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PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Houston/UAA Communications

Gators Softball Shut Out by Third-Ranked Noles

Florida softball’s hitting issues continued Wednesday night. The eighth-ranked Gators suffered a 2-0 loss to rival Florida State in the first game of the Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown.

It marks the team’s third straight loss and drops Florida to 9-9 against Top 25 opponents this season.

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Kelly Barnhill on the loss:

More Struggles at the Plate

Despite six hits, Florida struggled to get a runner past second base let alone bring one around to score. Tim Walton’s team stranded a combined seven baserunners on the night.

Amanda Lorenz was the only Gator player to reach third. Jordan Roberts struck out in the next at-bat to strand both her and Kendyl Lindaman on the corners in the first inning.

Tim Walton on Florida’s offensive difficulties:

However, the Gators also ran into a buzz saw in senior Meghan King for Florida State. After her complete game shutout, her earned run average dropped to 1.06 on the year.

She finished the game with eight strikeouts, no walks and six hits allowed on 104 total pitches.

Walton on King’s performance:

Walton said he saw Florida’s possible woes as far back as October. Lack of production with runners on base has been a reoccurring theme for the Gators.

“It’s really hard to work on those things because (in) most situations its a confidence state,” Walton said. “Just getting up there and doing it, getting up there and feeling good about it.”

Barnhill Settles After Shaky Start

Kelly Barnhill threw 60 pitches through the first two innings of play. She’d allow two runs and three walks in those two innings as well.

One of them was on a home run by Makinzy Herzog that scraped the top of the right field fence. Barnhill said she was surprised the home run landed as close as it did.

She’d come back to strike out five more batters to just one more walk on 65 pitches in the next four innings. She corralled an FSU offense that boasts a handful players who have over 40 runs scored on the season.

Barnhill came into the game coming off a 25-inning, 352-pitch weekend against Ole Miss. She said her arm was able to get a little rest and relaxation on Monday.

Walton on Barnhill:

Holding Out Hope

“I don’t coach with hope,” Walton said postgame.

But that doesn’t mean his players aren’t playing with it. Barnhill and Lindaman echoed the same sentiment that things will turn around for this team.

Barnhill on hope for the team:

The team will stay in Gainesville this weekend as they face the 14th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks for its first conference series at home since the beginning of March.

They’ll see a familiar face as former Gator star Nicole DeWitt is a graduate manager for the Razorbacks.

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