Special to Gatorsports.com
OKLAHOMA CITY — Top-seeded Florida was struggling offensively entering the Women’s College World Series. The Gators have put those struggles in the rearview at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Florida (57-8) pounded LSU 7-0 in a winner’s bracket game Friday to advance to Sunday’s semifinals. A win there would put the Gators into the championship series starting Monday. The 13 seed Tigers (47-21) will have to work out of the loser’s bracket starting tonight.
The Gators, who routed Texas A&M 8-0 in Thursday’s opener, belted two home runs and two doubles Friday in punishing LSU. They scored 20 runs in the postseason before this week and have now scored 15 in two games here.
“It’s an offensive statement,” Florida’s Janell Wheaton said. “Our preparation is paying off and our confidence is building.”
The Gators took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on Chelsea Herndon’s two-run double that scored Aleshia Ocasio, who walked, and Jordan Roberts, who was hit by pitch.
UF went up 3-0 in the sixth when Wheaton smashed a home run into the left field seats.
The Gators broke it open in the seventh on an Amanda Lorenz RBI single, Kayli Kvistad’s two-run home run and a sacrifice fly by Wheaton to make it 7-0.
All that plate production was more than enough for UF ace Kelly Barnhill (26-3), USA Softball’s Player of the Year, who limited LSU to two hits while striking out eight.
“It’s been so great to see everything coming together at the right time,” said Barnhill, who pitched the team’s 40th shutout of the season, the most in a season in program history.
Ocasio made perhaps the play of the game in the second inning when she ran into foul territory and caught a pop fly as she fell over a barrier.
LSU starter Carley Hoover (15-8) allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, and Allie Walljasper struggled in relief.