Jim Burgess / UAA Communications
Gators headed to Semifinals after 7-0 win over LSU in WCWS
COURTESY OF UAA COMMUNICATIONS
After defeating Texas A&M on Thursday, 8-0, Florida (57-8) exploded for seven runs on nine hits on Friday. UF's 15 runs are the most its scored to open the WCWS since 2014.
In addition, the Gators recorded their 40th shutout of the season on Friday, which is a new program record (2009: 39 shutouts).
The first three innings on Friday were tight, as each team had runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize.
The Gators broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when senior Chelsea Herndon delivered a two-run double down the right-field line. Prior to that, she was 0-for-12 in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Aleshia Ocasio and Jordan Roberts set the table for Herndon with a walk and a hit by pitch, respectively.
In the sixth, Florida extended its lead to 3-0 when Janell Wheaton hit her first career postseason home run with a solo shot to left. The Gators tacked on four more runs in the seventh, which was highlighted by a Kayli Kvistad two-run home run to right-center field.
In the circle, the National Player of Year lived up to that title as Barnhill (26-3) tossed seven scoreless innings in the circle and allowed just two hits, while striking out eight.
Head Coach Tim Walton Quotes:
"Yeah, just really proud of our team today for coming out really ready to play. We made some really nice defensive plays. Kelly (Barnhill) made some good pitches - early made some good pitches, late made some good pitches - and then I can't say enough about the lineup. Just really finally hitting (our) stride, but I think more than anything, just gained a little bit of confidence and going up there it actually looks like we're trying to get some hits.
"I talked to our team after the game just about it being a simple game, and I think at the end of the day, it is. You've got to catch the ball, you've got to throw the ball, you've got to hit the ball, but execution is the key, and I thought we executed really, really well tonight. We did a lot of nice things - some go noticed, some good unnoticed. We've got all these guys up here that are going to take questions, but Theresa Swertfager is getting on the bus, laying down a down two-strike bunt, nothing bigger than having a role player step up in a big role and contributing to this team.
"I think Delanie Gourley said it the other night the best on stage at the opening event. This team, there is no pecking order, we've got a lot of great players on this team and a lot of great kids on this team, and I think they really are showing how much they care for each other by playing well on this stage."
Aleshia Ocasio Quotes:
On preparing to play multiple positions...
"Well, you know, every day I come to practice, and I'm running around. I'm practicing in right field. I'm taking some ground balls in the circle and I'm also practicing at third base. Wherever Coach puts me that day is where I'm going to dedicate myself 100 percent, and I made those plays for Kelly, I made those plays for the team, and just so happens that he put me at third today and yesterday, and I did whatever I could to get some outs."
Chelsea Herndon Quotes:
On the emotions after the double down the right field line...
"Yeah, I try not to really think about all the other at-bats and getting into a slump. I try to take every (at-bat) pitch by pitch. Getting that contact felt amazing, and seeing my team's reaction once I reached second base, I just -- that's who I want to do it for. I want to do for the team. We work so hard, and big moments like that, it's so awesome when you're successful in the College World Series on the biggest stage, so that was - it just meant a lot to me to finally get that clutch hit for my team."
* Florida is now 24-12 all-time at the WCWS.
* During Tim Walton's tenure as head coach, UF is 74-25 in NCAA play and 20-11 at the WCWS.
* Amanda Lorenz went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Tigers, which ran her NCAA Tournament numbers to 14-for-24 (.588) and 22 total bases in 25 at-bats.
o Had 24th multi-hit game of the season and extended her hit streak to seven games.
* The Gators recorded their 40th shutout of the season, setting a program record. The previous school record was set in 2009. Florida leads the country in shutouts this season and its total is the most by a Division I team since 2007 (41, Arizona).
* Florida is the first team to record back-to-back shutouts to open the WCWS since 2014, when the Gators defeated Baylor, 11-0 (5 innings), and Oregon, 4-0.
* The Gators improved to 26-6 overall against opponents ranked inside the Top 25 with 19 shutouts.
Florida will face the winner of Saturday night's first elimination game in the semifinals at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN. Check FloridaGators.com for broadcast information and more details.
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