The moment Alex Powers nailed the ball, she knew it was going out of the park. With both arms extended in celebration, she watched as her two-run, walk-off homer sailed over the right field wall of JoAnne Graf Field to clinch a victory over the No. 1 Florida Gators.
In an evenly matched game that spanned 11 innings, the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles took down Florida, 3-1, in the Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown in Tallahassee.
Under head coach Tim Walton, Florida is now 18-4 against the Garnet and Gold.
But despite the end result for the Gators, Kelly Barnhill put on an astonishing performance. Pitching the entire game and throwing 109 strikes in her 138 total pitches, she connected on a career high 21 strikeouts. She did, however, give up seven hits including two home runs, the most she has allowed in a single game this season.
Aside from the contest’s final frame, the only time either team scored was in the first inning.
With two outs in the top of the first, junior Kayli Kvistad ripped a single through the right side of the infield, which was immediately followed up with junior Nicole DeWitt being hit by a pitch. For DeWitt, a Garden Grove, California, native, she has been hit by four pitches over the past two games versus Florida State. This set up an RBI single from Janell Wheaton, her 31st hit of the season.
But the Seminoles came right back with a big response in the form of Jessica Warren.
Barnhill broke her 51-scoreless inning streak after Warren blasted a homerun to left field in the bottom half of the frame.
After that, it took both teams ten innings to produce another run. While Barnhill had a very dominant evening on the mound, FSU pitchers Meghan King and Jessica Burroughs did as well.
A redshirt-sophomore, King pitched through the first 6 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Burroughs then replaced her for the remainder of the game and was on point against UF’s lineup, never allowing consecutive hits.
For example, in the top of the sixth, DeWitt smacked a double to center field with one out that appeared to shift the momentum in Florida’s favor. But that’s right when Burroughs entered the game, and she immediately forced line outs from Wheaton and junior Aleshia Ocasio to end the inning for the Gators.
With Ocasio up again in the top of the ninth, the St. Cloud, Florida, native connected on a double to left field, with Jordan Roberts’ following groundout pushing her to third. Ocasio finished the contest 2-for-4 at the plate. But Burroughs tough pitching kept Florida from sending Ocasio home, getting a groundout from freshman Jaimie Hoover to end the inning.
UF finished the night 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Now, the Gators (46-5) will return home to face North Texas in their final series of the regular season.
Contact Cassie Amundson at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @camundson_.