AUBURN, Ala. — No. 7 Florida downed No. 19 Auburn, 7-0, Friday behind senior pitcher Kelly Barnhill’s first no-hitter of the softball season and eighth of her career.
Barnhill became UF’s all-time strikeout record-holder, passing Stacey Nelson (2006-’09). The Marietta, Ga., native tallied her record-breaking 1,117th career strikeout when she retired Makenna Dowell to cap the bottom of the fourth inning of play.
The Gators (38-12, 10-9 SEC) threatened early and often against the Tigers (34-14, 9-10), but didn’t break onto the scoreboard until Amanda Lorenz cranked a three-run home run in the second off of AU’s starting pitcher Ashlee Swindle (9-7).
The three runs were all that Barnhill (26-8) needed, as the Tigers only managed to reach base via a trio of walks and a wild pitch after Barnhill’s fifth strikeout of the game. She finished with 10 Ks. It’s the ninth time this season that the right-hander has struck out 10 or more batters and the sixth time against a top-25 opponent.
Jade Caraway (2-for-3) and Sophia Reynoso (2-for-3) each recorded a pair of hits in the contest, while Lorenz, Kendyl Lindaman, Jordan Roberts, Jaimie Hoover and Cheyenne Lindsey each tallied a hit for the Gators.
The Gators go for the series win at 2 p.m. Saturday in a game televised by ESPN2.
Florida faces Cincinnati for league title
The American Athletic Conference will crown its regular-season champion Saturday at Donald Dizney Stadium after the match between Florida (10-6, 4-0 AAC) and Cincinnati (11-5, 4-0). Opening draw is set for 12 p.m. and the game will be streamed on YouTube.
Today’s game will serve as Senior Day for Florida’s 11 seniors: Paige Aldave, Jillian Alonso, Caroline Benitez, Annie Collins, Kendra Cronin, Madi Hall, Haley Hicklen, Alix Lopez, Caroline May, Sydney Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeck.
Florida is looking to clinch its ninth conference championship in 10 seasons. The Gators have claimed the last eight regular season conference championships (ALC – 2011-14; BIG EAST 2015-18).
Saturday’s matchup will also determine the seeding for the AAC Tournament from May 2-4. The winner will grab the No. 1 seed, while the loser will sit at No. 2. The Vanderbilt-Temple game will determine seedings three and four.
Gators finish play at SEC tourney
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The Florida men’s golf team concluded play at the SEC Championships on Friday, moving up two spots on the leaderboard to finish T11 with Missouri, but out of the event.
After a tough weekend, the Gators were able to move up the leaderboard just enough to secure themselves an above .500 record for a spot in NCAA regional play.
Sophomore John Axelsen had the highest finish for Florida after shooting a team-best 65 in his second round. He only had one birdie in his final round but still finished inside the top 20 at T16.