The fourth-ranked Florida softball team finishes the regular season on the road against the Missouri Tigers starting Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m. After winning two of three against the Louisiana State Tigers last weekend, the Gators are looking to win their sixth-straight Southeastern Conference regular-season series. Florida (44-8, 17-4 SEC) can clinch its fourth consecutive regular-season SEC championship with wins against Missouri.
Missouri (28-24, 6-14 SEC) has not beaten Florida since winning 3-2 in eight innings on May 3, 2015. Since then, the Gators outscored the Tigers 7-0 in a two-game series last season, making Florida 9-4 all-time against Missouri.
Left fielder Amanda Lorenz has led the Gators to nine wins in 10 games, reaching base safely in every game so far this season. Even if she’s not hitting, pitchers are walking her, giving Florida plenty of opportunities to score. The Gators lead the conference in runs scored (331), runs batted in (314) and on-base percentage (0.426). This efficiency also translates to defense and pitching, with Florida leading in fielding percentage (0.983), opposing batting average (0.149) and batters struck out (455). Kelly Barnhill (24-1) has also been good in her last three starts with 39 strikeouts versus Florida State and LSU, allowing four runs.
Head Coach Tim Walton joined Steve Russell on Sportscene to talk about his team (33:30). Walton says there’s no one SEC program running away with the conference this season.
“This is going to be the most SEC softball loses an SEC champion is going to have,” Walton said.
However, Missouri is on a four-game winning streak and is 13-4 this season at Mizzou Softball Stadium. The Tigers blanked Western Illinois and Arkansas-Pine Bluff 21-0 in those four games. In the last SEC matchups, the Tigers were swept by South Carolina but swept Auburn the weekend beforehand. The Tigers has also won against a game against Mississippi State, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia.
The Gators will remain at Mizzou Stadium to play in the 2018 SEC Tournament held May 9-12. Last season, top-seeded Florida was upset by eight-seed Ole Miss 2-0, making the Gators the first No. 1 seed to not get past its first game in the 20-year history of the tournament.