UF roundup: Another Barnhill no-no sparks Gators’ win

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Junior pitcher Kelly Barnhill tossed a five-inning no-hitter Wednesday to help Florida defeat visiting South Florida 9-0.

Barnhill (12-1) has thrown five complete-game no-hitters, including a perfect game on the season. She struck out 12 and issued two walks in the win over South Florida (22-13).

“She threw the ball with confidence and we got some runs for her early; that’s the key to success,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “Get runs for her early, let her settle in and let that rise ball do its work.”

Senior Nicole DeWitt settle the final margin by hitting a three-run home run in the fifth.

Florida (24-3) scored for the 19th time this season in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. The inning started with Amanda Lorenz’s leadoff walk and was driven home on Kayli Kvistad’s first career triple. Jordan Matthews plated Kvistad with a groundout.

The Gators offense struck again in the second to extend the lead out to 3-0 on Kvistad’s RBI single.

The Gators return to Southeastern Conference action this weekend for a three-game series against Texas A&M at KSP Stadium. The series is slated to start at 5 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday.

Swimming and diving: At Minneapolis, Minn., the first night of NCAA competition was short, but sweet for the Gator men as the 800 free relay earned All-America honors.

Jan Switkowski, Khader Baqlah, Maxime Rooney and Mark Szaranek finished fourth in the 800 free relay. The squad finished with a time of 6:09.52, three seconds faster than their seed time.

Florida begins individual events during Thursday’s preliminary session, with 12 Gators competing. Baqlah, Andrew Brady, Ben Lawless, Blake Manganiello and Clark Beach will kick off the events with the 500 free.

Szaranek, Switkowski, Alex Lebed, Grant Sanders and Rooney all follow in the 200 IM, while Caeleb Dressel and Bayley Main are set to compete in the 50 free.

Florida will also compete in both the 200 free relay, as well as the 400 medley relay during the prelim session.

Lacrosse: At Dizney Stadium, No. 14 Towson upset No. 6 Florida, 14-11. A quick 3-0 lead to open the match was not enough to sustain Florida (6-3).

Towson (6-2) utilized a 13-2 run beginning at the 15:02 mark in the first half, which lasted over 33 minutes of game time, to take control of the Top-15 affair. The 13-5 deficit faced by Florida with 12:11 left in the second half tied its largest of the season.

The Gators were sparked by a Sydney Pirreca free position goal with 11:29 remaining in the game, and closed the game on a 6-1 run before running out of time just three goals behind the Tigers.

“This was a great learning experience for us,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “I think we’ve relied on coming back against teams in a few games this year, and we couldn’t do that tonight. Towson outplayed us across the board.”

Florida’s offense was stymied by a strong performance from Towson’s goalkeeper, Kiley Keating (11 saves, .500), while the Tiger defenders forced UF into a season-high 21 turnovers.

The Tigers are the seventh of nine IWLCA top-25 opponents for the Gators this season. The Gators are 4-3 against ranked opponents.