Kelly Barnhill (15-1, 1.26 ERA) finally came back down to earth as Auburn's Carlee Wallace tagged her for a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. The freshman would go just two innings, surrendering five hits and striking out just one in that span.
For the remainder of the game, Delanie Gourley took over and was brilliant! She tossed five innings of one-hit ball while striking out four, walking two, and hitting a batter.
Offensively, Florida banged out just five hits. Nicole DeWitt was the only Gator with multiple hits as she went 2-3 with a run scored. Apart from Dewitt, just three other Gators recorded a hit. Kelsey Stewart went 1-3 with a single, Amanda Lorenz went 1-2 with a single, and Aleshia Ocasio went 1-1 with a pinch-hit single.
The Gators' best chance to score came in the bottom of the sixth inning when they had runners on second and third and no outs. Yet somehow, Florida was unable to score due to a first base ground out and a double play line out to the second baseman.
What does this heartbreaking loss mean for the top-ranked Florida Gators?
The last two seasons, Florida has been bounced from the SEC Tournament and went on to win the National Championship in both instances. The Gators will return to Gainesville and will still most likely receive the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The big dance starts now, and these girls are ready to go. Let the quest to Oklahoma City and a three-peat begin!
As for No. 4 Auburn, they will face off against the No. 7 seeded LSU Tigers (48-14, 13-11 in SEC play) as they seek to win back-to-back SEC Tournament Championships for the first time in school history. Between both Tigers, I'll go with Auburn for the repeat.
Game time for the SEC Championship is 5 p.m. and it can be seen on ESPN.
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com