • UF has defeated UA 24 straight times, which is Florida’s second-longest winning streak over an SEC team in school history. UF’s top streak is 28 when UF beat South Carolina from April 13, 2003 through May 4, 2013.

Next Up
Florida will open play at the SEC Tournament in Starkville, Miss., on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET against the winner of Wednesday’s Ole Miss-Georgia game. The SEC Network will televise the contest. Florida Sports Talk will have the radio broadcast with Adam Schick (play-by-play) and former Gator Kelsey Horton (analysis) on the call. In addition, a live stats link will be available on the schedule page on FloridaGators.com.

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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.