The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic is proving to be a great showcase for the Florida Softball team. The Gators took on UCLA and NC State last night and dispatched them both by the scores of 2-1 and 5-2. Through the team’s dominant pitching and solid defense, the games never felt as close as the score would suggest.
The Gators started their terrific day with a glowing 2-1 victory over No. 10 UCLA. In the circle for the Gators was Junior Delanie Gourley, who effectively scattered seven hits and three walks over the course of six innings. Head Coach Tim Walton then turned to sophomore Aleshia Ocasio for the save. Ocasio didn’t disappoint as she captured her second save of the season with a 1-2-3 seventh along with a strikeout.
With the bats, the Gators squeaked out two runs thanks to RBI singles from Kelsey Stewart and Amanda Lorenz. Justine Mclean also added two singles. In total, the Gators scored just two runs on nine hits while drawing six walks. The team was never able to strike a big blow against UCLA starter Selina Ta’Amilo and reliever Johanna Grauer, as all nine of their hits were singles.
Against NC State, the story was all about Kelly Barnhill. She improved her record to 4-0 by blasting through the Wolfpack lineup with 14 strikeouts over seven innings while only allowing one earned run on two hits. The 14 strikeouts is a career high for the freshman who is already making her mark on the Gators rotation this season.
On the offensive side, the Gators were able to do more than enough to win behind Barnhill. Kelsey Stewart, Taylore Fuller and Aubree Munro paced the team with two hits apiece. Amanda Lorenz added a double, and Nicole Dewitt blasted a two-run homerun to start the scoring in the top of the first for the Gators. In total, the team was able to put up five runs on 10 hits while drawing seven walks. While the Gators were not able to break the game open, they showed terrific plate discipline to draw a high number of walks while also scorching a good number of balls off of NC State Starter Courtney Mirabella.
The Gators have now outscored their opponents 97-7, leading to an astounding 90 run differential. The team looks to continue their dominance with a double header against Nebraska and No. 8 ranked Washington starting on Friday evening.