Preview: Gator Softball Hosts Texas A&M in Super Regionals

Florida, the nation’s No.2 seed, opens best-of-three Super Regional play Thursday night against Texas A&M at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The winner advances to the Women’s College World Series next week.

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History

The Gators (53-8) swept the Aggies (43-16) with a combined score of 23-4, including a 10-o victory, in a weekend series during the regular season.

Senior pitcher Aleshia Ocasio says despite the sweep, the Gators are still going to have to bring their A-game, because “every team in the SEC is a good team, and the Aggies are tough opponents.”

Senior Nicole DeWitt has the same mentality.

“We’re not going to concentrate on how we beat them last time,” DeWitt said. “We’re looking to focus on how we can beat them this time.”

Earlier this month, the Aggies were the first team to get eliminated in the 2018 SEC Softball Tournament, after losing to Mississippi State, 2-0. The Gators went on to win the SEC Championship for the sixth consecutive year when they defeated South Carolina 3-1.

Finalists

This year’s SEC Pitcher of the Year Kelly Barnhill (28-1) and SEC Player of the Year Amanda Lorenz are Top-Four finalists for the 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. They are joined by UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Oklahoma’s Paige Parker.

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Kelly Barnhill

Last year Barnhill won the award, deeming her the second Gator to have won the prestigious award. Former Gator Lauren Haeger received the award in 2015 when the Gators made their back-to-back national championship run.

This season, Barnhill has thrown thrown five complete-game no-hitters, including a perfect game, and two combined no-hitters. She also has three one-hitters on the season. According to FloridaGators.com, she recorded a scoreless inning streak of 37.0 innings, and holds 17 wins and seven shutouts against Top 25 opponents.

Amanda Lorenz

Lorenz has been a menace at the plate, posting an eight game hitting streak. She also has 19 multi-hit games and 16 multi-RBI games. She is Florida’s most reliable batter, reaching base safely in all 61 games played this season.

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“Power-hitter” is an understatement, Lorenz has hit two grand slams this season, against Loyola Marymount (March 1) and Mississippi State (April 21). Additionally, she scored the game-winning run 17 times this season.

The Matchup

Ocasio says the team is focusing on “doing the little things right and not taking a rep off.”

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Coverage of Thursday and Saturday’s games can be seen on ESPN, while Friday’s contest can be seen on ESPN2 with Tiffany Greene and Amanda Scarborough on the call.

About Kate Venezio

Kate Venezio is a fourth-year telecommunication-news student at the University of Florida. Kate does it all: Behind the camera she captures emotional moments as a photographer for the University of Florida Athletic Association. She's comfortable being in front of the camera, too. Kate interviews players, coaches, fans and family members for pre- and post-game coverage as a beat reporter for ESPN Gainesville/WRUF-FM. In addition, Kate produces the sports segment for the weekly WUFT News program. There, she's responsible for writing the script in its entirety to include production commands. The presentation includes video highlights and interviews taped and edited, and Kate then live anchors the final package on a daily deadline. In addition, she writes stories for wruf.com where she informs sports fans of local, state, and national trending topics. Kate also utilizes social media as a tool to help get the stories in front of viewers. 

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