It was the hit that no one saw coming.
Iowa State’s Hannah Carter stepped up to home plate and sent a drive to left field. The play would have given the Cyclones their first hit of the night. However, outfielder Amanda Lorenz couldn’t let that happen.
Coming out of left field, Lorenz dove to save the play, taking five strides before laying out on the field. As she plunged toward the ground, the yellow ball found its way into the palm of her glove safely, signaling the third out of the top of the third.
Lorenz’s efforts showed resilience for Florida’s softball team (14-1) as it defeated Maryland 12-0 and Iowa State 8-0 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in Day 2 of the Aquafina Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Florida broke out into early leads, scoring at least two runs by the end of the first inning in both games.
In addition to Lorenz’s defensive efforts, pitchers Kelly Barnhill, Aleshia Ocasio and Natalie Lugo helped Florida to its shutout victories.
Against the Cyclones, Barnhill pitched her fourth career no-hitter and her second of the season.
In the Gators matchup against the Terrapins, Ocasio pitched three perfect innings before Lugo came in to relieve her. Lugo only gave up one hit to Maryland (3-10) in her two-inning stretch.
“We’re spoiled with the pitchers that we have,” infielder Sophia Reynoso said.
In addition to UF’s success on the mound, Reynoso had some impactful plays of her own. The redshirt sophomore totaled three hits for the day, her first base knocks since Florida’s victory over Michigan on Feb. 10.
One of Reynoso’s best line drives came at the top of the fourth against Maryland. She sent a double to right center field, allowing enough time for pinch hitters Lily Mann and Alex Voss to score their runs, bringing the Gators up 10-0.
“It’s a very good feeling,” she said. “It’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders… letting me know I’m going to get a hit and I’m hitting the ball hard and putting in the work and it’s just going to happen.”
Against the Cyclones (7-6), Lorenz helped the Gators get on the board early in the bottom of the first by sending a triple drive to right field, allowing teammate Nicole DeWitt to round third base and run to home plate, bringing Florida up 1-0.
Lorenz leads the roster with 20 hits and 20 runs, followed by DeWitt who has 14 and 16, respectively.
“We’re doing really well in RBI situations,” Lorenz said. “When we hit, we’re hitting in groups, so I think that’s really good. Everyone’s getting on that hit train.”
However, as good as the wins were for the Gators on Saturday, everyone on the team had something else more important on their minds for the day.
Every Saturday, the Gators wear yellow sunflowers in honor of Heather Braswell, an adopted teammate who suffered from pediatric cancer and lost her fight in 2014. The sunflower was Braswell’s favorite.
“It’s really cool to be a part of a program that plays for something so much bigger than just ourselves each and every day,” Lorenz said. “Her legacy just lives on.”
Florida will pick up Day 3 of its home Invitational Sunday morning with a rematch against Iowa State at 11 a.m.