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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

NO-HITTER: Kelly Barnhill blanks Tigers, becomes all-time strikeout leader

<p>Kelly Barnhill broke UF's all-time strikeout record in a 7-0 win over Auburn.</p>

Kelly Barnhill broke UF's all-time strikeout record in a 7-0 win over Auburn.

Pitcher Kelly Barnhill was in the zone.

She gathered herself, windmilled her arm around and rocketed the ball past Auburn shortstop Makenna Dowell for the third strike to end the game.

Barnhill’s teammates mobbed her for the second time Friday night, this time to congratulate her on her no-hitter against the Tigers.

The senior had previously broken Stacey Nelson’s program strikeout record of 1,116 after striking out Dowell in the bottom of the fourth inning earlier in the night.

First baseman Amanda Lorenz and outfielder Jaimie Hoover paired Barnhill’s no-hitter with a home run each to give the Gators a 7-0 win in the first game of their road series against the Tigers.

Barnhill struck out 10 Auburn hitters, and her three walks were the only mistakes that she made all night.

Her no-hitter was preserved by three plays in the field, one by Barnhill herself.

Auburn (34-14, 9-10 SEC) designated hitter Taylon Snow’s bunt settled about halfway up the third-base line. Barnhill raced to the ball and tossed it underhanded to second baseman Hannah Adams, who was covering first, to just barely get Snow out at first.

In the next inning, catcher Kendall Veach pulled Barnhill’s 2-0 offering to shallow left field. Shortstop Sophia Reynoso sprinted to make the backhanded catch to keep the no-hitter intact.

Senior Alex Voss, coming into the game as a defensive replacement in center field, made another crucial out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Snow hit a long fly ball to center, but Voss was able to run underneath the ball and make a jumping catch for the out.

The Florida (38-12, 10-9 SEC) offense shelled Auburn pitcher Ashlee Swindle while Barnhill was shutting down the Tigers.

Amanda Lorenz got the Gators on the board early when she crushed Swindle’s 0-2 pitch over the left field fence for a 3-0 lead. Florida picked up another run on a wild pitch with runners on the corners, allowing right fielder Cheyenne Lindsey to score.

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UF scored its sixth run of the night off Swindle with an RBI single from outfielder Jade Caraway that scored Reynoso from third. The Gators tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run from Hoover to complete the 7-0 win.

Contact Brendan Farrell at bfarrell@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727.

Kelly Barnhill broke UF's all-time strikeout record in a 7-0 win over Auburn.

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