North Texas Falls In Season Finale, 8-1
Lacy Gregory Goes 2-for-3 In The Loss
GAINESVILLE, Florida – Florida, top-team in the nation, picked up its third victory over the North Texas softball team in as many days with an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at KSP Stadium.
“I thought our team showed some grit today,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “I thought our hitters really stepped up against the best pitcher in the nation and our pitchers held their own against a great hitting team. Our small goal was to try and be better than we were the last two games and getting it to seven was key.”
UF’s Kelly Barnhill went five innings, allowing one run on four hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk. Senior Stacey Underwood (12-14) took the loss in three innings of work, giving up five runs – four earned – with three strikeouts and four walks. Sophomore Lauren Craine pitched the final three innings for the Mean Green, allowing three runs on three hits with two walks.
“We pitched around a couple of those kids, so a few of the walks were because of that,” Kee added. “We just have to make the plays in the grass. We don’t typically make those mistakes and, though they don’t show as errors on the board, we could have helped ourselves by making the play.”
Freshman Lacy Gregory led the Mean Green (25-30) offense with a 2-for-3 showing including a double and a home run.
“She is great hitter,” Kee said of her freshman. “She wants to be in those situations. She just missed the previous pitch and hit it foul. For her to turn around on the next pitch and put it over the fence was great to see. That’s the type of kid you want to have in the box.”
The scoring started early as UF jumped on Underwood, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Amanda Lorenz tripled to center to lead off the stanza and later scored on a wild pitch. Kayli Kvistad drew a walk, advanced to third on a throwing error and later scored on Aleshia Ocasio’s sacrifice fly to left.
In the top of the third, North Texas had its first scoring opportunity of the game. The Mean Green loaded the bases after sophomore Bailey Thompson and senior Kelli Schkade recorded singles and freshman Camille Grahmann was hit by a pitch, but Barnhill was able to retire freshman Lindsay Gregory to keep the Mean Green off the board.
UF (49-5) stretched its lead to five after scoring three runs in the third. After back-to-back walks to Lorenz and Kvistad, Nicole DeWitt plated Lorenz on a double to center and Wheaton followed her with a single, scoring Kvistad. DeWitt came around to score on Chelsea Herndon’s single.
In the fourth, Lacy Gregory launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left, cutting it to a 5-1 game. It was only the third home run Barnhill had allowed this season. Senior Danielle Gregory singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Barnhill retired the next three hitters to limit the damage to one in the frame.
The Gators responded with three runs of their own in bottom of the frame, highlighted by DeWitt’s two-run single to right.
North Texas put a runner in scoring position in the sixth after Lacy Gregory’s double to the gap in left center, but UF’s reliever Katie Chronister was able to get out of the inning with a 6-3 putout.
“We just saw the best team in the nation with phenomenal hitters and outstanding pitching,” Kee said. “Nothing should be a surprise when we get to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Wednesday.”
- Florida’s starter Kelly Barnhill entered the game as the nation’s leader in earned-run average (.30), strikeouts per seven innings (13.2), hits per seven innings (2.7) and was sixth in strikeouts (263).
- The seven-inning contest marked the first time in program history North Texas completed a game against the No. 1 team in the country. The previous three meetings ended via the run rule.
- Lacy Gregory’s home run off Barnhill was her seventh of the season and upped her team-best RBI total to 34. She also tallied her 10th multi-hit game of the season with a two-hit showing.
- North Texas turned three double plays in the game, a single-game season high in 2017.
- The Mean Green finish the 2017 regular season 6-8 against 2016 NCAA tournament teams.
Up Next For The Mean Green
North Texas opens the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The bracket will be released late Sunday night with the official seeding and game times.