KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The University of Florida softball team used a little "Gator Magic" to improve to 14-1 on the season after a pair of wins against Liberty and Elon on the second day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Saturday, Feb. 25.
The Gators won their second extra-inning game of the year with a 2-1 win in 10 innings against Liberty (7-5) to open the day then exploded for 11 runs on a season-high 15 hits in five-inning shutout victory over Elon (7-4).
In game one, the Florida pitching continued to excel as starter Aleshia Ocasio and relief pitcher Delanie Gourley (6-1) limited the Flames to just a pair of hits over the duration of the contest. Liberty's only run came in the top of the ninth inning of play when the international tiebreaker (ITB) was in effect. The lone Liberty run scored via a sacrifice fly by Sarah Robertson, which plated Channing Cox.
The Gators responded immediately with a run of their own to tie the contest 1-1 in the bottom of the inning. Senior Justine McLean, placed on second base to start the inning via the ITB rule, set the table for redshirt freshman Sophia Reynoso. Reynoso reached in the following at-bat as she was hit by the pitch and Kvistad followed up with a single to left field that loaded the bases for freshman Jaimie Hoover.
With a 2-2 count at the plate, Hoover tied the game with a SAC fly to right field that allowed the speedy McLean to race home.
In the 10th, the Gators placed DeWitt on second base with freshman Katie Chronister at the plate. Chronister delivered a beautiful SAC bunt that moved DeWitt to third with senior Chelsea Herndon at the plate. Herndon, who had reached base safely in all four of her previous plate appearances that included an intentional walk in the eighth inning, ripped the game-winning RBI single down the right field line and scored DeWitt.
After Florida had recorded only four hits in the pitcher's duel in the game against Liberty, the team tripled its output against Elon with 15 total hits.
The top of the order did arguably the most damage as the trio of Lorenz, Reynoso and Kvistad accounted for 10 of the 15 hits. Reynoso and Kvistad were each a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate while Reynoso also accounted for four RBIs.
The Gators plated two runs in the first, three in the second and five in the third before a scoreless fourth inning and capped off the contest with a single run in the fifth inning.
In the big five run fifth inning the team strung together six hits and batted around the lineup.
In the circle, it was another great effort from the pitching tandem of sophomore Kelly Barnhill and freshman Katie Chronister who limited the Phoenix to just four hits. Barnhill earned her fifth win of the season.
Coaches Corner On winning the team's second 10-inning game of the season... "There was some Gator Magic in that game. I thought Delanie was really good again in relief and Lele (Aleshia Ocasio) had a good quality start in the circle. We only gave up a couple of hits."
The Gators recorded a season-high 15 hits against Elon, which included a pair of 4-for-4 performances from Sophia Reynoso and Kaylie Kvistad. The last time the Gators tallied 15 hits occurred on April 22, 2016 against Mississippi State.
Florida improved to 2-0 on the season in extra-inning games this season. The team won 2-1 in 10 innings against then-No. 6 Michigan (Feb. 11) at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Classic.
Sophomore Kelly Barnhill extended her scoreless inning streak to 30.0 innings after another quality start against Elon Saturday, Feb. 25. It's the longest career streak amongst active pitchers on the team. In 2014 Gourley posted a 29.0 scoreless inning streak.