But Oklahoma State got a greater one from pitcher/slugger Samantha Show — who tagged Barnhill for two solo homers, the only two Okie State hits of the game, and went the distance in a complete game of her own — that sent the Gators to a 2-1 defeat and the long road of the WCWS losers’ bracket.
Show, facing the Gators for a second straight postseason after a transfer from Texas A&M to Oklahoma State, got her revenge for Florida’s walk-off Super Regional victory in 2018 by taking Barnhill deep in the first and sixth innings, putting the Gators on their heels early and in a hole late.
And her dingers — the second punctuated by an overhand bat chuck that looked more like an axe throw — were essentially the entirety of the Oklahoma State offense on the day, as Barnhill yielded no other hits and put on just two other baserunners (via walk and hit by pitch) while racking up nine strikeouts.
Florida, by contrast, tallied six hits, but did a poor job of sequencing them. Amanda Lorenz’s two, a leadoff double in the first and a single in the sixth, didn’t result in runs, as Florida’s 2-3-4 hitters went a combined 0-for-9 behind her. The Gators’ two to lead off the top of the seventh, singles by Sophia Reynoso and Jordan Roberts, also didn’t result in any plate-crossings, as the Gators made outs in their next three at-bats.
Only Roberts’s own solo homer in the second inning — caught, amusingly, by the same fan who gloved Show’s first shot — did change the number under the R on the scoreboard for the Gators. And has been the case in many brilliant outings for Barnhill this year, an anemic attack could not pick her up.
Now the Gators will face an uphill trudge just to stave off elimination, as they will face either favorite Oklahoma or SEC powerhouse Alabama in the losers’ bracket in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon.
And while Barnhill tied the Tide in knots in the SEC Tournament final just weeks ago, both of those teams in crimson have more firepower than the Oklahoma State team that just sent the Gators their way.
If Florida’s bats can’t heat up at least a bit on Saturday, it may be a very short stay for the Gators in Oklahoma City.