Kelly Barnhill pitched like Kelly Barnhill on Friday afternoon. And as it turns out, that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Florida Gators.
The Gators advanced to their latest SEC Softball Tournament Final with their 3-0 victory over the Auburn Tigers. The 6-seeded Gators, who’ve been on quite the run through College Station, will vie for yet another Tournament Championship on Saturday against either Alabama or Kentucky.
Barnhill needed 92 pitches to take down the Tigers, allowing just one extra base hit, a double by Morgan Podany. She was otherwise magnificent, allowing just one other hit, by Tannon Snow. She struck out 11 batters and allowed only two walks along the way. 61 of her 92 pitches went for strikes, in simply a terrific performance for the ace hurler.
The Gators, meanwhile, got things started off on the right foot. Hannah Adams drove one over the fence in the 1st inning, good for two runs, as she drove Kendyl Lindaman in with the bomb to right centerfield. Adams also drove in another run two innings later, as she singled to score Amanda Lorenz.
Those three runs by Adams would be all that Florida needed to keep Auburn down, but their offense was stymied otherwise. Chardonnay Harris and Lexie Handley allowed only three hits on the day and combined for nine strikeouts and two walks. Handley allowed no hits runs in her 3.2 innings of work. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they just couldn’t break through against Barnhill at all to get on the board and properly threaten them.
Florida will be shooting for their fifth SEC Tournament Championship when they go against either ‘Bama or Kentucky on Saturday evening in College Station.