Florida Gators softball rebounds with a 3-1 win over UCF

Report on the Florida Gators softball team:

ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 2-ranked Florida softball team (35-3) defeated UCF (24-14), 3-1, on Wednesday night at the UCF Softball Complex. Freshman Kelly Barnhill(13-0) allowed just one run on three hits with seven strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched.
Junior Delanie Gourley relieved the rookie in the sixth and tossed two scoreless innings to earn her third save of the season.
Florida bookended its scoring in Wednesday’s midweek matchup as the Gators scored a pair of runs in the first inning and its final run in the seventh.
In the first, UF scored its two runs on only one hit as junior Chelsea Herndon and senior Taylore Fuller drove in those tallies on a fielder’s choice and a walk with the bases loaded. In the seventh, Florida loaded the bases with no one out but only pushed one run across when Nicole DeWitt earned an RBI walk.
UCF threatened in the fourth when Barnhill walked the leadoff hitter, Brittany Solis, and UCF’s Courtney Rotton followed with a single down the right field line to place runners on first and third with on no one out.
Barnhill was unfazed.
The rookie struck out the first hitter she faced after the single and then induced a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the inning without any damage.
One inning later the Knights didn’t miss their chance.
UCF’s Samantha McCloskey’s led off the fifth by getting hit by a pitch and she moved to second on a fly out. Jasmine Acevedo then drove her teammate in with a single to right to cut the deficit to in half, 2-1.
After UCF earned a walk and single to begin the sixth, UF head coach Tim Waltonmade a pitching change and brought in left-hander Delanie Gourley.
The junior got out of the jam in the sixth without any damage and tossed a perfect seventh inning to record her third save of the season.
Team Notes

  • Florida is now 35-3, which is tied for the second best start to a season in school history with its 2013 and 2009 squads.
    • UF began the 2008 season with 36-2 mark.
  • Florida is unbeaten in 26 non-conference games this season and has won 117 of 119 non-league games dating to the start of 2013.
  • The Orange and Blue are 28-1 against in-state opponents since the start of 2014.
  • Florida’s senior class is now 208-31, which currently ranks eighth among four-year class records in program history.
  • Tim Walton is now just 13 wins away from his 600th win at Florida.
  • UF enters this week not ranked No. 1 in either Top 25 poll for the first time since April 7, 2015.

Stat Watch

  • UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 227-38.
    • In 2015, UF had a plus-196 run differential (269-73) through 38 games.
    • In 2014, UF had a plus-172 run differential (258-86) through 38 games.
  • Florida’s 38 runs allowed through 38 games is the second fewest in school history through this point in any season.
    • UF’s 2009 squad allowed 32 tallies through 38 contests and Florida’s last two NCAA Championship teams had allowed 70 runs each, respectively.
  • The Gators have made just 17 errors this season and currently sport one of the best fielding percentages (.983) and earned run averages in the nation (0.86). For comparison, Florida had committed 27 errors through 38 contests last season and had a fielding percentage of .972. UF went on to record a .981 fielding percentage and commit just 33 errors, which were both school records.
  • UF did not allow a stolen base on Wednesday, remaining the only team in the SEC who has yet to allow more than three stolen bases in 2016.
    • In addition, three stolen bases is the fewest Florida has allowed in school history through 38 games.
  • Florida recorded its 19th double play of the season in the fourth inning.
    • UF had turned just 10 double plays through 38 contests a season ago. In addition, that is the most double plays that the Gators have through this point in the season since 2010.
    • The DP has Taylor Schwarz involved, extending her UF record to 62 double play’s turned in her career.

Pitching Notes

  • Florida’s pitching trio has now combined to allow just 38 runs, while they have totaled 322 strikeouts. Both of those numbers lead the SEC.
    • Ocasio (0.42) and Gourley (0.84) entered this week with the No. 1 and No. 4 ERAs in the country and Barnhill is fourth in strikeouts per game (10.7).
  • Gourley’s astounding 0.84 ERA (83.1 IP) would go down as the fifth-best ERA for a single season in Florida history if the season ended today.
    • 4th – Stephanie Brombacher (0.84)
    • 3rd – Jenny Gladding (0.78)
    • 2nd – Stacey Nelson (0.75)
    • 1st – Stacey Nelson (0.61)
  • Kelly Barnhill, who currently holds a miniscule 1.36 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 .139 (77.0 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-8th (13)
    • Strikeouts – 8th (119)

Hitting Notes

  • Hitting Streak:
  • Kirsti Merritt scored the game’s second run and reached base via a hit by pitch. The hit by pitch was the 68th of her career, which is the new SEC record as Merritt passed Auburn’s Myesha Finney (67). In addition, Merritt extended her new SEC record to 69 in the fourth inning when she was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.
  • Merritt also mashed her third double of the season in the seventh inning of tonight’s game.
  • Amanda Lorenz and Kayli Kvistad are challenging for the top on-base percentage in school history, as they each have recorded an OBP of .536 and .524 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 .411, 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:
    • Doubles – T-7th (10)
    • Walks – 9th (30)

Coaches’ Corner
Head Coach Tim Walton:
On tonight’s game…
“I thought Kelly (Barnhill) and Delanie (Gourley) did a really nice job tonight. However, the play Nicole DeWitt made in the fourth inning for us to turn that double play was the difference in the game. Offensively I thought our at bats are good, but we just didn’t get a hit when we had runners in good situations.”
Series History

  • Florida now holds an 18-4 all-time record against UCF as these two schools have played at least once every season since 2008. In addition, UF now has a 6-2 mark against UCF in Orlando.


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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.