The Florida Gators (27-3, 7-2 SEC) will host Florida International University (15-18, 2-4 C-USA) in a mid-week doubleheader March 28. Florida swept No. 12 Texas A&M in a three-game home series this weekend. Florida is 14-3 all-time against the Golden Panthers, with all three losses coming at home. The last game against FIU took place on February 19, 2017, resulting in a 5-0 win for Florida. However, the Gators are a perfect 16-0 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium this season after outscoring the Aggies 23-4. On the other hand, Florida is now 7-0 when playing on national television. Junior pitcher Kelly Barnhill is the SEC Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season after picking up three wins (two against Texas A&M) in a week.
Utilizing Opponent’s Mistakes
Despite the Gators only managing three hits Monday night, the patience by Florida hitters at the plate helped them win 7-3 against the Aggies. Florida continues their success in the first inning this season after Texas A&M walked six batters and allowed one hit. For the 22nd time this season, the Gators scored in the first inning. Incredibly, Tim Walton’s team also managed four or more runs in a single inning for the 21st time so far this season. Left fielder Amanda Lorenz has reached base safely in every game this season after being walked three times.
Errors by second baseman Kaitlyn Alderink and third baseman Riley Sartain allowed batters to reach base and runners to advance. Barnhill’s 10 strikeouts helped secure the win despite the lack of hits before the doubleheader.
Latest USA Today/NFCA Rankings:
1. Washington (25)
2. Oklahoma (6)
3. UCLA (1)
8. Arizona State
9. South Carolina
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) March 27, 2018
Rusty Golden Panthers
FIU has not played an official game since a 9-1 win against Louisiana Tech on March 18. Nonetheless, the Golden Panthers have been subpar this season compared to 2017. The team finished 46-15 overall and 17-6 in Conference USA play, but lost two games in the NCAA Gainesville Regional to Oklahoma State. Junior outfielder Jackie Schoff is leading the Panthers in at-bats (114), batting average (.351), slugging percentage (.439) and more offensive categories. The longest winning streak for FIU was four games when they beat Nevada and won the first three games of the FIU Classic at the end of February.