Two powerhouse SEC teams met over the weekend with LSU taking the series over Florida. LSU could have gotten the series sweep if not for Florida junior Kendyl Lindaman who in the top of the 7th inning hit her second grand slam of the season to give the Gators a 4-1 lead in their Saturday evening match. LSU tried to rally in the bottom of the inning but fell short losing by a final score of 4-3. Florida senior Kelly Barnhill got the game win striking out eight in the game while Shelbi Sunseri took the loss for LSU.
LSU showed their offensive power in game two of the series played on Sunday with their 12th run-rule victory of the season with an 8-0 win over Florida. Maribeth Gorsuch got the start in the pitching circle getting the win. Gorsuch struck out four and allowed just three hits in the game. It was the first time LSU has run-ruled Florida since 2005 when they done it with a score of 9-1in six innings. While Florida used several different pitchers in the game starter Natalie Lugo took the loss.
In the rubber game of the series played Monday night it was Florida’s ace Kelly Barnhill against LSU’s Shelby Wickersham . Florida jumped to an early lead thanks to Amanda Lorenz reaching base with a leadoff double to left to start the game followed by a home run from Kendyl Lindaman over the wall in left field. That lead held until in the bottom of the third when LSU got a run followed by another in their half of the six to tie up the game. Then in the bottom half of the 7th inning Amanda Sanchez drove in the winning run in for the Tigers with a double to the gap in left center field that scored Aliyah Andrews giving LSU the series win. Shelby Wickersham got the victory while Gator Kelly Barnhill took her third loss of the season. Barnhill picked up six strikeouts in the game and is now only six strikeouts short of 1,000 career strikeouts.
I got to watch Monday night’s game on TV and have a few thoughts on it. First Florida looked shaky throughout the entire game. The team lacked the usual confidence they have when they play. Barnhill didn’t look sharp and struggled to hit the strike zone. Their offense was lacking any threat, except for Amanda Lorenz and Kendyl Lindaman, the rest of the hitters were non-existent in the game. Head coach Tim Walton said he moved Lorenz up to the lead off batter spot to get her as many at plates as possible. That lets you know about the lack of confidence he has in his hitters. In my early season prediction I picked Florida to make it to the final WCWS series to play against UCLA. While UCLA looks like they are well on their way to getting there, unless the Gators pick up their play it might not be their year.
Unlike Florida, LSU showed their grit coming from behind and never giving up. They also were hitting Barnhill hard with balls that went foul but if straightened out would have been long balls. Also the Tigers freshmen group of pitchers have really been strong so far this year. Before the season started with the graduation losses of Hoover and Walljasper there was some big holes to fill but so far things look good in the circle for LSU.