Florida head coach Tim Walton yells to a player during a softball game at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Rebel yell! Ole Miss eliminates UF in SEC Softball Tournament

By Tommy Deas GateHouse Media Services
Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:08 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – The No. 1-ranked Florida Gators softball team got bitten by a chihuahua Thursday at the SEC Softball Tournament.

Kaitlin Lee, the Rebels' 5-foot-6 pitcher – a self-described chihuahua – shut out Florida as the 18th-ranked Rebels defeated UF 2-0 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in a quarterfinal matchup. Lee held UF to just two hits, striking out four without a walk.

Top-seeded Florida (50-6) made a quick exit. UF coach Tim Walton wasn't thrilled with his team's performance.

"We didn't come in here to lose 2-0 and sandbag a game," he said. "We just didn't play very well. ... It's the same style of ball that we've been playing all year long and it's frustrating as heck in a lot of ways to watch us come out and play offense sometimes."

Ole Miss struck in the top of the first. A single, an error and a sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position for Dylinn Stancil, who hit a two-out, two-RBI double to give the Rebels all the offense they would need.

Lee, a barely-recruited product of the Mississippi junior college system, did the rest.

"She really mixed up her pitches today's well with her hard (stuff) and then her offspeed," said UF first baseman Kayli Kvistad. "She was really hitting her spots."

Florida went with senior left-harder Delanie Gourley (18-4) in the pitching circle. She allowed seven hits with seven strikeouts in five innings, with both runs unearned.

"She wanted the ball," Walton said.

Ace Kelly Barnhill threw two innings of no-hit relief with four strikeouts. Neither Gators pitcher allowed a walk.

Walton shook up his lineup to try to spark some offense. Aleshia Ocasio started at third base and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Jordan Roberts went 0-for-2 as a designated player and Chelsea Herndon went 0-for-2, striking out once.

The result was the most shocking of the tournament.

"We always expect to win," Kvistad said. "Ole Miss just played a really good game."

The Rebels (38-18) will play Alabama in Friday's semifinal round.

Florida is expected to get a top seed when the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament is announced Sunday night. If the Gators topple from the No. 1 seed spot as a result of the Ole Miss upset, that's fine with the Rebels' pint-sized pitcher.

"If anybody was going to do it, I'd want it to be me," Lee said.




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