Roundup: Barnhill, Gators achieve perfection in softball win

Kelly Barnhill, UF's ace pitcher.

The No. 2 Florida softball team capped the Aquafina Invitational in stellar fashion Sunday when pitcher Kelly Barnhill hurled the first perfect game of her career in an 8-0 win over Georgia Southern at Pressly Stadium.

Barnhill’s game is the eighth overall, seventh individual, perfect game in Florida history. Delanie Gourley was the last to throw a perfect game against Iowa (March 2, 2017) in the Judi Garman Classic.

“The rule is you never think about while you’re doing it,” Barnhill (7-0) said. “I just really try to live in the moment, go pitch-by-pitch, and that’s what we did today. The offense was amazing. They scored lots of runs, scored early and often. When we do that we play good softball.”

In the first game of the day, Aleshia Ocasio (7-1) threw her second complete-game shutout of the season in a 3-0 UF (16-1) win over Iowa State (8-7).

Florida opened the scoring once again in the first inning after Amanda Lorenz scored Hannah Adams with a double. The Gators struck for two more in the third via a Jordan Matthews two-RBI double to all but settle the issue.

In the final game, Florida took the lead in the first inning against Georgia Southern the same way it did against Iowa State. Lorenz doubled to plate Nicole DeWitt with one out and the Gators continued to plate two more runs in the frame via an error by Eagles second baseman India Davis and bases loaded walk by Ocasio.

Another double provided by Lorenz in the following inning extended the Florida lead out to 4-0.

Barnhill was electric to start the game as she struck out eight of the first nine batters. Barnhill ended the perfect outing with 11 strikeouts against the Eagles on just 56 pitches.

“She had good stuff today and yesterday,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “I thought she came in and established the ownership early. She was able to locate her rise ball on three levels and for that it makes it really hard to hit.”

Lorenz improved to 3-for-3 in the game with a three-run home run later in the inning to extend the Florida lead to 8-0.

Next up for the Gators is the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The first game is set for Thursday against Loyola Marymount at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Lacrosse: No. 3 Florida (2-1) earned a thrilling 17-16 win over No. 23 Loyola (0-2) in overtime at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Florida overcame a four-goal deficit (7-11) with 26 minutes left in the second half, and closed the game on a 3-0 run after trailing 14-16 with just 2:27 left in regulation.

In a game that featured eight ties and three lead changes, the Gators either trailed or faced a tied score for the first 47:51 minutes of game action, before a Grace Haus goal gave UF a 13-12 advantage.

Sophomore Madisyn Kittell sent the game into overtime by causing two turnovers in the last 90 seconds of the second half, the second of which she converted into the game-tying goal. Kittell checked the stick of Loyola’s goalkeeper, Kady Glynn, and raced around the crease to score her second goal of the contest.

“I’m very pleased with the way we executed in the second half today,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “We were able to go into the locker room at halftime and make some much-needed adjustments. I think it says a lot about this team that they never stopped competing for the second game in a row. This was a great win over a terrific Loyola team.

“In overtime, we were looking to isolate. Shayna (Pirreca) has been working with Taryn (VanThof) and Nadine (Hadnagy) on her 1v1 dodges for a couple weeks, and I think she and Sydney (Pirreca) executed the play perfectly.”

The Gators wrap up a four-game homestand by hosting in-state rival Jacksonville (2-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Women’s basketball: At Athens, Ga., senior Mackenzie Engram and freshman Gabby Connally each scored 12 points and No. 19 Georgia beat Florida 63-43.

Georgia (24-5, 12-4 SEC), which was picked eighth in the SEC preseason poll after a 16-15 finish last season, has only lost to teams currently ranked in the Top 25.

Funda Nakkasoglu was the only Florida (11-18, 3-13) player in double figures with 10 points. She was 2 of 5 from distance for her 21st straight game with a 3-pointer.

Florida is the No. 11 seed at the SEC Tournament t Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, Wednesday-Sunday. Florida finished in a three-way tie with Arkansas and Vanderbilt for 11th in the final regular-season standings and earned the tiebreak over the two after defeating both head-to-head this year.

The Gators will play No. 14 seed Ole Miss on Wednesday at about 2:25 p.m. ET. There will be a 25-minute break following the Vanderbilt-Arkansas game that tips off at 12 p.m. A win would put UF in Thursday’s game against Missouri.