Chelsea Herndon had been silent since the end of the regular season. She entered Saturday’s College World Series game against LSU 0-for-11 in the postseason.
However, Herndon’s first hit in the tournament made a lot of noise. In what had been an even game through the first three innings, Herndon’s double down right field sent Alex Voss and Aleshia Ocasio home put the Gators up 2-0 over LSU and gave them some momentum they would carry through the rest of the game.
In Florida’s 40th shutout of the season, the Gators defeated LSU 7-0 to earn a spot in Sunday’s semifinal. While the Gators came to Oklahoma City with a struggling offense, they’ve quickly turned their weakness into a strength with a 15-0 margin through the first two rounds of the World Series. This is tied for the third largest-margin through two games in championship history.
The two teams looked even through for the first three innings, as the Gators went 2-for-11 while LSU stood at 1-for-10. However, Herndon’s hit in the top of the fourth allowed the offense to open up as Barnhill’s pitching remained steady throughout the game.
After an LSU pitching change from Carley Hoover to Allie Walljasper and a scoreless fifth inning, Janell Wheaton extended the Gators lead in the top of the sixth with a home run over left field.
Leading 3-0 going into the final inning, the Gators did not go out quietly, scoring four more and making a big offensive statement in the top of the seventh.
Amanda Lorenz was the next to put the Gators on the board with a double up center field that sent Sophia Reynoso home to increase the lead to 4-0.
Just a play later, Kayli Kvistad hammered a home run that saw her and Jacqui Switzer score.
LSU made its second pitching change, substituting in Maribeth Gorsuch. That still wouldn’t help the Tigers much as Wheaton sent a fly ball to right field to send Nicole DeWitt in and punctuate what was a dominant performance all around for the No. 1 Gators.
With the win, the Gators earned a straight-ticket into the semifinal game. Florida will either face LSU, UCLA or Texas A&M at 1 p.m. on Sunday.