Tennessee center fielder Cailin Hannon sprinted backward and tracked the softball as it gradually descended into her path. She outstretched her glove to make the catch, then ☺— WHAM!
Hannon slammed into the wall in center field, and the ball disappeared behind it. UF first baseman Amanda Lorenz circled the bases as Hannon sat on the warning track with her head between her knees.
Lorenz’s second bomb of the day came during the bottom of the sixth inning and created a seven-run Florida lead. The game ended two at-bats later on a run rule after an RBI-double by second baseman Hannah Adams.
The Gators hadn’t been swept in a three-game series since March 2014 when they lost to the Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee. A five-RBI performance by Lorenz on Sunday helped maintain that streak, and No. 4 UF won its first SEC game 8-0 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Both of Lorenz’s home runs came with two outs (a two-run and a three-run shot), and left fielder Jade Caraway made each of them possible by getting on base in the at-bats before her.
The North Carolina State transfer beat out throws on two infield singles, one in the fourth inning and another in the sixth, to move Lorenz from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box. Then, her All-American teammate bludgeoned offerings from UT relief pitcher Matty Moss to put the game out of reach.
“Jade Caraway was the reason for so many runs today,” Lorenz said. “It was really good vibes, really good energy in just knowing that if you pass the bat along something’s going to happen.”
Designated player Kendyl Lindaman also blasted a home run. She demolished a 3-1 pitch from Tennessee starter Caylan Arnold to give the Gators (22-4) a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Lindaman’s ball fizzled no more than 25 feet from the ground and bounced off the bullpen fence behind the left-field wall.
Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill struck out the side in the first four innings in her 13th win of 2019. She allowed just two hits, two free passes and two runners in scoring position.
She relinquished three home runs in the fourth inning alone on Friday, but UT (18-3) had no answer for the two-time All-American on Sunday.
“I was really hitting the spots and moving my ball around better,” Barnhill said. “I think we definitely got more strikeouts today on placing the pitches.”
Every Tennessee batter in the starting lineup struck out at least once, and All-American Aubrey Leach struck out twice. All 13 strikeout victims went down swinging.
“I can definitely say that them scoring those runs and having those bases on, it makes my job a lot easier,” Barnhill said. “It takes a lot of the pressure off. You don’t have to be as perfect. It’s a lot more fun throwing out there when we have that run support.”
Follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr and contact him at [email protected].