KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team shut out No. 8 Tennessee for the first time in Knoxville since 2012 with a 5-0 victory at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. A stadium record crowd of 2,218 attended the series-opening win.
Reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week, Kelly Barnhill (21-0) was electric in the circle once again for the Gators (45-3, 19-2 SEC) and was backed up offensively by SEC Player of the Week Kayli Kvistad who crushed a pair of solo home runs to bookend the teams scoring.
It all started in the first inning when Florida scored first for the 40th time this season. With two outs, Kvistad sent a 2-1 pitch from Tennessee (41-7, 13-5 SEC) starter Matty Moss (21-2) over the right field fence to put the Gators ahead 1-0.
That run alone would have been enough for Barnhill in the circle as she went on to record her 11th complete-game shutout of the season.
The sophomore right-handed pitcher moved quickly through the Volunteer lineup until she relinquished her first hit in the bottom of the fourth to Brooke Vines. Tennessee did put a pair of runners on base in the inning but Barnhill quickly dispatched the threat when she recorded her seventh strikeout.
More run support came for the Gators in the fifth inning.
The stage was set for sophomore Amanda Lorenz to bust the game open when freshman Jaimie Hoover reached via hit by pitch and eventually moved into scoring position by Sophia Reynoso's eighth SAC bunt of the year.
The most crucial at-bat of the inning came from senior Justine McLean. With one out, McLean battled through a 12-pitch at-bat to draw her 14th walk of the year. Lorenz then ripped a ground ball down the right field line just inside the first base bag for her second triple of the year to score both Hoover and McLean.
The Gators brought the scoring in the inning to a close when Kvistad crushed her second home run of the game on an opposite field shot over the right center field wall.
Vines picked up the only other hit of the night for the Volunteers in the sixth inning.