There may have been some frayed nerves in the stands at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on a steamy Friday as inning after inning went by without Florida generating a hit.
But not in the Florida dugout.
“Eventually,” said catcher Kendyl Lindaman, “we caught on.”
Baffled by Boston pitcher Ali DuBois’s collection of off-speed pitches for four hitless innings, Florida finally responded in the fifth with three runs and all four of the Gators’ hits to win its first game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional 3-0 over Boston University.
Lindaman broke a scoreless tie with a double to drive home Cheyenne Lindsey, who started the rally with the first hit of the game, and Hannah Adams followed with a two-run single as 1,436 watched.
“I knew she was going to throw me that change again and I was just ready for it,” Lindaman said.
Florida (45-15) will face Boise State (35-14) in the first game Saturday at 2 p.m. The winner advances to Sunday and the loser has to return and play the winner of the late afternoon loser’s bracket game Saturday night.
“We were really smart throwing Kelly Barnhill (in the opener),” said Florida coach Tim Walton. “We just felt their pitching staff was pretty good, they played good teams close.”
Barnhill responded with a four-hit shutout, striking out five. She has allowed only one run in her four postseason starts this season.
“I personally don’t think I had my best game, but it doesn’t matter because we got the win,” said Barnhill (31-11).
Barnhill got out of her only real mess in the sixth when she gave up two hits to start the inning. That inning ended when shortstop Sophia Reynoso flipped head-over-heels into the camera well to come up with a foul pop up.
“She makes everything look easy, even when she’s diving into camera wells,” Barnhill said.
The Gators went into the fifth without a hit or even a hard-hit ball, as DuBois kept UF off balance.
“I knew I’d need a change-up against a powerhouse like Florida so in warm-ups I tried to dial it in,” DuBois said.
She escaped a jam in the second after a walk and hit batsmen. But in the fifth, Lindsey did the same thing she did in Florida’s SEC Tournament win over Alabama on Saturday — get something started.
Her bouncing single not only broke up the no-no, but started a chain reaction when Walton chose to bunt her over to second.
“That’s an unconventional bunt for me,” Walton said. “It was kind of a chess match at that point. I wanted to see what they would do with Amanda (Lorenz) and Kendyl.”
DuBois had struck Lorenz out for only the 16th time this season (in 60 games) in the third inning, but this time walked her on four pitches. Lindaman delivered what turned out to be the winning hit and Adams came through with the insurance with a rip to right.
“We knew (we were being no-hit) because it was being passed around the dugout,” Adams said. “But we weren’t pressured by it.”
Next up for the Gators is Boise State, which rolled over Stanford 9-1 in the first game of the day with five runs in the fourth inning and four more in the seventh.
The Broncos belted out 10 hits in the game, as Karlee Johnson had three RBIs. Stanford (32-19) only allowed three earned runs in the game but committed two costly errors.
Stanford and Boston will play the second game of the day Saturday.
NCAA Gainesville Regional
At Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium
Boise State 9, Stanford 1
Florida 3, Boston University 0
Game 3 — Boise State (35-14) vs. Florida (45-15), 2 p.m.
Game 4 — Stanford (32-19) vs. Boston (37-19), 4:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.
Radio: 92.1-FM, 1230-AM
TV: ESPN family of networks