UF softball: No. 1 Gators prepare for SEC tourney with sweep

Special to Gatorsports.com
Sunday, May 07, 2017 10:03 PM

Top-ranked Florida completed its softball regular season Sunday with wins over North Texas, 8-1, and Florida A&M, 7-0, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

It's the Gators' (50-5) ninth 50-win season in program history, all under coach Tim Walton.

"Well I think the cool thing is the fifty wins," UF coach Tim Walton said. "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 Ws now."

Florida beat North Texas (25-30) first to complete the series sweep. Sophomore Kelly Barnhill threw five innings and recorded 11 strikeouts and one run. Freshman Katie Chronister relieved Barnhill in the sixth to throw two innings and picked up three strikeouts to complete the game.

Nicole DeWitt drove in three on three hits.

In game two, Florida racked up 10 hits against Florida A&M (18-29-1). Senior Delanie Gourley struck out the first seven batters swinging. Gourley 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. The 18 strikeouts on the day tied the Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium record set by Barnhill against Winthrop last season.

The Gators will begin play in the SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., with a first-round bye as the top seed with a 20-3 SEC mark. Florida will play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday against the winner of No. 8-seed Ole Miss (36-18) and No. 9-seed Mississippi State (36-19), which play Wednesday.

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