Alabama eliminates Florida from WCWS, 15-3

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Florida softball coach Tim Walton talks to Jaimie Hoover before her at-bat Friday at the NCAA Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressley Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun/File]

Special to Gatorsports.com

OKLAHOMA CITY — Well, it was bound to happen one year, especially if a team makes it to the Women’s College World Series as many times as Florida has. This is the 10th WCWS appearance for UF in the last 12 seasons, which is more than any other program in the nation.

But this trip is one to forget for Florida after it was eliminated 15-3 Saturday by Alabama (58-9) to go 0-2 at the WCWS for the first time. The Gators (49-18) were also run-ruled for the first time and lost to the Crimson Tide here for the first time (now 5-1).

Alabama, the SEC regular-season champion, jumped on Florida senior ace Kelly Barnhill (34-14) with two, three-run home runs for a 6-0 lead in the first inning. Barnhill was pulled from the game after allowing three walks, hitting a batter and giving up the two home runs on 30 pitches.

Florida, the SEC tourney champion, also didn’t have much of an answer early against Crimson Tide pitcher Sarah Cornell (22-1), the league’s pitcher of the year.

Alabama, which scored four runs in the third inning to ice the game against UF pitcher Elizabeth Hightower, will play another elimination game Saturday night at 11:30 against Arizona (48-13).

UF coach Tim Walton paid a tribute to Barnhill, a second-team All-American and a record-setting pitcher at Florida, by sending her back to the circle for a final pitch in the fourth inning. She left after hugs from teammates and a standing ovation from the crowd at USA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Senior Amanda Lorenz, one of the best players in Florida history, also received a standing ovation from the crowd in her final at-bat.

Kendyl Lindaman hit a home run, her 15th of the season, to allow UF to avoid the shutout in the fifth inning and Sophia Reynoso (2) added a two-run home run to settle the final margin.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Another very good team but a disappointing end to the season. A W/L record that the majority of the teams in the NCAA would be happy with. Having said that, Coach Walton has got to find some hitters to strengthen the lineup. You can’t continually rely on 2 or 3 batters to carry your team.

  2. The season may not have been quite up to the Gator standard, but a season that ends in OKC is still a great one. Sad for Barnhill and Lorenz to end their careers without a title. I wonder how much the loss of Jen Rocha affected Barnhill’s performance in the circle. There seemed to be a lot of fat pitches thrown to good hitters in pitchers’ counts. I don’t know if it was questionable pitch calls or just poor location, but she just wasn’t quite up to her usual standard of perfection. Her greatness has lead us to place unreasonable expectations on her.

    The sting of defeat will ease with time and will be replaced by the fond memories of these ladies’ accomplishments. Thanks to Barnhill and Lorenz for great Gator careers, and thanks to the rest of the ladies and coaches for a memorable season.

    Go Gators!!!

  3. Of course the ending to the season is disappointing, but Barnhill literally put this team on her back to make it to the College World Series. I think, as fans, we forget that the other universities are also trying to win National Championships too and are out there recruiting and coaching and building new stadiums. It just so happens that this year their were 7 other teams were just better. It happens and its really nobody’s fault. A coach’s job is to put a team in position to win and its the players’ jobs to capitalize on that opportunity. This team did that for the regionals and the supers, but finally just came up against better talent. It happens. If a down season is the CWS, I’ll take it. The Gators will be back and there will be more championships. Great job girls.