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Gators Softball went 26-6 this past season. Michelle Moultrie (not pictured) is currently representing the USA in the London Olympics.

Preview: Gator Softball Heads West

The University of Florida softball team is headed west. The Gators will face five other teams over a 3 day period in their last tournament. The Gators start the tournament on Thursday at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California.

Who’s Attending

The Gators will face Iowa, Long Beach State, Cal, UCLA and Northwestern. The Gators defeated Iowa in 2015, Long Beach State in 2015, Cal in 2013, UCLA in 2016, and Northwestern way back in the day.

Key Players

Kelly Barnhill and Delaine Gourley gave the Gators their sixth shutout over the last seven games. Gourley was selected as one of thirty collegiate softball student-athletes from around the country as a candidate for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award on Tuesday. Gourley has been noticed of her excellent leadership skills on and off the field. No doubt those will shine through during their tournament this weekend. Barnhill has a scoreless inning streak with 34 innings after allowing no hits and just one walk with 11 strikeouts in the last win over Lehigh.

Strategy

Keeping the runs down is key. The Gators have not allowed an earned run in regulation since the Aquafina Invitational against Maryland. That’s the last seven games and only one run allowed. This team has great defense and knows how to play the field.

Against Iowa (2-7)

The Hawkeyes have been on a losing streak, but they’ve been able to put points up on the board.

Against Long Beach State (5-6)

When this team wins, they win by a lot. Their ability to make offensive plays at the right time is something to lookout for.

Against Cal (12-1)

This team is the biggest competition for the Gators. They are currently on a winning streak of 9 games.

Against UCLA (13-3)

This team is right in the middle. They are 13-3, but with their recent loss to Florida State, the Gators should be able to handle them easily.

Against Northwestern (3-10)

This team should be the least of the Gator worries. However, Northwestern is on a winning streak after beating N.C. State and Houston.

The Gators’ first game is against the Hawkeyes on Thursday at 3 p.m.

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