Special to Gatorsports.com
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Hannah Adams accounted for all three runs to support the two-hit pitching of ace Kelly Barnhill and pace six seed Florida to a 3-0 win over 10 seed Auburn in the SEC softball tournament semifinal Friday.
Florida (43-15) will face top-seeded Alabama, a 6-3 winner over four seed Kentucky in the other semifinal Friday night, for the tournament title at 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. Alabama swept a three-game series from Florida in Gainesville earlier this season.
Adams, who was moved up in the batting order, gave Florida a 2-0 lead in the first inning, with Kendyl Lindaman on board via a walk, by belting her third home run of the season.
Then in the third inning, Adams’ RBI single made it 3-0 following a single by Amanda Lorenz and another walk to Lindaman.
“I was really confident,” Adams said. “I’ve been working really hard so I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive that was over the plate and I got it. I just took a good swing at it.”
Barnhill (29-11) again was in control throughout against Auburn (37-19), the lowest seed to play in the league’s semifinal, striking out 11 after allowing only one hit Thursday in a 3-0 win over LSU.
“We came out to score early and that takes the pressure off the pitcher,” said Barnhill, who has struck out 300-plus batters for the third consecutive season.
UF coach Tim Walton has liked his All-American senior’s approach the past two games.
“I thought Kelly set a really nice tone tonight and did a really good job again, two days in a row, just going out and pitching well, hitting her spots defensively,” Walton said. “She only had the one little inning where she felt a little bit of trouble, and we cleaned it right up with a double play.”
Both teams await their NCAA Tournament assignment in Sunday’s 9 p.m. Selection Show on ESPN2.