Oct 22, 2016; Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA; Florida Gators starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill (11) pitches against the Florida State Seminoles during the Rising Stars showcase at Central Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

UF Softball Pitcher Kelly Barnhill Awarded With Player Of The Year Honor

It was quite a year for Florida sophomore softball pitcher Kelly Barnhill and because of it, she was honored as the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She becomes just the second Gator ever to be given this award and just the second sophomore ever to win it.

Incredible Year

Barnhill was simply dominant in 2017. She was 24-3 on the year with a nation-leading 0.36 ERA. She held opposing hitters to a .117 batting average and struck out 333 batters.  She is chasing Stacey Nelson’s season strikeout totals when she fanned 357 in 2009 and 363 in 2008.

Against Top 25 opponents, Barnhill won 14 times with nine shutout performances.  Over the course of the year, she had scoreless inning streaks of 45.2 and 51.0 innings, higher than any other streak from the pitching staff. Barnhill also struck out the side 48 times.

In Good Company

Lauren Haeger was the other Gator to win the award back in 2015. She was also dominant in the circle.

  • 32-2, 1.23 ERA, 214 Ks, .185 opponent batting average

Haeger made a more day to day impact on the team with her bat as she hit 17 home runs and drove in 71 runners. She anchored the Gators to their second title in 2015 and Barnhill hopes to get Florida its third with her performance in the circle.

Up Next

The Florida Gators begin the Women’s College World Series on Thursday against Texas A&M. First pitch is at noon.b

About Fernando Juncadella

Senior at the University of Florida. Working at ESPN Gainesville for four years, covering Florida football, softball, and baseball.

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