Roundup: No. 4 UF softball team improves to 11-0

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[Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

TEMPE, Ariz. – No. 4 Florida closed out the Littlewood Classic hosted by Arizona State with an 8-0 win Sunday over Central Michigan at Farrington Stadium.

The Gators (11-0) bookended the scoring with a pair of home runs. Jordan Roberts (2-for-3) put the first UF run on the board, while Jordan Matthews (2-for-3) crushed a two-run home run in the fourth to close the scoring.

Senior hurler Kelly Barnhill (6-0) pitched 4.0 innings and struck out eight of the 14 batters she faced. The Marietta, Ga. native limited the CMU offense to just one hit and a walk. Natalie Lugo came in relief in the fifth and picked up three strikeouts while only allowing one hit on just 14 pitches.

Eight different Florida batters have recorded at least one home run this season and five Gators have hit multiple home runs. Overall UF is slugging .543 through 11 games with a total of 25 extra base hits. The Gators have eight batters with averages of .300 or better with Amanda Lorenz leading the way at a .469 clip. Not far behind Lorenz is junior Jordan Roberts who’s batting .423 on the year.

In the circle, three UF pitchers have a 1.00 ERA or lower so far this year. Barnhill is pacing the staff with a 0.88 ERA, while Lugo sports a 0.97 ERA and freshman Elizabeth Hightower has an even 1.00 ERA. All three also have a .104 opposing batting average or lower.

The Gators stay on the road for a midweek contest against Jacksonville starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The team will then return to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium to host the Bubly Invitational Feb. 22-24.

Men’s golf: After coming back from a seven-stroke deficit at the end of the second round, the Gators fell to No. 3 Vanderbilt by one stroke on the final hole to take home second in the Florida Gators Invitational.

Florida finished the second round Saturday night in fourth place, seven strokes off Vanderbilt, which led the field. After the first nine holes of the final round Sunday morning, Florid had improved to nine-under-par and sat in first place, three strokes ahead of Vanderbilt, which is the defending champions of the Gator.

Some bogey trouble on the back nine had the Gators finishing on par. Vanderbilt had some bogey trouble of its own and, with Florida done for the day, Vanderbilt sat tied for first with the Gators with three holes left to play. A birdie and three pars on the final hole gave Vanderbilt the one-stroke advantage over Florida to take home the team and individual title.

Florida had three players and two individuals finish inside the top 20, with sophomore John Axelsen having the highest finish at tied for fourth. Freshman Aden Ye finished tied for tenth while competing as an individual and freshman Eugene Hong finished tied for twelfth as a part of the team total.

“It was really, really close today,” UF coach JC Deacon said. “I knew we were close to a big performance and today was obviously better. But were just not quite there yet. There’s so many positives. Eugene’s birdies on the last two holes was unbelievable. John getting to four under through 11, those are the things we need to see and they’ll finish it out, they will. They work hard and want it bad enough, they’ll figure it out a way to get it done. We’re getting better.”

Women’s golf: After the first 18 holes of the AllState Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans, Florida sits 10 strokes off the leader and tied for fifth with NC State.

Five birdies put sophomore Addie Baggarly at the top of leaderboard, currently the only Gator inside the top 10 at tied for seventh. Junior Sierra Brooks sits inside the top 15 at tied for 13th.

Bogey trouble proved hard to make up for with junior Marta Perez, freshman Clara Manzalini, and sophomore Elin Esborn. The course is playing tough though, with only two teams shooting under par after round one.

Texas shot (-3) 285 to lead.

Women’s basketball: Alexis Jennings scored a season-high 22 points, Bianca Cuevas-Moore added 19 and Destanni Henderson had 18 in leading No. 11 South Carolina to a 96-77 win over Florida at the O’Connell Center.

Tyasha Harris added 11 points and 10 assists for her first double-double this season and help the Gamecocks (19-6, 11-1) stay tied atop the SEC with Mississippi State. South Carolina shot 59 percent.

Cuevas-Moore and Henderson scored 14 points each in the first half when the Gamecocks had 30 in the second quarter to overcome a nine-point Florida lead and go up 48-40 at halftime.

Funda Nakkasoglu led the Gators (6-19, 2-10) with 19 points. Delicia Washington has 12 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double this season. Danielle Rainey scored 15 points, Zada Williams 14 and Kiara Smith 10.

The Gamecocks extended their win streak over the Gators to 11.

ON SATURDAY

Softball: At Tempe, Ariz., fourth-ranked Florida (10-0) steamrolled through two wins on the second day of the Littlewood Classic with a 12-4 win over San Diego and 13-1 over Utah State. The Gators close out the event with an 11 a.m. game Sunday against Central Michigan.

Danni Farley (1-0) was the winning pitcher for UF in the first game, a five-inning run-rule. Sophia Reynoso had three hits to drive in three runs and Amanda Lorenz had two hits and two RBI for UF.

In the Game 2 run-rule win in five innings, Elizabeth Hightower (1-0) was the winning pitcher. Kendyl Lindaman and Jaimie Hoover each hit three-run home runs in the rout for the Gators.

Women’s tennis: At Jacksonville, No. 24 Florida recorded a 4-1 win over North Florida, notching its first road victory of the dual match season.

The Gators (2-2) dropped the doubles point to begin the day, but fought back to win four straight singles matches and clinch their second win of the season.

Marlee Zein, Tsveta Dimitrova, Katie Kubicz and Anastacia Kharitonova all earned singles victories for UF.

The Gators return to the court Tuesday when they host No. 20 Florida State. Match time from Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex is slated for 5 p.m as the Gators and Seminoles meet for the 60th time.

2 COMMENTS

    • Ditto. The women’s basketball update disappoints, though. Is this program cursed or what? It sure makes ME curse. Only 2 – 10 in the SEC (It’s supposed to mean more, ladies.) and 13 games below .500 doesn’t even sniff at the Gator standard. Always at the top of all-around sports programs, I guess you could call women’s basketball our one character flaw.