Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sophomore pitcher Kelly Barnhill (18-0) fueled the Florida softball team to its sixth-straight conference series win with her second career no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over No. 21 Kentucky at John Cropp Field. Barnhill struck out 15 Wildcats for the second time this series and issued one walk to Sarah Rainwater in the sixth.
This is first individual no-hitter of the season and second overall as Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio combined for one against South Carolina March 19. Gourley also threw a perfect game against Iowa March 2, at the Judi Garman Classic.
For the 35th time this season, the Gators (40-3, 15-2 SEC) scored first in the contest thanks to a string of two-out hits from Kayli Kvistad, Janell Wheaton and Aleshia Ocasio. With Kentucky (26-13, 6-9 SEC) center fielder Sarah Rainwater shifted to right center, Kvistad stroked a double to the open gap in left center field for her eighth double of the season.
Wheaton came through with an RBI single, her seventh hit in six games, down the left field line to score Kvistad. Ocasio wrapped up the inning with a single up the middle of the Wildcats infield to wrap up the inning.
Florida used another two-out rally in the fifth inning to plate its second run of the game. Nicole DeWitt initiated the offense after she was hit by starter Erin Rethlake on a 2-2 count. Kayli Kvistad drew her 49th walk of the season to move DeWitt into scoring position and provide the RBI opportunity for Wheaton.
After Kentucky made a pitching change to bring in Megan Prince, Wheaton produced her second RBI of the game and extended the Gators lead to 2-0 on a single up the middle that scored DeWitt from second.
In total Barnhill retired 21 of the 22 batters faced on the day in the complete-game effort which is her 10th of the season.
The Gators return home to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for a midweek contest against UCF Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m.
On the road series win at Kentucky…
“Today was a great road series win against a good Kentucky team. Kelly was ‘WOW’ this week and Janell had a great week for us on offense and defense.” – Tim Walton
- Kelly Barnhill produced the second no-hitter of her career and first of the season with a 15-strikeout performance against Kentucky.
o Also, notched her 10th game of the season where she recorded 10 or more strikeouts.
o Barnhill also struck out 15 Wildcats in her start on Friday.
o It was the Gators second no-hitter of the season, first individual. The last one was a combined no-hitter between Gourley and Ocasio against South Carolina (3/19).
- The Gators produced their sixth SEC series victory going 2-1 versus No. 21 in Lexington.
o It’s the third-straight series victory over Kentucky.
- Janell Wheaton recorded her fourth multi-hit game over a six game span with her xx-for-xx performance against the Wildcats.
- Kaylie Kvistad drew her 49th walk of the season to tie the Florida single-season record for walks.
o Aja Paculba set the record in 2009 and Lauren Haeger tied it in 2015.
- Florida recorded its 10th shutout of the season over a Top 25 opponent and is now 17-2 on the season against Top 25 opponents.