Barnhill orchestrates sweep of UK softball


The Kentucky Wildcats softball team takes the line for the National Anthem prior to the game against the Florida Gators at John Cropp Stadium on Saturday, April 15, 2017 in Lexington, KY. 

The UK softball team took a tough series sweep to the No. 2 ranked University of Florida Gators over the weekend in Gainesville, kicking off the start of SEC play.

The Cats faced a tough player at the mound in their 6-0 loss Friday in Gator junior Kelly Barnhill as she threw a no-hitter, her fourth of the season.

A Jenny Schaper walk to lead the second inning was a key play for the Cats as she broke up the Barnhill perfect game.

Kentucky pitcher Grace Baalman allowed only three runs in Saturday’s game against the Gators, but the Cats couldn’t pull off the win. Florida earned two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 3-2 win over the Cats.

A key player for the Cats on Saturday was Alex Martens as she hit a home run to center field in the top of the third to give UK the 2-1 lead.

The Cats became the first team to score a run in the first inning on Florida this season, and were also the first team that forced the Gators to have the final at-bat of the game.

Sunday afternoon brought the final game of the weekend in a 4-0 loss for the Cats. The Gators led 1-0 after the first inning and brought in two more runs from a homer in the third. Florida would score their final run in the sixth inning off two hits and a free pass.

Katie Reed stayed hot at the plate as she went 3-3 against Barnhill, despite no runs for Kentucky.

Kentucky will refresh and return to the bluegrass as they take on Northern Illinois University Tuesday at 3 p.m.