Photo taken by: Adler Garfield. AAU.

No. 4 Gators Softball Head to Arizona for the Littlewood Classic

No. 4 Florida Gators softball head to Tempe, Arizona this Friday to compete in the Littlewood Classic hosted by No. 14 Arizona State. The Gators (6-0) will look to extend their flawless record after beating UNF in a regular season game during the week.

The Season So far

Florida started its campaign as expected.

The Gators won all five USF Opening Weekend Invitational games last weekend, including a 6-0 sweep against No. 19 Michigan.

Kelly Barnhill earned her tenth career Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week award after her fantastic performance at the USF Open. Barnhill pitched 19.0 innings, struck out 26 batters and recorded a .0.74 ERA.

The Gators debuted in the newly-renovated Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Tuesday night against the Japan International team. Despite losing 8-0 against Japan, the second-ranked national team in the world, the Gators responded with a 3-1 victory over UNF on Wednesday.

What To Expect From the Gators

Pitcher Natalie Lugo played a solid six inning game against UNF, striking out five batters and only allowing two hits and one run. However, Barnhill is expected to start against the Redbirds.

Barnhill enters the tournament having pitched 20 innings and fanning 29 batters with a .70 ERA.

It’s probable that Senior Amanda Lorenz will tie or break former Florida standout Kayli Kvistad’s career walk record. Lorenz currently has 180 and is only 6 walks away from tying the record.

Head Coach Tim Walton is looking for a better offensive showcase throughout the tournament.

Walton is expecting more from the Gators’ third, fourth and fifth batters.

The Competition:

  • 2/15 vs. Illinois State (0-5) @4:00 p.m. ET
    • Illinois State fell to hosts No. 14 Arizona State 9-6 Thursday in the opening game of the tournament.
    • Last meeting vs. UF: USF Open
      • UF demolished Illinois State last weekend 15-0 in just 5 innings.
  • 2/15 No. 14 Arizona State (4-1) @9:00 p.m. ET
    • Arizona State defeated Illinois State in the opening game of the tournament.
    • Last meeting vs. UF: June 7, 2011
      • UF lost 7-2 in Oklahoma City
    • Key players
      • Taylor Becerra- drove in three runs vs. Illinois State
      • Samantha Mejia- right-handed-pitcher (4-0)
  • 2/16 San Diego (2-4) @1:30 p.m. ET
    • San Diego beat UC Riverside 6-3 last weekend.
    • Last meeting vs. UF: Feb. 28, 2015
      • UF had an 8-0 shutout in 5 innings.
    • San Diego’s first game is today against Utah State.
  • 2/16 Utah State (1-4) @6:30 p.m. ET
    • Utah State lost to Louisville 5-7 last weekend.
    • Last meeting vs. UF: First meeting
      • Utah State faces the Gators for the first time.
    • Utah’s first game is today against Central Michigan.
  • 2/17 Central Michigan (1-4) @11:00 a.m. ET
    • Central Michigan lost to Charleston 1-3 last weekend.
    • Last meeting vs. UF: March 5, 2006
      • UF aced Central Michigan 8-0 in 5 innings
    • Michigan’s first game is today against Utah State.

About Juan Aguerrevere

Figuring out a plan to make it big in the soccer scene in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. For now, I'm having a blast writing for ESPN Gainesville and learning a lot from managers and students around the workplace. I'm covering the TV beat for Gators Soccer. What a team! Follow me on twitter: @J_AguerrevereUF

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