Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Florida softball team closed out the Judi Garman Classic in resounding fashion as the combination of Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio in the circle no-hit No. 8 Baylor, 4-0, Saturday.
Barnhill (9-0) pitched 6.0 innings with 13 strikeouts for the Gators (19-1) before she was relieved by Aleshia Ocasio.
Ocasio entered the circle with a 2-0 count on batter Maddison Kettler. Kettler then drew a walk to move a runner into scoring position for Baylor for only the second time in the game.
From there Ocasio struck out the next three Baylor (9-2) batters to complete the no-hitter.
To start the game, freshman Hannah Adams reached base via an error as Shelby Friudenberg wasn’t able to secure the throw at first.
The Hoschton, Ga. native moved into scoring position after stealing her fourth base of the season. Amanda Lorenz, set the table for Kayli Kvistad as she sent a 2-1 pitch to right field to put runners on the corners for the Gators.
Kvistad drove in Adams for the first run of the game on a SAC fly deep to left field.
The Bears threatened in the top of the fourth inning and advanced a runner into scoring position for the first time of the game. Barnhill put an end to Baylor’s scoring hopes as she struck out Taylor Ellis looking.
Kvistad extended the Gators lead out to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth after she sent a 3-2 pitch well over the wall in left field.
Florida extended its lead to 4-0 in the fifth – Adams picked up her first hit of the game with a single down the left line, then was immediately driven in by Nicole DeWitt’s two-run home run to center field.
Next up for the Gators is a Southeastern Conference series against Kentucky (Mar. 9-11) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
On being able to slow down a potent offense like Baylor…
“I definitely felt like Kelly (Barnhill) had really good stuff today and give credit to Baylor, they are a really good hitting team and took their walks when they needed to. Her rise ball was really moving today, and then Aleshia (Ocasio) came in and really complimented her. That’s the first time we really done it like that and wow, I really liked it. She throws just as hard as Kelly and yet the ball moves in different directions at times.”
On the offense clicking right before Southeastern conference play…
“This offense is getting better, they’re hitting the ball to all areas of the field. We struck out nine times today, but I thought the swings were of authority and the middle of our lineup really came to play.”
· The Gators hit a total of eight home runs on the weekend after only entering the Judi Garman Classic with 10 on the season.
o Nicole DeWitt hit three while finishing the weekend going 5-for-9 (.556) at the plate.
o Amanda Lorenz tallied two home runs and also went 5-for-9 (.556) on the weekend.
o Kayli Kvistad, Jordan Roberts and Jordan Matthews each hit a home run as well.
· Today’s no-hitter over No. 8 Baylor is the third of the season for Florida and it’s the first combined no-hitter of the season.
o Historically Florida has 29 no-hitters in program history with six of those being combined no-hitters.
· Florida closed the gap in the all-time series record against Baylor to 5-6 but has now won the last three meetings.
· Today was the sixth time this season that the Florida pitching staff has struck out an opponent more than 10 times.
o Barnhill’s 13 strikeouts makes for the fourth time this season that she alone has tallied 10 or more strikeouts in a game.
· Today was the seventh consecutive shutout of an opponent.
o Kelly Barnhill has not allowed a run in 22.1 innings and Ocasio has a scoreless inning streak of 16.2 innings.