Florida Gators softball advances to the SEC tournament finals

Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 9 Florida advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship game behind a 3-0 victory over No. 24 Auburn Friday afternoon at Davis Diamond.

The Gators (43-15) picked up another solid outing in the circle from senior right-hander Kelly Barnhill (29-11) in the win over the Tigers (37-19). Barnhill struck out 11 in her 12th complete-game shutout effort of the season.

Barnhill limited the Auburn offense to just a pair of hits and walks.

Offensive production came primarily from sophomore Hannah Adams (2-for-3), who drove in all three of UF’s runs.

Next Up
Florida advances to face No. 1-seed Alabama Saturday, May 11, at 8 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (CT) at Davis Diamond on ESPN2.

How It Happened – W, 3-0

Inning Score Play
B-1st 2-0 Hannah Adams broke open the scoring in the opening frame with a two-run home run off the SEC Now set in right-center field. Kendyl Lindamanscored on the play after she drew a walk.
B-3rd 3-0 Adams stayed hot at the plate and produced an RBI single to left-center field that scored Amanda Lorenz, who reached via a single up the middle.

Standout Statistic

  • Barnhill issued 11 strikeouts in today’s game against Tigers, which brings her season total to 11 games with 10 or more strikeouts.
    • It’s the eighth time this season she has struck out 10 or more batters against top-25 opponents, three of which have been against Auburn.
    • The Gators now have 20 games on the season with 10 or more strikeouts as a team.

Notable Notes

  • The Gators now hold a 31-27 record in SEC Tournament play.
  • This is Florida’s eighth overall SEC Tournament Championship appearance.
    • It’s the first time a No. 6-seed has reached the championship game.
    • Tomorrow’s championship matchup is the fourth time in SEC Tournament history that the Gators and the Crimson Tide will meet.
      • W, 4-1 – May 10, 2008 – Baton Rouge, La.
      • W, 8-5 – May 9, 2009 – Knoxville, Tenn.
      • L, 10-1 (5) – May 12, 2012 – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Head Coach Tim Walton holds a career 22-9 record at the SEC Tournament.
  • Today’s win over No. 24 Auburn was the team’s 18th victory over a top-25 opponent this season.
    • It’s also the 10th shutout of against a top-25 opponent.
  • Barnhill struck out the Auburn side once and she has now struck out the side 28 times this season.

Quotables

Head Coach Tim Walton
Opening statement …
It’s good to get three W’s here in College Station. I thought Kelly [Barnhill] set a really nice tone today and did a really good job again, two days in a row, just going out and pitching well, hitting her spots. She only had the one little inning where she felt a little bit of trouble, and we cleaned it right up with a double play. Really pleased, I thought we hit the ball hard, not a lot of hits to show for it, but we still hit the ball really hard. It’s nice to cheer for Hannah Adams and see her smiling and running around the bases, getting big hits for the team. She’s really been working hard and has been hitting some balls hard, she just hadn’t had a lot to show for it.

Senior Kelly Barnhill
On how she was feeling in the circle …
“I was just really confident in my pitches today. I had Jordan [Roberts] behind the plate and she was holding me accountable for hitting my spots. I just kind of went at them, threw my best pitches and hit the corners well.”

Sophomore Hannah Adams
On what she saw when she hit the home run…
“I was really confident, like Coach Walton said, I’ve been working really hard so I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive that was over the plate and I got it. I just took a good swing at it.”

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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.