Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 5 Florida defeated No. 19 Mississippi State 8-3 to open the series Friday evening at Nusz Park. Amanda Lorenz went 4-for-4 at the plate and was a double shy of the cycle as she recorded a pair of singles, a triple and a home run in the effort.
A pair of home runs in the first put the Gators (39-7, 13-3) ahead 3-0 over the Bulldogs (33-13, 6-10 SEC). Lorenz belted a solo home run after she turned on Candace Denis’ 2-1 pitch. Aleshia Ocasio followed up with a two-run blast after Kayli Kvistad reached with her 36th walk of the year.
Mississippi State broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning and closed the Florida lead down to 3-1 with a solo home run by Kat Moore.
Florida struck for a pair of runs in the third to extend the lead out to 5-1. With two out and Lorenz at third and Nicole DeWitt at second, Janell Wheaton sends a grounder to Reggie Harrison at short but the throw to first was dropped by Sarai Niu, which allowed Wheaton to reach and Lorenz to score.
Jordan Matthews capped the scoring with her RBI single to right field that scored DeWitt from third.
DeWitt pushed the lead out to 6-1 in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Voss scored on the play after she reached on a single to second and advanced to third on a single to right field by Lorenz.
The Gators plated a pair of runs in the sixth thanks to an RBI triple from Lorenz and DeWitt’s second SAC fly of the game. Lorenz finished the game 4-for-4 with a pair of singles, a triple and a home run.
Mississippi State made a bid for a late rally in the sixth and closed down the Florida lead to 8-3 with a two-run home run by Mia Davidson.
Kelly Barnhill (20-1) issued 10 strikeouts, while only relinquishing a pair of hits and four walks.
The two teams will return to Nusz Park Saturday, April 21, for a doubleheader that is slated to begin at 2 p.m. (ET)/1 p.m. (CT).
“Offensively we came and hit the ball hard tonight to all fields. I was happy to see Amanda Lorenz do well in all four at-bats. Tomorrow is going to be a tough long day. Mississippi State looked good tonight at the plate and tomorrow they will have their aces going for them.”
· Florida extended the all-time series lead over Mississippi State to 34-19 and 15-8 while on the road.
o The team improved to 17-6 over Top 25 opponents.
· The Gators scored in the first inning for the 29th time this season and scored first for the 35th time.
o The team holds a 28-1 record with scoring in the first and 33-2 when scoring first.
· Amanda Lorenz went 4-for-4 for the plate and hit her sixth home run of the season.
o The four hits tied her career-high.
o She has now reached base safely in every game this season and 170 out of 177 games over her career.
o Lorenz was a double away from hitting for the cycle.
· Kelly Barnhill dealt 10 strikeouts in tonight’s game.
o It’s her 12th game of the season with 10 or more strikeouts.
o It’s the Gators 17th game of the season with 10 or more strikeouts.