Tim Casey / UAA Communications

Florida Softball sweeps Arkansas, clinches SEC title

The No. 1 Florida Gators (52-4) closed out the regular season with a three-game sweep of the Arkansas Razorbacks. In the process, the Gators won the SEC regular season title for the second straight year.

The Gators did not allow a run in any of the three games and managed to score 22 runs combined. Two of the games ended in five-inning mercy rules.

Friday’s 9-0 win for the Gators only lasted five innings after Taylore Fuller’s three-run homer.

Florida’s 5-0 win on Saturday was filled with emotion, as it was Senior Day for Fuller, Kelsey Stewart, Kirsti Merritt, Aubree Munro and Taylor Schwarz.

“[Saturday] was really emotional – it’s almost indescribable,” Merritt said. “At the end of the game, all of us seniors were sitting on the bench together and we saw what next year’s lineup could look like. It was a surreal moment which brought out the emotions.”

Florida capped the weekend with an 8-0 win that only took five innings.

Kelly Barnhill pitched a no-hitter – Florida’s fourth, as a team, on the year. The win also brought Barnhill’s win-loss record to 15-0.

“It’s so funny, I took a picture of all my championship rings last night and it just really started to soak in,” head coach Tim Walton said. “Each ring, I look and I see the faces, some smiles, a couple tears; some losses in those rings. To be able to go 52-4 in the regular season, I see all those seniors and their smiling faces.”

“It’s a very special feeling to have our team just playing well and being very consistent.”

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