#6 Florida faced off against a very good #8 Texas A&M team in a weekend series that wrapped up on Monday. The Gators swept the Aggies, who were undefeated in conference play entering the series. Florida received quality starts from Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio, but the bats were the real story. Florida combined for twenty-three runs in the series and improve to 27-3 overall and 7-2 in SEC play.
FLORIDA 6, TEXAS A&M 1
Gainesville, FL– Florida opened a big conference series with Texas A&M on Saturday with a 6-1 win.
The Gators jumped on the Aggies early scoring four runs highlighted by Janell Wheaton’s two-run home run in the bottom of the first to give junior pitcher Kelly Barnhill a 4-0 lead. All four first inning runs were charged to A&M’s starter Samantha Show, who was relieved after getting a single out.
Florida struck for two more runs in the fourth inning to extend their lead to six. Jaimie Hoover hit an RBI double that scored Hannah Adams and Amanda Lorenz followed that with an RBI single.
Kelly Barnhill was in cruise control with the big lead, and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. In the sixth inning, the Aggies’ Sarah Hudek connected with a pitch and sent it over the right-centerfield fence for Texas A&M’s lone run.
Barnhill finished the night with a complete game, allowing two hits and striking out 12 hitters.
Lorenz hit 2-3 in the game adding two singles to a stat line that included a run scored and an RBI.
W: Kelly Barnhill (13-1)
L: Hannah Parker (5-3)
FLORIDA 10, TEXAS A&M 0 (5)
Gainesville, FL– Nicole DeWitt led an offensive barrage on Texas A&M as Florida tagged Aggies starter Kayla Poynter with five runs in the first inning including homers by DeWitt and Hannah Adams. Adams’ two run bomb was the first of her career. Poynter was relieved after only recording two outs.
Florida added a run in the second on a Jordan Matthews single to third base that scored DeWitt.
The Gators then added three more scores in the third when DeWitt hit a bases loaded double off the top of the wall. The ball actually hit the top of the wall, but the backspin caused it to return to the playing field, plating three instead of four.
Florida would add the tenth run in the fourth when Haven Sampson scored on an Amanda Lorenz groundout to second.
DeWitt finished the game 2-3 with a walk, 5 RBI and two runs scored.
Aleshia Ocasio pitched well in the circle and said after the game that it’s much easier to pitch with the lead like she has much of the year. Her final line read: 5 IP, 6 K, 0 BB, 1 H.
Adams said that hitting her first home run was “the coolest thing ever!”
Gators head coach Tim Walton stated that he expected TAMU to turn to senior Trinity Harrington to start the game, but that he believed A&M coach Jo Evans was playing matchups and Poynter pitched 2.2 innings of no-hit ball at the end of the previous night’s contest.
W: Ocasio (11-2)
L: Barnhill (11-1)
FLORIDA 7, TEXAS A&M 3
Gainesville, FL– For the third straight game Florida’s got runs early and the Aggies were forced to make a pitching change before the first inning had expired.
The Gators took a 4-0 lead to the second inning thanks to five walks to six hitters by TAMU starter Lexi Smith. Smith was removed with a 2-0 count on Hannah Adams, reliever Trinity Harrington came in and finished the at-bat by walking in the fourth run for Florida.
Harrington cruised through a pair of 3-up, 3-down innings before the Gators were able to tag her with two runs in the fourth frame. Jordan Matthews hit the 2-RBI single to score Amanda Lorenz and Nicole DeWitt.
Janell Wheaton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth to give the Gators an insurance run.
Matthews went 1-2 with two walks, 3 RBI and a run scored. For Texas A&M Samantha Show went 2-3 with a solo homer and and RBI single.
Kelly Barnhill pitched six innings in earning her 14th win of the year. She allowed three runs and five hits while striking out ten before giving way to Aleshia Ocasio to finish the game.
W: Barnhill (14-1)
L: Lexi Smith (5-1)
The Gators are now 27-3 and 7-2 in conference play. Florida is tied with Georgia for second place in the SEC standings.
Florida will face Florida International in a midweek doubleheader on Wednesday and will take on Hampton and Jacksonville in back to back doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.
SEC STANDINGS (THROUGH MARCH 26):
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