UF's Barnhill handcuffs Bulls in 8-0 romp
An opening weekend rife with drama ended with a drubbing for USF.
Florida sophomore right-hander Kelly Barnhill came a hit shy of a six-inning perfect game, striking out 12 in the third-ranked Gators' 8-0 romp of the No. 24 Bulls (3-1) before a standing-room-only crowd of 2,332 Sunday afternoon at USF Softball Stadium.
"That was one of the best pitching performances I've ever seen in college," said Bulls coach Ken Eriksen, who has seen more than 2,400 of them in 20-plus seasons as Bulls coach.
USF opened its season Friday with a 5-4 win against Illinois (on freshman Bethaney Keen's walk-off homer) and used a four-run sixth inning Saturday to rally for a 6-4 triumph against No. 6 Michigan.
But that offensive magic never materialized against Barnhill, a current member of the U.S. national team coached by Eriksen. Only Astin Donovan's fourth-inning single wiped out Barnhill's shot at a perfect game.
"They moved the mound back for (Olympic gold medalist) Michele Granger back in 1987, and golly, if they don't try to think about moving the mound back after today..." Eriksen said.
"What you witnessed today was pretty special. (Barnhill's) ball had so much movement, late-breaking stuff besides velocity. When you're throwing 73, 74 (mph) you've got to respect velocity. And then she throws the movement in at the end. It's unfair."
Sophomore Amanda Lorenz finished with five RBIs and had one of Florida's three home runs.