Final: Alabama 15, Florida 3
For most of the year the Florida softball team looked like a team that had little shot of making a trip to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series.
The team then went on an incredible run and claimed the SEC Tournament title with four straight victories over Top-20 competition. The Gators were named the nation’s number five seed on Selection Sunday as a result, but even then there was an uncomfortable feeling about this team.
Kelly Barnhill led the Gators on their post-season tear, something that was necessary due to an inconsistent, at best, offense.
On Saturday, the Gators offense couldn’t make up for an off night for their ace pitcher. Instead, the Gators off-season will start with many questions about how to replace two players whose impact was far more than their program record statistics.
Barnhill missed her spots for much of her brief outing and before three outs had been recorded the Crimson Tide had a 6-0 lead thanks to a pair of three run homers. Barnhill was pulled with two down in the inning, giving way to freshman Elizabeth Hightower.
The Tide put the game out of reach in the third and fourth inning when they added four and then five runs to increase the lead to 12-0.
Kelly Barnhill re-entered in the fourth to toss one pitch (a strike) and receive the ovation she deserved in her final appearance in the Orange and Blue.
In her final at-bat, Amanda Lorenz lined out to centerfield. Lorenz was seen wiping tears away during the at-bat.
Florida did add three runs in the top of the fifth. Kendyl Lindaman hit her fifteenth homer of the season while Sophia Reynoso added her second- a two run shot.
- Sophia Reynoso: 2-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB
- Kendyl Lindaman: 2-3, HR, RBI
- Cheyenne Lindsey: 1-1
The Gators season has come to an end. Florida will look to fill a major void in the lineup and the pitching rotation as two generational talents have graduated.
It’s likely Florida will look to the transfer market for immediate impact players, regardless, the Gators will once again expect to compete for a trip to Oklahoma City.