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Rogers, Lady Vols Struggle In Game 1 Loss To Florida

(Photo Courtesy of Florida Athletics)

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Ashley Rogers does not fare well in series openers at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Tennessee’s freshman starting pitcher lasted 0.1 of an inning when she started in the Gators’ and Volunteers’ first meeting of the season on March 8, and her time in the circle was short-lived on Friday night.

Rogers only hurled 1.0 inning before being pulled in the Gainesville Super Regional opener. Her two earned runs to start contest, as well as opposing starter Kelly Barnhill’s success, contributed heavily to Florida’s 3-0 victory over UT.

The Gators are one win away from reaching the Women’s College World Series for the third-straight season.

The Volunteers’ wins leader (21) threw only 19 strikes in 34 pitches, and she walked UF leadoff batter Amanda Lorenz on four pitches.

“We can kind of tell when her control is a little off because usually she’s pretty pinpoint,” UT coach Karen Weekly said. “Some of her pitches were, you know, missing by quite a bit, and I think it was just adrenaline early in the game.”

Lorenz walked three times in the Florida win, tying Arkansas’ Devon Wallace (2012-15) for the SEC career walks lead at 235.

Designated player Kendyl Lindaman worked Rogers to a 3-2 count before belting a double over the head of center fielder Cailin Hannon. Lorenz scored from first on the play to give the Gators the lead after only two at-bats.

Lindaman’s double was one of three for the Gators. They out-hit Tennessee 3-0 in extra base knocks.

The UT starter responded to the RBI double with two straight strikeouts. However, Rogers allowed back-to-back singles to right fielder Jaimie Hoover and shortstop Sophia Reynoso, which advanced Lindaman to third then home.

Rogers allowed as many hits (three) as Barnhill relinquished in seven innings.

UF’s senior right-hander threw her eighth complete-game shutout of the season. She struck out seven Volunteers, bringing her season total to 334.

Barnhill held Tennessee to a 0-for-4 clip with runners in scoring position, and the team left eight runners on base.

“It takes so much pressure off when you jump on the other team in that first inning,” Barnhill said. “It makes pitching easier… You’re just having a little bit more fun.”

Tennessee had its best scoring opportunity in the third inning thanks to back-to-back singles by left fielder Jenna Holcomb and shortstop Aubrey Leach. Barnhill hit first baseman Ashley Morgan in the arm to load the bases with two outs, but the UF pitcher forced right fielder Haley Bearden to pop to end the inning.

Barnhill came back in the fifth to strike out Leach, a moment that UF coach Tim Walton called the biggest strikeout of the game.

“That’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the country,” Walton said. “To get her out on that one, that kind of set the stage for the way rest of the lineup was going to go through the rest of the game.”

Florida used the momentum from Barnhill’s strong fifth inning to score in the bottom of the frame.

Catcher Jordan Roberts powered a leadoff single to center field, and pinch runner Amanda Beane scored from first when Hoover followed with a double in the left-center gap.

Despite Barnhill’s strong play and ability to make back-to-back starts, Walton said he’s unsure if she will pitch tomorrow.

“I think that’s the biggest question I have to ask my staff,” Walton said. “It’s a series for a reason.”

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