OKLAHOMA CITY – The Texas A&M softball dropped its first game at the Women’s College World Series falling to No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Florida, 8-0, Thursday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
Texas A&M (47-12) will face either UCLA or LSU in an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m. (ESPN, Willy 1550 AM). A win would have the Aggies in another must-win game later that evening at 6 p.m.
The Aggies threatened early against national player of the year Kelly Barnhill. Leading off the game, Keeli Milligan fell behind 0-2 but worked the count full and after a nine-pitch at bat, drew a leadoff walk. She would make it to third after a two-out infield single by Kristen Cuyos, but Barnhill would end the threat with a strikeout to get her team back in the dugout.
Florida (56-8) would respond by striking in its first at bat against Aggie starter Trinity Harrington.
The Gators loaded the bases on a one-out double, walk and single before Janell Wheaton drove the first pitch she saw on the ground back through the circle into center. The base hit plated two and staked UF to the early lead.
After two quick outs in the home half of the second, the Gators got a base hit and a pair of walks to again fill the bases. Facing a 1-2 count, Nicole DeWitt lined a pitch through the middle to drive home a pair and make the score 4-0.
A two-out RBI single in the third by Sophia Reynoso increased the lead to five.
Ocasio would add a three-run shot in the fourth, her third round-tripper of the season.
Harrington (14-3) took the loss, allowing five hits and four runs in two innings of work. She walked three and threw 51 pitches.
Barnhill (25-3) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five in four-plus innings of work. The win marked UF’s 39th shutout of the season, a school record.