As FAMU pitcher Veronica Burse threw a ball right down the center of the mound, she should’ve realized what was coming.
Her last ball down the middle resulted in a hard-hit, two-run home run over the right field wall by junior Aleshia Ocasio.
And now, sophomore Chelsea Herndon sent the ball to the same exact place. Over right field, close to the “National Champions” billboard.
It was the Gator’s second home run in a row, and the team went on to smack 10 base hits in their dominant 7-0 win over FAMU in the final game of the regular season.
Eight different players were able to convert at least one hit in the win; Ocasio and Herndon each had a pair.
But while it was a highly offensive game, many runs were set up due to some walks drawn by a patient Florida lineup.
Walks drawn by Ocasio and freshman Jordan Roberts in the second inning set up an RBI single from senior Justine McLean, her 14th RBI of the season. Back-to-back singles by redshirt-freshman Sophia Reynoso and sophomore Amanda Lorenz brought home another run, as well as loaded the bases.
With Kayli Kvistad to bat, she easily drew a walk to bring home McLean and push Florida’s lead to 3-0 early. Kvistad, a Lake City, Florida, native, has now drawn 60 walks on the season. It is the most on the team, and ties LSU’s Sahvanna Jaquish for the most in the SEC.
Florida’s defense, which allowed no runs and just two hits, was charged by senior pitcher Delanie Gourley. She had 13 strikeouts through 4.2 innings before Barnhill came in as a relief.
It was the second game in Florida’s Sunday double-header, after wrapping up its series with North Texas in the morning.
The Gators copied the offensive display they had in the afternoon, winning 8-1 over the Mean Green to sweep the series.
Amanda Lorenz led off in the first inning with a triple to center field. A wild pitch from North Texas pitcher Stacey Underwood brought her home.
A pair of runs were scored in the first, and three more were scored in the third. Kvistad and Lorenz drew walks that eventually led to a double from junior Nicole DeWitt and RBI singles from Janell Wheaton and Herndon.
DeWitt ended with three hits in the win, the most she’s had in a single game this season and the second time in this series alone.
Barnhill was on the mound for Florida, going through five innings and striking out 11. She allowed four hits and a homerun in the fourth inning, the only run the North Texas would have all weekend.
Freshman Katie Chronister was brought in to relieve the game’s final two innings, her first pitching appearance since March 29. She had three strikeouts and allowed a hit.
Now that the regular season is wrapped up, Florida will head up to Knoxville for the SEC tournament, set to begin on Wednesday. The Gators are slated to automatically move on from the first round to the quarterfinals, which will be played Thursday afternoon, as they are the bracket’s top seed.
Contact Cassie Amundson at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @camundson_.