The Florida dugout jumped up and down like it already knew.
The UF softball team held a 1-0 lead over Boston University. They had runners on second and third, two outs and Hannah Adams at the plate in the fifth inning. The sophomore second baseman smacked a 1-2 offering just below her knees over the head of BU first baseman Nicole Amodio, scoring both runners.
The home dugout went from jumping up and down and pounding the fence before the base hit to greeting teammates Lily Mann and Amanda Lorenz with high fives in celebration of two more runs.
Adams’ two-RBI single to right field cemented her team’s lead over the Terriers, and the Gators used a fifth-inning rally to win its first game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional 3-0. The hosts will face Boise State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the winners’ section of the bracket.
Boston pitcher Ali DuBois held UF hitless until the fifth. The sophomore allowed just two walks and a hit-by-pitch before relinquishing all four of her hits and three earned runs in the decisive frame.
“We made a good adjustment going through that third at-bat,” Walton said. “The hitters never showed me or sounded as they were frustrated, never-racked or anything.”
The Gators exhausted their first scoring chance in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Sophia Reynoso and right fielder Jaimie Hoover stood at third and first, respectively, but third baseman Hannah Sipos and center fielder Alex Voss struck out back-to-back to end the inning. Voss faced a favorable 3-0 count against Terriers pitcher Ali DuBois before going down swinging three pitches later.
Pinch hitter Cheyenne Lindsey sparked a rally in the fifth inning when she knocked Florida’s first hit of the game.
“It’s huge anytime someone comes of the bench and gets a hit for you, because that’s a big role to play on a team,” Adams said. “That gives everyone in the lineup a lot of confidence.”
A sacrifice bunt by Voss and a walk by Lorenz followed Lindsey’s one-out single through the right side. Catcher Kendyl Lindaman belted a double into the left-center gap, scoring Lindsey and placing two runners in scoring position for Adams, who made it 3-0 on the next at-bat.
Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill allowed four hits and no walks in her sixth complete game of 2019. She struck out five and forced six ground outs and 10 fly outs.
The shutout was in danger in the sixth when the Terriers led off the inning with back-to-back singles. However, Barnhill forced a fly out, strikeout and foul out to retire the side.
Reynoso caught the foul ball in the sixth in spectacular fashion. The junior shortstop dived into the photo well down the third-base line and on top of photographers to make the inning-ending play.
“Sophia (Reynoso) makes everything look easy out there,” Barnhill said, “even when she dives into camera wells.”
Follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr and contact him at [email protected].