Barnhill, bats lift No. 5 Gators over No. 14 LSU

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FILE — Florida's Hannah Adams hits a ball that heads towards the dugout in a game. [Cyndi Chambers/Corresponde­nt/Gainesville Sun]

Florida junior pitcher Kelly Barnhill took a lap around Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium shortly after pitching her 30th career shutout Friday night.

Barnhill could have been excused for showing up slightly late to a postgame meeting following an SEC Network interview. But she wanted to run anyway.

“Coach dared me that I wouldn’t do it,” Barnhill said. “So I did it.”

Behind another dominant performance from Barnhill and contributions up and down the lineup, No. 5 Florida won its ninth straight, knocking off No. 14 LSU 7-0.

Junior center fielder Alex Voss delivered a big blow early with a two-RBI double off the center field wall during a three-run second inning, putting the Gators up 3-0 early. From there, the Gators tacked on a run in the fifth inning and three more runs while batting around in the bottom of the sixth.

Florida (43-7, 16-3 SEC) has scored five or more runs six times during its win streak.

“I just think we’re really coming into our own roles,” Voss said. “So we know you’re a pinch hitter you are going to get a hit and for me I know I’m a defensive player and I’m going to turn the lineup over in the nine spot. I think we’re all just embracing our roles right now and doing it for each other.”

Barnhill (23-1) held the Tigers (36-12, 9-9 SEC) to just three hits, striking out 15 with no walks. After allowing a bunt single to Aliyah Andrews to lead off the game, Barnhill struck out the next six batters she faced.

“My rise ball felt really easy today, which means I just pretty much didn’t have to work very hard, I wasn’t over-thinking and over-analyzing,” Barnhill said. “So I was out of my own head and when I’m out of my own head and then pitching, it’s a lot better.”

Florida softball coach Tim Walton said he could tell early that Barnhill had all of her pitches working.

“The rise ball was really jumping tonight,” Walton said. “We’ve really tried to program Kelly, that if she can throw shutouts, we’re not going to lose, ever. Obviously she’s taken that seriously and I’m really proud of the way she handles herself and the way she throws the ball.”

The Gators go for the series win at 12 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday. UF will also honor its senior class.