Barnhill, Gators Continue To Roll
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Kelly Barnhill and Co. are busy confusing hitters left and right, following a shutout with a combined no-hitter.
Florida ran away with an 8-0 no-hitter over Boise State after quickly laying the offense down in the first two innings.
It’s been seven years since Boise State and Florida met, but Florida seemed to have Boise State completely figured out.
Boise State scrambled to keep up. What began as a slow 2-out scoring relay manifested itself into complete domination. After a score from Hannah Adams, Sophia Reynoso and Jordan Roberts fed off of a Jade Caraway single for runs of their own. Two singles followed Caraway’s to finish out the six-run inning.
Boise State pitcher Gianna Mancha looked visibly shaken, and was exchanged for Veronica Lynch before Florida was even out.
Caraway and Adams put the icing on the cake in the second inning, each going 2-for-2 while Caraway recorded three RBI.
Adams believes the concentration Florida has honed in on is translating into results.
“Aside from the confidence, our whole team has talked about whatever happened in the regular season doesn't matter since it's postseason,” Adams said. “Your last at-bats don't even matter, you just need to focus on the moment.”
Florida’s Kelly Barnhill kept Boise State’s best hitters quiet for two innings before sophomore Natalie Lugo stepped in to finish the job. The duo combined for five strikeouts, with Barnhill collecting three and Lugo picking up two.
Lugo’s perfect three innings earned her eighth win of the season in her first postseason appearance.
“I try not to tell myself that I'm pitching in a no-hitter,” Lugo said, beaming. “I saw it on the board in like the fourth inning and I just kind of let it go and tried not to think about it too much.”
But Boise State wasn’t out of the picture just yet.
Stanford Dominates BU
The Stanford Cardinals did a complete 360 in a 13-2 win against the Boston University Terriers, likely inspired by the tough blowout delivered to them by Boise State the day before.
In turn, Ashley Waters and her Patriot League Champions were the first to leave Gainesville in the heartbreaking mid-day elimination contest.
Missing graduation weekend made the Boston University Terriers trip to Gainesville only heightened the emotions, with five seniors in the starting lineup.
Waters concluded her fourth-year as head coach, a conclusion that was perhaps a little more teary-eyed than others.
“I came in with them (the seniors), so I felt like we were all newbies together,” Waters said. “It’s tough to say goodbye.”
Although Boston University was the first to score with a pair of runs in the second inning, Stanford quickly responded in the third inning with a fiery six runs and a Whitney Burks home run, her seventh for the season.
The help of solid pitching from Carolyn Lee and a weakened Boston University infield led to three consecutive scoring innings. Right after the six in the third, Stanford assembled five more runs, benefitting from costly errors from Boston University.
The Boston University infield compiled four out of five total errors in five innings of play, with Coach Waters calling the mistakes “haunting.”
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Waters coach said. “We didn’t play well.”
Boise State Regroups, Sets Up Rematch with Gators
Stanford advanced into Saturday evening’s elimination game to face a hungry Boise State, who had some time to regroup after the loss to Florida.
Kelsey Broadus waited all day for her turn time to shine, and pitched a shutout to knock a tired Stanford out, 2-0, adding another win to the team’s historic postseason run.
Despite throwing three strikeouts, the 2018 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year kept the same poker face the entire game. Even when Boise State took the lead, Broadus stayed sharp.
“One big goal I wanted to accomplish over the season was to not let the opponent or anyone know how I feel,” Broadus said. “I think today was a good example of my improvement.”
She fully exhausted a Stanford offense who couldn’t follow up the blowout win in the previous game. They compiled a total of four hits, but failed to make any real movement.
Even so, Stanford head coach Jessica Allister took pride in her team’s toughness.
“The journey of the season was a good one,” Allister said. “We should walk out of here with our heads held high.”
It took four and a half scoreless innings, but two back-to-back singles from Kora Wade and Rebekah Cervantes took Boise State to the top.
Wade’s single influenced a slide home from Karlee Johnson, who brushed home plate to break the scoreless streak. Wade followed her home shortly after Cervantes’ single.
“I’m really proud of how resilient we were, and the desire to want to keep playing and fighting for each other,” said Boise State head coach Maggie Livreri.
Saturday’s final game was the only one that went to a full seven innings. But Boise State looked ready to compete, no matter the length of the contest. And wherever Boise State goes this Sunday, history will follow.