ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Thursday Sports Update

By on April 24th, 2014

The Miami Heat win in the NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs roll on and there’s some baseball and football news too in our Thursday Sports Update…

** The Miami Heat go up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Charlotte Bobcats with a 101-97 win.   Game 3 will be played in Charlotte.  Dallas evened its series with San Antonio and Portland goes up 2-0 against Houston.   Three games will be played tonight.

** In the NHL playoffs, Columbus beat Pittsburgh 4-3 to square that series 2-2; Dallas beats Anaheim 4-2 to square that series 2-2 and Chicago tops St.Louis 4-3 to even that series 2-2.  Three more games will be played tonight.

** In baseball, Atlanta downs Miami 3-1 while Tampa Bay loses 6-4 to Minnesota.  Today, the Braves and Marlins are off while the Rays host the Twins this afternoon.

** New York Yankee pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from the game with the Boston Red Sox last night after umpires found he was using a foreign substance on his neck in the second inning.

** Multiple media outlets are reporting today that Florida defensive back Marqui Hawkins will transfer; he says he would like to try to go back to his original position of wide receiver.

** The NFL released its 2014 schedules and some Sunday games will be “flex” games that can be moved to a night time to have the better match ups be placed in prime time.

 

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Gator Softball Bullies The Bulls for 10th straight victory

By on April 24th, 2014

For the second time in the last three games, the No. 3/5 Florida softball team brought the bats in a very big way. On Saturday, the Gators (41-8, 11-7) destroyed Texas A&M by scoring 17 runs on 16 hits and on Wednesday night the South Florida Bulls received that same treatment.

The Gators have been riding a hot streak as of late winning their last nine games and Wednesday’s 17-1 victory over the Bulls (33-14) brought the streak to an even ten wins in a row.  This was the second meeting between the two teams this year, the Orange and Blue took the first meeting on opening night 10-3 and the only difference in the second game was a more lopsided result.

In the circle for the Gators was senior Hannah Rogers and she continued her dominant pitching as of late. Rogers was the recipient of two victories over the weekend and with yet another win Wednesday night her record now stands at 21-6. Rogers came into some early trouble giving up a solo shot that put the Gators down 1-0 in the first but she was able to recover.

Rogers threw all five innings Wednesday night, giving up just the one run on two hits. The senior struck out a total of four batters and barring the first inning and a few command issues in the fourth, she was able to cruise. With the amount of innings she has received lately, Rogers spoke highly of her preparation in the off-season.

“We worked hard in the offseason, and now it’s just paying off. It’s helping our bodies, and now we’re able to go for long periods of time and able to push our bodies.”

Opposite Rogers was sophomore Erica Nunn who entered with a 9-6 record on the year, but her showing for the Bulls was anything but strong. Nunn threw just one and two third innings on the night giving up five runs on four hits. With senior Sara Nevins resting after a busy weekend, Bulls head coach Ken Eriksen was forced to go with a cast of characters inside the circle, but the Gator offense was just too much.

The runs came early once again as the Gators scored two in the first, but the damage really came in the second, with Florida tacking on 11 more runs; that number is a familiar won as Florida scored 11 runs in the second inning on Saturday against the Aggies. Surprisingly, the bottom of the second began with two straight outs as sophomore catcher Aubree Munro flew out to right and junior shortstop Katie Medina grounded out to third. It was at this point the bats came alive and it became contagious.

The Florida offense accumulated seven singles throughout the inning and a huge two-run home run from sophomore center fielder Kirsti Merritt. The Bulls only hurt themselves giving up a couple walks while also hitting two batters in the inning. Throughout the long second inning, the Gators were able to bat around with every player in the lineup both getting on base and receiving an RBI in the onslaught. With Rogers in the dugout, watching as her team gave her all the insurance she would ever need, she talked about what innings like the second mean to her.

“If your team can score that many runs, it just allows you to go out and pitch and have fun. You can work on things that you that maybe you don’t get to work on so much in the games and throw different pitches.”

Despite the 13-1 lead at the time, the Gators would go on to score four more in the third before stalling out in the fourth, but the damage was already done. The Gator’s 17-1 victory matches their highest scoring total of the year and they finished with their biggest margin of victory on the season. The Gators have now finished out their nonconference portion of the regular season with a 30-1 record and a 7-1 record against any of their foes from the Sunshine State.

The Gators will now welcome the Missouri Tigers into Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for a three game set this weekend and despite the tough series ahead, Gator coach Tim Walton says his team will need to focus on their own game this weekend.

“We can’t concern ourselves with what they do; it’s not about them it’s about us. We have to pitch well and that’s what it boils down to. They’re a good offensive team and we’re going to have to do a good job in the circle.”

The Gators and Tigers will open up play Friday with first pitch set for 6pm.

For post-game comments from Tim Walton and players click on the links below:

Walton talks about the team playing their best and how they’re doing that

Walton talks about facing Missouri

Rogers talks about the big 11 run inning

Rogers talks about how she stays fresh

Munro talks about scoring the majority of their runs with two outs

 

 

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Florida Baseball Falls To Florida A&M Wednesday Night

By on April 24th, 2014

Florida A&M upset the Florida baseball team Wednesday night, winning 4-3 to give the Rattlers their first ever win over Florida.  This is the second straight game that Florida has lost to a sub .500 team, losing to Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was impressed with Florida A&M’s outing.  

“Congratulate Coach Shouppe, his staff and his players. They played well tonight. They threw strikes, changed speed and had some different looks, different angles that frustrated us a little bit I think. They made one error and didn’t give us much. They deserved to win.”

The Orange and Blue jumped ahead early in the top of the first when shortstop Richie Martin reached home from third.  Martin was able to take advantage of an overthrown ball to second in an attempt to pick off a stealing Harrison Bader at second. 

FAMU responded to a 1-0 deficit in the fourth, with just one swing of the bat.  The Rattler’s clean up hitter Ryan Kennedy launched his sixth home run of the year to deep left, giving FAMU a 2-1 lead.

Through six the Rattlers had a slight advantage in the hit column, three to two.  Harrison Bader was the only Gator after six frames to reach base via a hit.  Bader drove a single to left in the bottom half of the sixth that drove in Casey Turgeon from third, enough to knot up the ball game at two runs apiece. 

FAMU reclaimed the lead in the 7th.  Exactly as Jacksonville did Tuesday, the Rattlers  took a two run advantage in the inning after a home run to left field off of Florida’s Ryan Harris.  Jeremy Barlow delivered the blow for Florida A&M, his third homer of the season.  

Bader struck again in the bottom of the eighth with a homer of his own; he took a 3-1 pitch to deep left center, bringing the Gators within one of the lead.  It wouldn’t be enough for Florida, as the Gators fell for the second night in a row. 

Brandon Fleming earned the W for FAMU going three innings of relief allowing just one run to score.  Shaun Anderson picked up his first loss of the season after giving up one run in 1.2 innings on the hill.

Florida now looks ahead to a three game series against Missouri at home this weekend.  

Audio Sound from the game can be heard below.

Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan

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Third-Ranked Gator Softball Hosts In-State Rival USF

By on April 23rd, 2014

The No. 3  University of Florida softball team returns home Wednesday to face Sunshine State rival USF (33-13, 7-5 All American) at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium.

The Gators (40-8, 11-7 SEC) are coming off a sweep of No. 21 Texas A&M this past weekend. The win on Sunday marked Tim Walton’s 600th victory of his career.

Florida has won nine consecutive games since April 4, marking its longest winning streak since opening the season with 24 straight wins.

The Orange and Blue beat the Bulls in their last meeting in Tampa, winning 10-3. The Gators lead the all time series, 38-13.

Walton talks about the teams last meeting against the Bulls, and how they match-up against the team.

“Well, the first game we had the benefit of a few walks, hit-by-pitches, and got some timely hits. But I definitely feel like their offense was really good. They showed some nice signs of being able to run  and hit with some power up and down the lineup. It’s not a great matchup when you’re facing an All-American style of pitcher… It’s be tough.”

After the midweek matchup, the Gators will play their final home series of the
regular season this weekend against No. 15 Missouri. First pitch is set for Friday 6 p.m., followed by Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m.

For comments from coach Tim Walton and Stephanie Tofft, click on the links below:

Walton talks about the Gators’ first matchup against USF

Walton talks about the team’s winning streak

Tofft talks about facing USF

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Tampa Bay Lightning Season Comes to An End

By on April 23rd, 2014

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost 4-3 and were officially swept in the first round of the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoffs by the Montreal Canadians. The last time the Lightning won a playoff series was in the 2010-2011 season when they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Boston Bruins.

After finishing the regular season as the second best team in the East with a record of 46-27, trailing only the Boston Bruins at 54-19, hopes were high in Tampa as the possibility of winning their first Stanley Cup since 2004 was firmly in the minds of Lightning fans. Center Tyler Johnson, who finished third on the team in goals during the season, is upset with how the team played in the playoffs but was happy with how they played in the regular season.

“A lot of stuff just didn’t go right for us but I’m proud of the group we have,” Johnson said. “We found ways to step up  during the season and it was a great season, obviously a disappointing playoffs, but we battled hard and I don’t think you can say anything (negative) about the character in the locker room.”

The Lightning scored two goals in the third period to tie the game 3-3 until a last minute power-play goal by winger Max Pacioretty gave Montreal the lead for good. Losing on a last minute goal is heart breaking according to Johnson, but he is still very proud of how his team fought throughout the game.

“We’re just kind of talking about how hard we worked all season and we just didn’t want to go out the way we did,” Johnson said. “We weren’t playing our best and we just wanted to give it our all and whatever would happen would happen. I thought that last period showed a lot of character from our guys and I’m proud of everybody.”

Montreal moves on to the Eastern Conference semifinals as they will await the winner of the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings.

For audio on this story, click below:

Johnson On the Season

Johnson Is Proud of How the Team Fought

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Miami Heat Look to Take 2-0 Series Lead Agaisnt the Charlotte Bobcats

By on April 23rd, 2014

In the Eastern Conference, the second-seeded Miami Heat are preparing to take on the seventh-seeded Charlotte Bobcats tonight in Miami in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs in the NBA.

The Heat defeated the Bobcats 99-88 on Sunday behind 27 points and 23 points from LeBron James  and Dwyane Wade, respectively.

The Heat and James are coming off of back-to-back championships, and James is in his eighth consecutive playoff appearance. He talks about the valuable experience he has gained over the course of his playoff career.

“My third year was the first year I made the playoffs and to now, I understand what I’m looking at. I understand what’s going to be coming at me and our team and understand me getting into the books and knowing the sets that the team is running, knowing their likes, their dislikes, whatever they like to do out on the floor,” James said. “If I’m ahead of the curve, it’s going to help our team benefit from that.”

The Heat will also benefit from having two days off between games. With each member of the “Big 3″ missing the final week of the regular season, and Wade missing 28 games, the Heat recognize the importance of rest.

“I’m happy with Wednesday. As you play more games and get a little older in the league, you appreciate the days in between,” said Chris Bosh, Miami Heat forward. “If I was a little younger, yeah, I would love to play. But no, I don’t want to.”

The Heat will still face a tall task when facing off against the Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte center Al Jefferson posted 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Heat. Jefferson went to the locker room with a knee injury but later returned to the court. Jefferson talked about the injury.

“It’s kind of awkward feeling something, feeling the pain, but it’s not affecting you moving and stuff,” Jefferson said. “So it’s something I have to get used to, but it felt good. So we just hope to keep it at that level.”

Tipoff from American Airlines Arena in Miami is set for 7 p.m.

For sound, click below.

LeBron James

Chris Bosh

Al Jefferson

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MLB Tuesday recap: Marlins vs Braves and Twins vs Rays

By on April 23rd, 2014

It was a pitcher’s duel on Tuesday night in Atlanta, as the Miami Marlins defeated the Atlanta Braves 1-0, behind 14 strikeouts from Jose Fernandez. The 14 strikeouts tied a career high for Fernandez, as he pitched eight innings of shutout baseball, giving up three hits and no walks. Marlins closer Steve Cishek pitched the ninth to pick up his fourth save of the year.

On the other side, Braves starter Alex Wood was also dominant as he struck out a career high 11 Marlins. Wood went eight innings while giving up the lone run of the game, a Casey McGehee RBI single in the fourth inning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wood became the first National League pitcher to lose back-to-back starts despite allowing one run over eight innings since Tom Seaver in 1973.

The Marlins and Braves will be finishing up their three game series today at 12:10. Miami will be sending out Nate Eovaldi, while the Braves will counter with Aaron Harang.

Meanwhile in Tampa, the Rays defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-3, behind a complete game performance from David Price. Price scattered six hits, while striking out 12 to pick up his third win of the season. Rays manager Joe Maddon was pleased with Price’s performance on Tuesday night.

“His pitch count was in was in really good order, I thought his fastball was actually better towards the end of the game than maybe in the middle of the game,” Maddon said. “I’m always looking at those kinds of signs, velocity was good, strike throwing was good, delivery was good, he wasn’t coming out of his delivery, everything looked like it was in order.”

The Rays offense was led by David DeJesus who had three hits while driving in his first three runs of the season. DeJesus was mired in a hitting slump, but worked with hitting coach Derek Shelton prior to the game, and was able to break out of it against the Twins.

“We were out here early, me and Shelt (Shelton), we’re trying to just stay relaxed, we were trying to use my hands,” DeJesus said. “During BP, Joe (Maddon) was like spread out and just use your hands, don’t use your body at all, and I felt like I was able to bring that into the game and I was able to get some pitches to hit, where sometimes you’re in the game, guys don’t throw it over the middle at the time, so I was able to get pitches and do something with them.”

The Rays will close out their series tonight against the Twins at 7:10.

For audio from the games, click below:

BernsteinFNN (Marlins Radio Call)

VanHorneFNN (Marlins Radio Call)

MaddonFNN

MaddonFNN2

 

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Wednesday Sports Update

By on April 23rd, 2014

The NBA playoffs and a big night for a former Gator; the NHL playoffs where a Florida team is sent packing and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The NBA playoffs are in full swing and the Washington Wizards find themselves up 2-0 against former Gator Joakim Noah and his Chicago Bulls after a 101-99 win on Tuesday.  Former Gator Brad Beal had a big night for Washington, scoring 26 points.   Other winners are Indiana and Toronto.

** In the NHL playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning are swept out of the playoffs by Montreal as the Canadiens win 4-3 Tuesday.   Other winners are Boston, the New York Rangers and San Jose, who now leads the LA Kings 3-0 in their series.

** In baseball, Albert Pujols hits his 500th career home run as his LA Angels beat Washington 7-2.

** The Atlanta Braves lose 1-0 to Miami while Tampa Bay and David Price beat Minnesota 7-3.

** According to several sources, former Gator defensive back Will Hill could face a third suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy; he plays for the New York Giants.

** The Tennessee Volunteers have hired Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall to lead their basketball program, replacing Cuonzo Martin who left for a job at Cal.

** Meanwhile Kentucky loses another player to the NBA as forward Julius Randle announces he will leave school early to enter the NBA Draft.

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Dolphins Halt Gator Baseball Win Streak

By on April 23rd, 2014

After sweeping Georgia at home over the weekend, the Florida baseball team dropped the first of two midweek games it will play this week to Jacksonville University 3-1 Tuesday night, ending a six game winning streak for the Gators.

The Gators took an early lead in the bottom of the second with a solo-shot from junior first baseman Zack Powers. Unfortunately for Florida, Powers was the only player that would plate a run.

Redshirt junior righty Karsten Whitson made the start for the Gators, pitching a season-high five shutout innings with five strikeouts. Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan then relieved Whitson with righty Ryan Harris. To Florida’s dismay, Harris would hit two consecutive batters and give up a three-run homer to sophomore outfielder Dylan Dillard in the seventh, putting the Dolphins ahead.

“You know, credit those guys. Their starting pitcher (Justin Russell) did a heck of a job, he held us to three hits over seven,” O’Sullivan said. “All the credit goes to him and they brought in (Alex) McCrae at the end and he made some pitches when he needed to.”

Up next, the Gators welcome another in-state team, Florida A&M, to McKethan Stadium Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 7 pm, but live coverage begins at 6:55 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio clips from Tuesday’s game, click the links below:

Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan 1

O’Sullivan 2

O’Sullivan 3

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Former Gator Great Joakim Noah wins NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award

By on April 22nd, 2014

Former Florida Gator basketball standout Joakim Noah has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. Noah, who averaged a double-double during the regular season, with 12.6 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game, received 100 first place votes.

The two time All-Star who was named to the first team All-Defensive team in 2013, continued his dominance on the defensive side of the ball this season. Noah averaged 1.5 blocks per game this year, while also leading the team in assists. Noah was quick to credit his teammates for their contributions this year.

“This award is a team award, this wouldn’t be possible without my boy Kirk Hinrich, the old man just picking up full court,” Noah said. “Guys like Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, my whole team. I appreciate them through all the adversity that we gone through, to never let up, and just keep fighting. I’m so proud of that, and it’s bigger than awards.”

Noah has become the defensive anchor on a Chicago Bulls team that prides itself on the defensive end. The Bulls allowed a NBA low 91.8 points per game and were second in opponent field goal percentage. Overall, Noah picked up 555 points out of a possible 1,125 to claim the award, but this isn’t the main award that he wants to pick up. He wants to win an NBA championship.

“I never thought I would be in this position right now,” Noah said. “All I did was just kept working, and to be in this position means a lot, but it’s not about awards; this is a team game and it’s about winning. Winning is what makes me happy, these awards are great, but it’s not the reason I play the game.”

Noah and the Bulls will continue to focus their efforts on the Washington Wizards in their first round matchup in the NBA playoffs. The Wizards currently hold a 1-0 series edge entering Game 2 on Tuesday night.

For audio from Noah, click below:

Noah 1

Noah 2

 

 

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