UF Roundup: No. 2 softball team finishes tourney undefeated

[Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

TAMPA – After Florida opened the season with four consecutive shutout wins at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament, host South Florida was able to score three runs Sunday, but it wasn’t enough against the No. 2-ranked Gator softball team.

The Gators (5-0) opened the day with a 6-0 win over UAB behind the combined pitching of Katie Chronister (1-0) and Kelly Barnhill. Chronister struck out five and only allowed three hits in her five innings. Barnhill didn’t allow a hit in her two innings and struck out three.

Hannah Adams and Amanda Lorenz had run-scoring doubles to support the pitching.

In the second game, UF trailed for the first time this weekend when the Bulls scored a run in the second inning, the first against the Gators. But Florida scored eight runs in the third to take the lead for good.

Jordan Matthews had three hits, including a three-run home run, and Jaimie Hoover had two hits, including a home run, to drive in three runs for Florida.

The Gators open the home schedule at 6 p.m. Wednesday against North Florida.

Women’s basketball: At Columbia, S.C., National Player of the Year candidate A’ja Wilson scored 22 points as seventh-ranked South Carolina survived a scare from Florida.

Sitting on the bench for the first half of the second quarter as coach Dawn Staley elected to give her some rest, Wilson watched her undermanned teammates give up a 15-0 Gators run. Trailing by 10 at home, Wilson re-entered the game and led a burst to tie the game at halftime. South Carolina went on to a 64-57 win Sunday.

Funda Nakkasoglu stroked five 3-pointers among her 21 points to keep Florida close, but South Carolina received 18 points from Ty Harris to claim a 20-win season for the seventh straight year.

Down to nine players for the season when Lindsey Spann was lost for the year, the Gamecocks (20-5, 9-3 SEC) traded punches with Florida before trading runs at the end of the second quarter. The Gamecocks quickly spurted ahead by 10 points out of the halftime locker room, but Florida closed it to four with seven minutes to play.

Doniyah Cliney hit two free throws and Harris scored five straight points to keep the Gators (10-15, 2-10) at bay. It’s the second Top-25 win Florida nearly nabbed in three games.

“I thought we did a terrific job making them uncomfortable,” UF coach Cameron Newbauer said. “Hats off to them and Ty Harris for making some big, big shots when they had to.”

Men’s tennis: At Columbus, Ohio, the Gators ended the road trip on the losing end following Sunday’s 5-2 loss to No. 2 Ohio State.

Florida fell behind early in doubles when the fifth-ranked pair of Duarte Vale-McClain Kessler lost 6-1 to the 25th-ranked duo of Mikael Torpegaard-Martin Joyce. On the second court, Alredo Perez-Oliver Crawford earned their first doubles win after a 6-4 decision over JJ Wolf-John McNally. The doubles point came down to court three, but Johannes Ingildsen and Chase Perez-Blanco were unable to get the win, falling 7-5.

The Gators knew the odds were stacked against them heading into singles trailing by a point and playing indoors, against an indoor team. Like their match against Michigan, Florida fell behind early in the first set of singles, however this time it proved costly. Florida found themselves trailing 3-0 in the match after Perez fell on court one 6-2, 6-2 and then on court three when Vale lost 6-3, 6-2. Ohio State clinched the match on court six when Kessler fell to Alex Kobelt 6-4, 6-4.

Women’s golf: At Palos Verdes, Calif., after winning the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge last year, senior Taylor Tomlinson started out hot at the 2018 tournament. At one point in her opening round, Tomlinson had a share of the lead at 2-under par. She would eventually turn in a first round score of 71 (E) and sit four back of the leader, Olivia Mehaffey of Arizona State.

Carlotta Ricolfi is just one stroke behind Tomlinson at a team-best five birdies on day one helped her card a 72 (+1). She in a tied for 14th heading into round two today.

In a field that includes 12 ranked teams, the Gators sit in eighth at 12-over par which is one stroke better than No. 2 Duke and No. 25 Washington.

Women’s tennis: At Madison, Wisconsin, in an added match, Florida lost 4-2 to No. 7 Georgia Tech.