Special to Gatorsports.com
OKLAHOMA CITY — Florida senior All-American pitcher Kelly Barnhill struck out nine and allowed only two hits to Oklahoma State in Thursday’s opening day of the Women’s College World Series. Unfortunately for Barnhill and the Gators, the two hits were home runs by Cowgirls senior pitcher Samantha Show in the 2-1 loss.
The fifth-seeded Gators (49-17) will now have to battle out of the losers’ bracket to make the championship series that starts Monday. It starts at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday with an elimination game against eight-seeded Alabama (57-9), which lost to top-seeded Oklahoma 3-2 in Thursday night’s late game. 13th seed Oklahoma State (45-15) will play Oklahoma (55-3) Friday night.
“We didn’t have very many productive at-bats,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “Our outs, they made a couple nice plays defensively, but our outs just weren’t very good. You can have good outs, be productive with your outs, move runners along. We didn’t have that. That’s the biggest key. Six hits, but yet the 21 outs, how many of them were productive? There weren’t very many of them.”
Show (22-8), the game’s second batter, belted a homer in the first inning.
The Gators tied it in the second on Jordan Roberts’ solo home run, her ninth of the season.
Show then gave the Cowgirls the lead with her 20th home run of the season with a blast in the sixth.
While Barnhill (34-13), who after Show’s home run in the first, retired 14 of the next 16 batters faced over the next four innings, pitched well enough to win, the Gators didn’t do much to help her, going 0 for 8 with a runner in scoring position.
“I think more than anything, it’s just missing a spot,” Barnhill said of her night. “I missed two pitches to their best hitter on the team, so…”
The Gators’ best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the seventh when Sophia Reynoso and Roberts opened with singles, but three consecutive groundouts sealed UF’s fate.
“I just think we need to flush it and just be more competitive,” UF senior Amanda Lorenz said. “We have nothing to lose. I think the day off will be good for us, just to focus on the Gators, on what we can do better to be more successful next game.”
Show, who allowed six hits, became the first pitcher to homer twice in a WCWS game.
Show transferred to Oklahoma State from Texas A&M. Florida coach Tim Walton remembers the previous version of Show and thinks this one is better.
“I think she’s a whole entirely different person,” he said. “You look at everything about her — it’s different, better in every sense of the word. She’s just done a good job all the way around. It almost looks like she’s completely comfortable in who she is right now competing both offensively and defensively.”
Oklahoma State, which upset defending national champion Florida State in the Super Regionals and is the lowest-seeded team in the World Series field, needs one more win to reach the semifinals.
Notes: Amanda Lorenz, Kelly Barnhill and Kendyl Lindaman each were selected as NFCA All-Americans. Lorenz became only the second UF player in program history to be named an NFCA All-American all four years – Hannah Rogers (2011-’14) was the only other player to achieve the feat. Lorenz holds three first team selections (2017-’19) and a third team selection (2016) over her career. Barnhill was named to the second team and Lindaman to the third team. … Barnhill (358) is approaching the UF single-season strikeout record. Stacey Nelson holds (2006-’09) the mark with 363 strikeouts.
At ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
All Times EDT
Double Elimination; x-if necessary
Arizona 3, Washington 1, 8 innings
UCLA 7, Minnesota 2
Oklahoma State 2, Florida 1
Oklahoma 3, Alabama 2
Game 5 — Arizona (48-12) vs. UCLA (52-6), 7 p.m.
Game 6 — Oklahoma State (45-15) vs. Oklahoma (55-3), 9:30 p.m.
Game 7 — Washington (50-8) vs. Minnesota (46-13), Noon
Game 8 — Florida (49-17) vs. Alabama (57-9), 2:30 p.m.
Game 9 — Game 6 loser vs. Game 7 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 10 — Game 5 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 9:30 p.m.
Game 11 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 12 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 3:30 p.m.
x-Game 13 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 7 p.m.
x-Game 14 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 9:30 p.m.
NOTE: If only one game is necessary, it will be played at 7 p.m.
Monday: Teams TBD, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Teams TBD, 8:30 p.m.
x-Wednesday: Teams TBD, 8:30 p.m.