Florida softball advances to WCWS as Hoover’s walk-off takes down Tennessee

By Adam Silverstein
May 26, 2019
Florida softball advances to WCWS as Hoover’s walk-off takes down Tennessee

Image Credit: ESPN Images

For the third straight season, sixth time in the last seven years and 10th time in the last 12 years, Florida Gators softball has advanced to the Women’s College World Series. No. 5 Florida defeated the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers 2-1 in eight innings on Sunday, taking Game 3 of the Gainesville Super Regional for the opportunity to play for what could be the Gators’ third national championship.

Senior right-handed pitcher Kelly Barnhill (7.0 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 7 K) threw 383 pitches in the three-game series, which included two extra-inning games. Her shutout attempt Sunday was blown in the top of the seventh with a solo home run for Tennessee that tied the game, but she retired the Vols in order in the top of the eighth to give the Gators another opportunity to win.

That’s exactly what Florida did. Senior first baseman Amanda Lorenz — in her last at-bat at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida — hit a one-out double to get into scoring position. After moving over to third base, Lorenz was hit home by junior right fielder Jaimie Hoover, whose walk-off RBI single sealed the victory.

This is the second straight year that UF advanced to the WCWS via walk-off hit at home after Jordan Matthews smacked a home run to advance the program in 2018.

The Gators dominated play at home over the last two weeks, going 5-1 in six games with four shutouts and a combined score of 23-4. After an up-and-down effort in SEC play, UF has won 10 of its 11 games and enters the WCWS as hot as any team in the nation.

Florida will open WCWS play on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET when it takes on No. 13 Oklahoma State. The winner will play either No. 1 Oklahoma or No. 8 Alabama on Friday.

In nine prior WCWS appearances, the Gators have advanced to the WCWS Championshsip Series five times with two national titles (2014-15) and three second-place finishes (2009, 2011, 2017).

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