Tim Walton has been frustrated with his lineup much of this 2019 season. On Wednesday night, he took it out on an innocent bucket in the dugout.
“It was a good kick,” he said. “Thankfully, it was empty.”
Walton saw his Florida softball team get shut out for the fourth time this season, failing to get clutch hits in a 2-0 loss to No. 3 Florida State as 2,403 watched at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
With the crowd packing the grass berm and the area behind the fences, FSU’s Meghan King only allowed two runners to get as far as second base in running her record to 19-1 on the season.
“She’s a great pitcher,” said Florida’s Kendyl Lindaman, who had two of Florida’s six hits. “She’s been in those situations. She knows how to pitch to great hitters and great teams.”
No. 8 Florida (29-9) got a strong pitching performance from Kelly Barnhill, who allowed only four hits to a team hitting .368 coming into the game. But a lack of offense sent Florida to its third straight loss.
“Losing is always hard,” Barnhill said. “It sucks, but we have to take something from every loss.”
Unfortunately for the Gators, they take from it another loss to an elite team because of a lack of hitting. In Florida’s nine losses, they have scored one run or fewer in seven of them.
“I’m a realist,” Walton said. “They need to feel good about what they’re doing and we need to do a good job of coaching them up to be better at things they need to be better at.
“I don’t think we’re too far. At the end of the day, we need to see somebody hit. We’re not even hitting on good counts. Some of it’s mechanics, some of it’s DNA, some of it’s pressing. It’s a confidence thing. We’re relying on people who haven’t done it before. Unfortunately, they still haven’t done it.”
Florida State (36-3), the defending national champion, wasted little time taking the lead.
In the top of the first, FSU’s Cali Harrod walked and stole second, although she might have been called out had shortstop Sophia Reynoso handled the throw at second.
Harrod eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Elizabeth Mason.
Barnhill (19-5) gave up her 11th homer of the year when FSU’s Mackinzy Herzog pulled one to right that hit the top of the fence and bounced over. It was Herzog’s second homer of the season.
“I was surprised how close it was,” Barnhill said. “It felt a little harder going off. It happens. Move on.”
Barnhill allowed only one hit the rest of the game.
“Good adjustments to hold a team to four hits with her second and third best pitch,” Walton said. “Her rise ball was non-existent. She showed a lot of grit.”
The Gators don’t have much rest as they open up an SEC series Friday against No. 14 Arkansas (25-11, 6-6 in SEC). Florida will try to improve on a slow start in conference play (3-6) when the two teams play Friday at 6 p.m.
“We are who we are,” Walton said. “Who’s responsible for who we are? Me. I have to do a better job. We’ll figure it out.”