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Gators Softball: Florida Blanks Maryland and Iowa State

Florida ended the second day of the Aquafina Invitational with a 12-0 and 8-0 win against the Maryland Terrapins and Iowa State Cyclones, respectively. Aleshia Ocasio got her sixth win of the season to improve to 6-1 after a three-inning, two strikeout performance. On the other hand, Kelly Barnhill returned to the circle and remains undefeated at 6-0. Both starting pitchers finished with no-hitters with the Gators remaining undefeated at home.

Maryland

Florida showed no signs of decay in its second game against Maryland (first game on Feb. 24). Aleshia Ocasio and Natalie Lugo combined for five innings, where Lugo gave up the only hit to the Terrapins in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a pinch-hit single from Bailey Boyd. The Gators offense continues to take advantage of subpar pitching from the opposition. Maryland had a hard time throwing strikes. Outside pitches resulted in walks that gave the Gators runs and the Terrapins a bigger headache. In just the first inning, starting pitcher Lauren Graves left the game after two consecutive walks to start the game.

Sydney Golden would replace her, but a third straight walk placed Amanda Lorenz on first to load the bases. Kayli Kvistad, who had four RBI for the game, brought in all three runs thanks to a line drive double past the shortstop and into left-center field. Ocasio would add a run by hitting a sac-fly to left center field.

Florida was held scoreless in the second, but that was shortlived when Sophia Reynoso doubled to center field in the top of the third to add two more runs. Reynoso claimed her first hits since the first set of games of the season in Tampa. She was happy that she took that weight off her shoulders.

The score was already 6-0, but it wasn’t over yet. Left-center continued to be a hot zone for Florida. Hannah Adams would double to bring Reynoso right back home after three pitches. Four runs and three hits in the top of the third was topped by two runs in the fourth and the fifth inning. The Gators finished with 10 hits and seven runners left on base.

Iowa State

In the same manner, the Gators were on the board early against Iowa State with the only triple of the day from Amanda Lorenz.  Nicole DeWitt would score after another double for Florida today. Janell Wheaton flied out to right field to bring in Lorenz for the 19th time this season (the team leader in runs scored). Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill started the gameand looked to deliver another stellar performance in the circle and she didn’t disappoint with a no-hit performance kept alive by Lorenz’s diving catch in the top of the third.

The focal point of the game was a six-run fourth inning by Florida. Dewitt, Lorenz, Adams, and Kvistad all doubled to blow any hope of a comeback by the Cyclones. Barnhill would end the game with nine strikeouts. Head Coach Tim Walton believes the team played very well all around.

“It’s really hard to put the light on one player. I thought all of our players played really well,” Walton said.

The final two games of the tournament take place at 11 a.m. in the second game against Iowa State and a 1:30 p.m. start time against Georgia Southern.

About Homar Hernandez

Sports Journalist @ESPNGainesville, @VAVEL, @VAVEL_USA, @WUFTNews. Telecom at @UF. Miami Aficionado. Views are my own. RT's ≠ endorsements.

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