Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Florida softball team opened up the Judi Garman Classic with a pair of five-inning wins over Loyola Marymount, 13-0, and host Cal State Fullerton, 10-0, at Anderson Family Field Thursday afternoon.
The Gators (18-1) schedule has changed slightly as the team will now only play one game Friday, March 2, against Charlotte at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Florida vs. Loyola Marymount | |W, 13-0
Nicole DeWitt and Amanda Lorenz set the tone in the Gators first game of the day as they posted back-to-back solo home runs in the first to take a 2-0 lead.
From there Florida went on to pound out 13 runs on 13 hits against the Lions to start competition in the Judi Garman Classic.
Lorenz continued her white-hot hitting streak at the plate. The Moorpark, Calif. native went 4-for-4 against Loyola Marymount with two singles and a pair of home runs. She was responsible for four runs scored and six RBI in the contest.
The Gators scored early and often against LMU as they scored two in the first then one in the second and third before exploding for five runs in the fourth and four in the fifth.
Freshmen Jordan Matthews and Hannah Adams posted multi-RBI games against the Lions. Matthews unleashed a three-run opposite field home run in the fourth, while Adams notched two RBI singles in the second and fourth innings.
In the circle, Aleshia Ocasio provided another quality outing as she pitched 4.0 inning with seven strikeouts and allowed only one hit and a walk en route to her eighth win of the season. Freshman Natalie Lugo saw an inning of action and allowed one hit but did register a pair of strikeouts.
Florida vs. Cal State Fullerton | W, 10-0
Florida jumped out in front early, 1-0, against the Titans. Kayli Kvistad drove in Adams via an RBI single through the right side of the Cal State Fullerton defense.
A couple of innings later in the bottom of the third, the Titans threated by loading the bases with one out. A heady play by Adams on a grounder to second kept the opposition of the scoreboard as she whipped the ball back home to Wheaton for the second out.
Barnhill then went on to close out the inning and ended the threat with her sixth strikeout of the game.
The Gators broke the game open in the very next inning and went on to plate nine runs on just four hits.
Sophia Reynoso ripped a one-out triple to center field to set the stage for Adams at the plate. An error by the second baseman on Adams grounder allowed her to reach first and Reynoso to cross home safely.
DeWitt followed up with her second home run of the day to score two more runs and pushed the lead out to 4-0. Kayli Kvistad scored moments later via a wild pitch and Jordan Roberts officially blew the game open and put the Gators up 8-0 with her three-run home run.
Back-to-back bases loaded walks by DeWitt and Lorenz closed out scoring in the frame gave Florida a commanding 10-0 lead.
Kelly Barnhill (8-0) threw 4.0 innings and allowed only one hit and four walks compared to eight strikeouts over 17 batters faced. Katie Chronister picked up an inning’s worth of work in the circle and struck out two of the four batters faced.
On how the team’s preparation this week resulted in a strong offensive showing…
“I thought we did a good job of taking what was given today. We had some two-strike home runs, we had some early count home runs, but we were patient at the plate. I thought we were disciplined and we can talk about the offense and how well hit, but gosh we pitched really well today. Two good performances, one by Aleshia Ocasio and Natalie Lugo and the other by Kelly Barnhill and Katie Chronister. I’m really happy that everyone had a good chance to perform today.”
On the underclassmen continuing to grow…
“Jordan Matthews got a couple of nice hits, Hannah Adams had a couple of nice hits and Haven Sampson got a walk. I definitely feel like we are starting to come of age a little bit – being a little more mature, disciplined and being able to hit different styles of pitching. I’m very happy with the way we approached our at-bats.”
· The Gators scored five runs in the fourth and four in the fifth inning against Loyola Marymount and a season-high nine runs in the fourth against Cal State Fullerton.
o The team now scored four or more runs in an inning 18 times on the season.
· Florida has now shut out its last six opponents and has a total of 14 shutouts on the season.
· The Gators have now posted 10 five-inning games on the season.
· Kelly Barnhill added eight strikeouts to her career total and now sits sixth overall with 608 strikeouts.
o Stacey Stevens is fifth all-time with 624 strikeouts.
· Over the last three games, Amanda Lorenz is hitting .778 (7-for-9) with two doubles, three home runs with 12 RBI and six runs scored.
o She also boasts a 2.000 slugging percentage along with a .800 on base percentage during that span.