It was the same story, just a different day for USF (22-13) as it was swamped by No. 6 Florida (24-3) Wednesday night.
Despite being able to manufacture runs in their 14-3 loss to the Gators earlier in the season, the Bulls were unable to produce even a sinlge hit when the Gators stopped the Bulls’ 15-game win streak in five innings due to mercy rule.
Two of the Bulls’ first three batters struck out and the Gators were quick to capitalize. They scored twice in the first inning, then again in the second to jump to a quick 3-0 lead.
In the third inning, USF pitcher Hannah Parker retired each of the three Gator batters to keep the game within reach. The Bulls were unable to cut Florida’s lead when junior Kelly Barnhill walked catcher Mia Fung, then struck out the next three batters.
Barnhill recorded 12 strikeouts against the Bulls and is the sixth time she recorded 10 or more in a game. She is 12-1 on the year with a 0.53 ERA and has only allowed 10 runs all season.
The Bulls lost their grip on the game when the Gators scored three runs in the fourth inning. Florida nearly batted through their lineup, prompting the Bulls into a pitching change. Jojo McGill took the mound and did what she could to salvage the inning.
The Bulls were unable to keep the Gators at bay when they allowed 3 runs in the fourth inning.
Adding insult to injury, the Gators sealed their victory with a 3-run home run to put the Bulls’ win streak to rest. The game was called early as a result.
USF ranked No. 35 nationally in batting average before the no-hitter by Florida’s Barnhill.
Despite the conclusion of their win streak, the Bulls have still outscored opponents 98-30 over their last 16 games. They are still ranked No. 4 in the American standings and are still red-hot entering conference play against UConn (13-16), which they will play a three-game home series with starting Friday.
Entering conference play, Memphis (21-7) is the team to beat in the AAC. They are followed closely by Houston (19-8) and Tulsa (19-11). None of the other four teams have more than 20 wins.
UConn stands alone at the bottom of the AAC. The Huskies pair a .217 team batting average with a 2.56 ERA from the mound. None of the UConn pitchers have a winning record and the Bulls will look to capitalize on the weak pitching to start conference play in the win column.
First pitch between the Huskies and Bulls will be at 4:30 at the USF softball facility on Friday.