The No. 2 Florida softball team kicked off SEC play in about as good of fashion as they could’ve hoped for.
Florida earned a weekend sweep of No. 23 Kentucky, shutting them out twice and outscoring them 13-2 over the weekend. The Gators notched shutout wins on Friday and Sunday, 6-0 and 4-0 respectively, and won Saturday 3-2 on a walk-off single by Kayli Kvistad in the seventh inning.
“I thought we were pretty clean offensively and found a way to get some runs,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said.
“Defensively and pitching wise we were pretty good. You pitch and play defense the way we did, obviously giving up two runs in a weekend against a team who’s been swinging the bat pretty well, you give credit to our pitching for a good game plan.”
To say the pitching was good might be an understatement.
Kelly Barnhill threw both shutouts over the weekend, which included a complete game no-hitter on Friday. That was her third such game of the season. She tallied 22 strikeouts throughout the weekend, including 13 in her no-hitter.
“It was a little more difficult, especially in the SEC because everyone has the scouting reports on everyone and the more times you go through the lineup, the more adjustments the batters are able to make,” Barnhill said. “So you just really have to focus in on your pitches and throwing and hitting those spots.”
Walton said she did a good job of doing just that.
“Overall, I thought she did a good job of reinventing herself today [Sunday] with her rise ball,” he said. “She got it up out of the zone a couple of times but wasn’t able to really get it leveraged like she did on Friday night. So I think second time through is a little bit more difficult. I thought she did a really good job of changing location.
In addition to Barnhill, Aleshia Ocasio also provided a solid performance from the circle in Saturday’s win, as she tossed a complete game with 10 strikeouts while only allowing two earned runs.
Next up for Florida in its SEC schedule is a trip to Georgia, before coming back to Gainesville for a two-week homestand.