Florida Sweeps Regional, Advances To Supers
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Ninety-degree heat against the 10th-ranked scoring offense in Division I softball to make Super Regionals seems like a daunting task.
Not for Kelly Barnhill.
It was a clash of orange and blue on both sides that ultimately favored the Gainesville Regional host, where Florida topped Boise State with a 5-0 win.
Barnhill and her relief crew held every opponent this weekend to no runs. She picked up a total of 14 strikeouts in the span of three days in Friday’s shutout, a combined no-hitter on Saturday, and a run-free rematch against Boise State on Sunday.
Stellar play under her belt, Barnhill believes she didn’t pitch to her full potential.
“Personally, I didn’t think I threw my best this weekend,” Barnhill said. “But it was enough for my defense to work and get great outs.”
With cooperation from a well-rested infield and outfield, Florida’s defense held Boise State to just three hits on Sunday.
Amanda Lorenz alone produced three hits on four at-bats, scoring off of a wild pitch in the first inning. Runs from Kendyl Lindaman, Lily Mann and Sophia Reynoso supplemented the effort.
The high-scoring Florida offense was missing one thing all weekend; a home run, which Jaimie Hoover delivered in a fourth inning bomb that stunned a beaten down Boise State defense.
Riding off of the SEC Championship success in College Station, Florida head coach Tim Walton took immense pride in his team’s performance.
“Proud of the way we were able to turn the page and play our best softball in the postseason,” Walton said.
Florida will host SEC foe Tennessee in Super Regionals.
Kelsey Broadus attempted to repeat the damage she’d inflicted on Stanford in the 2-0 Saturday night win that took Boise State to Championship Sunday, but made an early exit after she allowed six hits and four runs in four innings.
The offense struggled to create any real movement on just three hits.
Seniors Kora Wade, Rebekah Cervantes and Morgan Lamb all acknowledged the transformative growth the program has undergone since their freshman year.
“Just coming in here and leaving the program better than we found it,” Wade said. “We came in at a very low point.”
In their first season in 2016, Boise State went 14-38, but have finished every succeeding season over .600, and became the 2018 Mountain West Conference champions.
For Boise State, the history was invaluable, but playing under first-year head coach Maggie Livreri showed its seniors that the season at large was bigger than softball.
“Softball is a big part of our life, but it’s not our entire life,” Wade said. “I think creating those leaders and experiences with the other girls (underclassmen), they’ll be able to move on after softball and know that they can still do something with their lives.”
Livreri believes the historic postseason run was mostly due in part by the work of her team.
“I think everybody saw that we were capable of competing at a high level,” Livreri said. “I don’t even know if they knew how capable they were until they were in the arena.”