UF Roundup: No. 2 Gator softball team blanks two tourney teams

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{File} - Photo of junior Gators pitcher Kelly Barnhill throwing a pitch against FSU last season.

TAMPA — The No. 2-ranked Florida softball team picked up a pair of wins Saturday over No. 18 Michigan, 2-0, and Georgia State, 11-0, during the second day of the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament.

The Gators (3-0) have now shut out all three of their opponents to start the season and in the final game picked up the team’s second combined one-hitter of the season. Junior Kelly Barnhill and freshman Natalie Lugo combined for the one-hitter against Georgia State to cap the day.

Overall, Florida has 97 one-hitters throughout the program’s history. That record encompasses individual complete-game one-hitters (73) and combined one-hitters (24).

Florida defeated Michigan for the fifth-consecutive season in Tampa during opening weekend.

The matchup between the two top-25 programs came down to a pitcher’s duel for the second straight year. A clutch two-run single with two outs by Sophia Reynoso in the fourth inning was the difference Saturday.

In the second game, the Gators exploded in the second inning with seven runs. Seniors Kayli Kvistad, Aleshia Ocasio and Nicole DeWitt combined for six of the RBIs. Extra base hits by Kvistad, a double plated two runs, while Ocasio hit a three-run home run over the right field wall to cap the inning.

The Gators return to action Sunday with another pair of games against UAB (1:30 p.m.) and host school USF (4:15 p.m.)

Women’s tennis: At Madison, Wisc., Florida dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals at the 2018 ITA National Indoor Team Championship held at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium on the University of Wisconsin campus.

In what was at least the first of two regular-season meetings between the Gators and Commodores, there were four three-set singles matches and all three doubles contests were a one-break difference.

Indoor Track and Field: At Clemson, S.C., Florida’s 4×400 relay team ran the fourth-fastest time in history, and redshirt junior AJ McFarland broke his weight throw school record for a third consecutive meet, as the Gators concluded competition at Clemson’s Tiger Paw Invitational and the Iowa State Classic.

The men’s quartet of junior Kunle Fasasi (46.08 seconds), sophomore Grant Holloway (45.12), freshman Chantz Sawyers (45.67) and freshman Benjamin Lobo Vedel (45.36) combined to run 3:02.23 seconds, taking runner-up honors to Southern California (3:01.98) with the second-fastest time in collegiate history. Both the Gators and USC broke Texas A&M’s collegiate record of 3:02.52, which was set in January 2017.

McFarland broke his school record by one foot and posted the eighth-ranked mark in the nation (22.20 meters / 72 feet, 10 inches), only finishing third to the NCAA leader and the fourth-ranked mark in the country. Also in the weight throw, freshman Thomas Mardal demolished his personal record by two feet, 11.75 inches to become the No. 2-ranked weight thrower on the Gators’ All-Time Top 10. Mardal’s mark of 21.71 meters (71 feet, 2.75 inches) ranks 15th on the national descending order list.

Lacrosse: Preseason No. 5 Florida begins a daunting non-conference schedule at 12 p.m. Sunday at Dizney Stadium, as No. 17 Colorado (1-0) helps the Gators open their season.

The Buffaloes are the first of seven IWLCA top-25 opponents for the Gators. UF will also play host to No. 1 Maryland, No. 25 Loyola, No. 10 Navy and No. 19 Towson; and travel to No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Syracuse before opening Big East play.

Colorado enters the day after defeating Michigan, 20-10, on Friday night in Jacksonville.

“We’re really excited to get started against a terrific Colorado team,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Our players are focused – We have great leadership from our captains, they have kept us locked in and ready to go during the preseason. I feel like we have a group that is poised for greatness.”

1 COMMENT

  1. notice that all seven ranked lacrosse opponents come before league play. get UF into a legit lacrosse conference please. the talent on this team is exceptional, but playing in a league that offers no challenges does not help prepare for offseason