FLORIDA 10, TENNESSEE 2 (5)
Columbia, MO– History has repeated itself. For the first time since 2009 an SEC Tournament semifinal game was won via run rule. The Gators topped Tennessee 10-2 in five innings behind a pair of Nicole DeWitt home runs.
Junior Kelly Barnhill pitched the complete game despite throwing more than one hundred pitches, including 35 in the first inning alone. Barnhill allowed five hits, but struck out nine and only walked two despite an incredibly small strike zone.
Tennessee’s Matty Moss didn’t fare as well. Moss finished the game with only one strikeout while walking eighth in three innings of work. Moss allowed a first inning two run homer to DeWitt, then promptly walked the next two Gators hitters before being relieved by Caylan Arnold.
Arnold struggled through the second inning giving up a four-spot on the scoreboard. DeWitt hit her second homer of the game, a three run shot that opened the floodgates and gave the Gators a 7-0 advantage.
Janell Wheaton connected with a double that scored Alex Voss to increase the lead to eight. (Wheaton also had an RBI single in the first.)
The Volunteers got on the board in the third with a pair of runs as they finally got to Barnhill with three hits, but a perfect relay from second baseman Hannah Adams to Wheaton caught Chelsea Seggern out at the plate to end the threat.
The Gators tacked on another insurance run in the fourth and completed the run-rule victory in the bottom of the fifth as Moss struggled with her command. When Moss did find the strike zone, Florida hitters were able to put a solid bat on it. The final sequence of the game saw Amanda Lorenz nearly end the game with an opposite field shot that landed in a Volunteers glove at the wall. DeWitt was intentionally walked followed by a Kayli Kvistad unintentional walk to load the bases. Freshman outfielder Jordan Matthews, who got ahead 3-1 in the count, took a 3-2 pitch to center to score Adams and end the game.
DeWitt finished the game tying a career high with five RBI while going 2-3 at the dish. DeWitt is up to 13 homers on the year which leads the Gators.
Moss threw a total of 98 pitches over the three innings she pitched. Only 45 of those were in the strike zone.
Florida will face South Carolina in the title game on Saturday. The game is slated for an 8:00 PM start on ESPN 2.
W: Barnhill (26-1)
L: Moss (17-6)