Kelly Barnhill

Despite tossing nine strikeouts on two hits, Kelly Barnhill's performance was marred by the surrender of two home runs to Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show.

It was quite the all-around display for Samantha Show.

Unfortunately for the Gators softball team, the Oklahoma State pitcher’s efforts ultimately proved insurmountable.

No. 5 Florida fell to No. 13 Oklahoma State 2-1 in the first game of the 2019 Women’s College World Series on Thursday in Oklahoma City behind the senior’s brilliant display. The Gators now find themselves in the elimination bracket of the tournament and one loss away from ending their season.

Show (22-8) was dominant in the circle, allowing only one run to a lukewarm Florida offense on six hits to complement a two-home run performance at the plate. She is the first pitcher to blast two homers in a WCWS game in NCAA history, both coming off of Gators ace Kelly Barnhill.

In her third-consecutive WCWS appearance, another stalwart performance from Barnhill (34-13) seemed inevitable. It took only two batters, however, for the momentum to shift toward Oklahoma State.

With one out in the first frame, Show struck a solo shot over the right-center field wall in front of the sold-out crowd at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. 

Catcher Jordan Roberts clubbed a solo home run to right center in the bottom of the second, tying the game at one apiece, but Florida’s erratic lineup woes continued on Thursday.

The heart of the Gators lineup – Kendyl Lindaman, Hannah Adams and Jaime Hoover – all failed to reach base in a game where every run proved to matter. Though Show was heroic in the circle, Florida’s offense left five runners on the bases, and ultimately accounted for little production.

The two teams remained tied at one entering the seventh inning, the result of strong pitching and stellar defense on both sides.

Barnhill and Show found themselves dueling after their early blemishes. Each veteran leader was in complete command, and the two exchanged scoreless frames on top of one another in what quickly became a stalemate.

It was Barnhill who blinked first.

A blast to center field in the top of the sixth from Show broke the draw, and gave the Cowboys a 2-1 lead that was never relinquished.

Though it will be marked in the loss column for Barnhill, the senior finished with nine strikeouts on two hits and can take those positives into her team's next game against conference foe No. 8 Alabama on Saturday.

Follow Jack Braverman on Twitter @jack_braverman and contact him at [email protected]