GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Florida softball team wrapped up the 2017 regular season with a pair of wins over North Texas (8-1) and Florida A&M (7-0) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (50-5) finished the regular season with their ninth 50-win season in program history, all of which have come under head coach Tim Walton.
Florida picked up its first win of the day, 8-1, to complete the series sweep of North Texas (25-30). Sophomore Kelly Barnhill threw five innings and recorded 11 strikeouts while only relinquishing one run to the Mean Green. The lone run came in the came in the fourth on a solo home run by Lacy Gregory.
Freshman Katie Chronister relieved Barnhill in the sixth to throw two innings and picked up three strikeouts to complete the game.
Nicole DeWitt stayed hot at the plate as she drove in three of the seven runs in the game. The career-high tying 3-for-4 performance was her second in three games.
Amanda Lorenz and Kayli Kvistad accounted for all but two of the runs scored against North Texas as each crossed home plate three times. Sophia Reynoso was the other Gator responsible for scoring a run in the contest.
Lorenz knocked her third triple of the year in the first and scored on a wild pitch immediately after to set the tone for the day.
The Gators plated a pair of runs in the first inning, three in the third and the fourth to solidify the victory.
In game two, Florida racked up 10 hits on its way to the 7-0 victory over Florida A&M (18-29-1), which included three extra base hits and five stolen bases.
Senior Delanie Gourley received the start and struck out the first seven batters she seen swinging. The Lakeside, Calif. native threw 4.2 innings and struck out 13 batters before Barnhill relieved her. Barnhill pitched 1.1 innings with three strikeouts and Aleshia Ocasio capped the game in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh.
The 18 strikeouts on the day tied the Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium record set by Barnhill against Winthrop (3/16/16) last season.
The highlight of the game was back-to-back home runs by Ocasio and Chelsea Herndon in the fifth inning. Ocasio laced a two-run home run on a 2-0 count that also scored sophomore Alex Voss while Herndon nearly replicated Ocasio's home run on a 2-1 count in the very next at-bat.
Both Ocasio and Voss led the way with two runs scored a piece against the Lady Rattlers.
Next up for the Gators is the SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn. with the first game scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of the No. 8-seed Ole Miss and No. 9-see Mississippi State.
On a quick reflection of the regular season and the importance of the games that are ahead... "Well I think the cool thing is the fifty wins. Fifty games won is a lot of games to be proud of, a lot to be thankful for, and we stayed relatively healthy through that stretch. I'm just really happy for our team and the way they came out and competed. The second part of that is every single person's statistics start over. It's a fresh slate. A new slate. We have zero wins and zero losses, and now it's time to go out there and compete. Nobody cares about your stats; it's about the W's now." - Tim Walton