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No. 2 Florida shuts down Ole Miss, 4-2

1699 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

OXFORD, Miss. -- Kayli Kvistad and Amanda Lorenz each hit their second home run of the series and Kelly Barnhill picked up her 14th win in the circle, as No. 2 Florida defeated Ole Miss, 4-2, to sweep its third SEC series of the season. The Gators (38-3/12-3 SEC) swept the Rebels (28-13/4-8 SEC) for the ninth time in their series history.

In addition, UF has now won 15 of the past 16 matchups between these two schools and Florida has now won 13 straight games over Ole Miss in Oxford.

Florida scored in the top of the first inning for its fourth-straight game, as Lorenz mashed a two-run homer to center with two outs. The long ball was her fourth of the season and second this weekend.

Kirsti Merritt got things going with a walk earlier in the inning.

In the fifth, Alex Voss (single), Kelsey Stewart (double) and Kirsti Merritt (single) all recorded hits to lead off the inning. Kvistad followed with an RBI walk to extend UF's lead to 3-0, but that was all Florida could score during in the inning.

After stranding five runners in the first four innings, Ole Miss finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth when the Rebels scored one run on two hits. During that inning with the bases loaded and one out, Florida brought in sophomore Aleshia Ocasio, who surrendered an RBI fielder's choice to Courtney Syrett.

Kvistad and UM's Haley Ashton traded solo homers in the seventh inning to bring the game to its final score of 4-2.

Overall in the circle, Barnhill (14-0) allowed one run on one hit with a season-high tying five walks and an SEC-high tying nine strikeouts. Ocasio, who earned her fifth save of the season, tossed 2.2 innings and allowed one run and two hits while striking out two Rebels.

Ocasio save total is now tied atop Florida's record book with five other Gators.

Team Notes

  • Florida is now 38-3, which is tied for the second best start to a season in school history with its 2013 and 2009 squads.
  • UF began the 2008 season with 39-2 mark.
  • After today's win, Florida is 12-3 in conference play, which matches UF's best start in SEC play since 2013.
  • Florida's senior class is now 211-31, which is tied for seventh among four-year class records in program history.
  • They are tied with the UF's 2013 graduating class that went 211-45 throughout its four seasons.
  • Taylore Fuller, Kirsti Merritt, Aubree Munro, Taylor Schwarz and Kelsey Stewart are trying to catch UF's 2011 class which boasted a 238-33 mark during their four years.
  • Tim Walton is now just 10 wins away from his 600th win at Florida.
  • Walton earned his 700th career win on March 12 at Auburn.
  • Sunday's game was streamed online on SEC Network+. Florida is now 18-2 in contests that are streamed online this season.
  • UF entered this week not ranked No. 1 in either Top 25 poll for the first time since April 7, 2015.

Stat Watch

  • UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 245-41.
  • In 2015, UF had a plus-232 run differential (309-77) through 41 games.
  • In 2014, UF had a plus-174 run differential (271-97) through 41 games.
  • Florida's 41 runs allowed through 41 games is the second fewest in school history through this point in any season.
  • UF's 2009 squad allowed 37 tallies through 41 contests and Florida's last two NCAA Championship teams had allowed 75 runs each, respectively.
  • The Gators have made just 19 errors this season and currently sport one of the best fielding percentages (.982) and earned run averages in the nation (0.85). For comparison, Florida had committed 27 errors through 41 contests last season and had a fielding percentage of .974. UF went on to record a .981 fielding percentage and commit just 33 errors, which were both school records.
  • UF did not allow a stolen base on Friday, remaining the only team in the SEC who has yet to allow more than three stolen bases in 2016.
  • In addition, three stolen bases is the fewest Florida has allowed in school history through 41 games.

Pitching Notes

  • Aleshia Ocasio is now just three strikeouts away from reaching 100 for the second-straight season.
  • Strikeout totals = Kelly Barnhill - 128, Delanie Gourley - 122, Aleshia Ocasio - 97
  • They are looking to become the second trio in school history to all record 100+ strikeouts in a season.
  • UF achieved this feat last season when Lauren Haeger (214), Aleshia Ocasio (155) and Delanie Gourley (105) all reached the century mark.
  • Barnhill became the fifth Gator freshman in six years to record 100+ strikeouts two weeks ago at LSU.
  • Florida's pitching trio has now combined to allow just 41 runs, while they have totaled 347 strikeouts. Both of those numbers lead the SEC.
  • Ocasio (0.45) and Gourley (0.78) entered this weekend with the No. 1 and No. 3 ERAs in the country and Barnhill is fourth in strikeouts per game (10.8).
  • Ocasio recorded her fifth save of the season in tonight's game, which ties her for the single season high in program history.
  • Her teammate, Delanie Gourley, was the last to achieve this mark a season ago.
  • Ocasio's astounding 0.45 ERA (94.0 IP) would go down as the best ERA for a single season in Florida history if the season ended today.
  • Stacey Nelson currently holds the top two single season ERAs in program history, as she recorded a 0.61 ERA (285.1 IP) in 2009 and 0.75 (352.2 IP) in 2008.
  • Kelly Barnhill, who currently holds a miniscule 1.38 ERA, is challenging Stephanie Brombacher's freshman record 1.40 ERA that she achieved in 2008.
  • Barnhill's opponent's batting average against her is an astounding .139 (81.1 IP) would go down as the best b/avg. in Florida history if the season ended today.
  • Jenny Gladding currently holds the top single season opponent batting average against in program history, as she recorded a .146 b/avg. in 2004.
  • Other freshman ranks that Barnhill is climbing into:
  • Wins - T-6th (14)
  • Strikeouts - 5th (128)

Hitting Notes

  • Hitting Streaks:
  • Amanda Lorenz - eight games (one shy of career long)
  • Kirsti Merritt - four games (season long)
  • Kelsey Stewart - four games (three shy of season long)
  • Kayli Kvistad - three games (three shy of season long)
  • Aubree Munro - three games (one shy of season long)
  • Amanda Lorenz mashed her fourth home run of the season and her second this weekend with her long ball in the first inning of Sunday's game.
  • Alex Voss recorded her first-career hit in the fifth inning of today's game.
  • Kelsey Stewart notched her first extra-base hit in SEC play this season with a double in the fifth.
  • Kayli Kvistad hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season and her second of the weekend with a solo shot to right in the seventh inning.
  • Kvistad and Lorenz are challenging for the top on-base percentage in school history, as they each have recorded an OBP of .547 and .526 thus far this season.
  • Bailey Castro set the program record a season ago when she reached base at a .536 clip.
  • Amanda Lorenz, who's currently hitting .410, is on pace to record the highest batting average for a freshman in school history. In addition, she could become the first rookie in program history to have an on-base percentage over .500.
  • Kelsey Stewart holds the batting title as she hit .378 during her freshman season in 2013.
  • Other freshman ranks that Lorenz is climbing into:
  • Doubles - T-7th (10)
  • Walks - 9th (31)

Coaches' Corner

Head Coach Tim Walton:

On Florida's offense...

"It was nice to see the middle of our lineup make some adjustments and do a good job for us today, and this whole weekend. I was really happy with Kayli (Kvistad) and Amanda (Lorenz), who have had a good season for us so far. They both delivered in the clutch this weekend."

On Florida's pitching and defense...

"Kelly (Barnhill) didn't have her best stuff, but she had a ton of strikeouts and a lot of swing and misses. Sometimes that's going to be the case. Overall, I thought we made some nice defensive plays. Aleshia Ocasio's play in the seventh on a soft-slap to her right was a really nice play. Then, Kirsti Merritt cuts that ball off in the gap and hoses their base runner at second to end the game. We were able to stay poised and make some nice plays all weekend."

Series History

  • The Gators hold a 44-8 all-time record against the Rebels as these two schools have played at least once every year since 1998 until last season. In addition, UF has won 15 of the past 16 matchups between these two schools and Florida has now won 13 straight games over Ole Miss in Oxford.

Series Stats

  • The Gators batted .314 on the weekend with eight home runs and 18 RBI, while its pitching staff compiled a 0.70 earned run average, with 25 strikeouts and nine walks.
  • Kayli Kvistad, Amanda Lorenz and Aubree Munro paced the Gators offense this weekend they hit a combined .538 (14 for 26) with six home runs, 11 RBI and nine runs scored.
  • In the circle, Aleshia Ocasio led Florida as she went 1-0 with one save 9.2 innings pitched with nine strikeouts.