After coming off of a 7-0 win against Winthrop Wednesday night, and that win being head softball Coach Tim Walton’s 700th career victory, Lady Gator softball prepares for their second SEC match-up of the season. Although the home game against the Winthrop Eagles was a shut out, Coach Tim Walton felt that it was a tiring game for the team,
“I don’t think we were really close to being our best today mentally or physically just because of coming off of a tough draining series at Auburn”.
The Gators are currently 27-1 with their lone loss to the Auburn Tigers. The Gators are still ranked No. 1 in the country, but are looking to bounce back at home. The upcoming game will be their first SEC game at home and is against the Tennessee Volunteers
The Vols travel down to Gainesville Friday for the weekend series. Tennessee is currently 21-5 with four of their losses coming against ranked teams. The Vols are ranked 19th in the country and they extended their 11 game winning streak Wednesday night with a 9-4 win over North Florida in Jacksonville.
UT is fifth in the country with scoring 8.65 runs per game and in the top ten for both slugging(.602) and on-base percentage (.481) Tennessee has done well through their lineup with 10 players batting over .310 or better this season.
Florida’s pitchers are also very threatening with Aleshia Ocasio, Delanie Gourley, and Kelly Barnhill. The freshman Barnhill, in their last game against Winthrop, had 18 strikeouts which tied a school single game record that her and Gourley set against Florida A&M. Ocasio and Gourley also have ERA’s under 1.00 with Ocasio’s .28, second in the SEC.
Currently the Gators lead the all-time series 44-25 against UT, but Tennessee beat Florida in last year’s semifinals at the SEC Tournament. At the 2015 Women’s College World Series UF came back and defeated the Vols 7-2 in the opening game at the College World Series, where the Gators eventually became back-to-back national champions.
The three day weekend series starts Friday in Gainesville at the Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Friday night at 7 p.m.