ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Beal, Wizards Prepare for NBA Playoffs

By on April 16th, 2014

The Washington Wizards (43-38) are going to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008 where they lost to the Lebron-led Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2 in the first round. Led by two young up-and-coming stars in starting point guard John Wall and starting shooting guard, former Gator Bradley Beal, the Wizards will look to win their first playoff series since 2005 when they defeated Chicago in the first round before being swept in the conference semifinals by the eventual champion Miami Heat.

Here on the last day of the NBA regular season, there are still many questions the Wizards face as they could finish as high as the five-seed or as low as the seven-seed depending on the outcome of several games tonight. According to Bradley Beal, the team does not care what seed they end up with as they are solely focused on their team and what they need to do to win.

“Any team is capable of doing the same thing, no matter who we play, it will be a tough assignment,” Beal said. “I’m going to have the same mentality playing against Miami, Chicago, Toronto, or Indiana, it doesn’t matter. We’re all, as a team, going to come in with the same mentality that we’re going to play hard every night and take it game-by-game and go try to win a series.”

After spending one year at the University of Florida during the 2011-2012 season, Beal noticed a big maturity leap in his personal life and his overall game play which he attributes directly to Gator coach Billy Donovan.

“Coach Donovan is a great coach, one of the best I ever played for,” Beal said. “His system and his style of play matured me, made me grow up as a man and be prepared, not just for basketball, but for life outside of basketball and I definitely give a lot of credit to him because he brought me in and didn’t guarantee me anything and pushed me to be the man I am today.”

Beal is second on the team averaging 17 points per game in only his second year in the league trailing only Wall’s 19.4 points per game. While the two are known for their offensive presence on the court, Wall is quick to point to the real strength of the team, defense.

“Main thing we do when we’re not making shots, in the past, we get down and don’t play defense on the other end,” Wall said. “We just keep preaching and trying to tell guys if you’re not making shots, you still have a whole half or three quarters to make shots and if you keep playing defense, you give yourself a chance.”

Although today is the last day of the regular season, Washington’s playoff future is still very murky. The Wizards wrap up the regular season tonight on the road against the Boston Celtics (25-56). A win for the Wizards and a loss by the Brooklyn Nets (44-37) to the Cleveland Cavaliers (32-49) will secure the five-seed for the Wizards. If both the Nets and Wizards win, Washington will secure the six-seed. A loss by the Wizards and win for the Charlotte Bobcats (42-39) over the Chicago Bulls (48-33) would hand the Wizards the seven-seed with a difficult first round match-up against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat (54-27).

For audio on this story, click below:

Beal on Playoffs

Beal on Coach Donovan

Wall on Defense

 

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Wednesday Sports Update

By on April 16th, 2014

The NBA regular season ends, the NHL playoffs begin, Tennessee is looking for a new basketball coach and baseball is in full swing in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The NBA regular season ends tonight and the playoffs are right around the corner.   San Antonio is the top seed in the West while Indiana is the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

** The NHL playoffs begin tonight with a new format.   The team with the best regular season record, Boston, plays Detroit.

** Tennessee is looking for a new men’s basketball coach after Cuonzo Martin leaves to take the head coaching job at Cal.

** More players declare for the NBA Draft including Arizona’s Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas.

** In MLB results, Miami breaks an eight game losing streak with an 11-2 win over Washington.  Meanwhile, Tampa Bay will lose pitcher Matt Moore for the season after he said he will have Tommy John surgery.

** And free agent running back Chris Johnson visits the New York Jets as the free agent looks to sign with a new team after being released by Tennessee after six seasons.   Johnson ran for almost 1100 yards last year.

 

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Florida Baseball Finishes Road Stretch With A Win In Fort Myers

By on April 16th, 2014

The Florida baseball team took the final game of a three game series against Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday night with a 7-1 road win.  This was the last game of an eight game road stretch.  The Gators managed a 5-3 record in these games with three of the wins coming against top five teams.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is pleased with the state of his team.

“This was a really good game for us. I told our guys after the game that I’m proud of the way they played on this road trip. There was no let up tonight. We had some timely hits with two outs, we got some clutch hits there and I thought we ran the bases really well tonight. Turgeon swung the bat well to start the game off and I thought Gushue looked as good as he has all year. Eight of nine guys got hits. Richie Martin looked really good at the plate. A lot of guys contributed.”

Florida had 15 hits in the game and went 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position.  Eight different Gators earned a hit in the game, including Taylor Gushue who extended his hit streak to 11 consecutive games.  Buddy Reed also carried his weekend success into Tuesday night’s action, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

The Gators used four different pitchers in the game.  Ryan Harris got the start and the win, going two innings only allowing one hit.  In relief Kirby Snead looked untouchable, facing just 13 batters in four innings of work.  FGCU starter Brady Anderson struggled, giving up nine hits and four runs in four innings on the hill.

Coach O’Sullivan knows it is important for his pitching staff to continue its success.

“It was good to get Ryan (Harris) out there for his first career start. We just wanted to get him 30 pitches or so. I felt that it was important to get to a good start down here. It’s really important when you get on the road to a put a zero on the board in the first. We had a lot of confidence in Ryan. Kirby Snead was outstanding. Four innings and I don’t think he even threw 40 pitches. He’s going to be ready to go this weekend. Shafer did his job and we got Shaun Anderson out there as well. A lot of guys got into the game. We had the opportunity to get Mattson in there to catch from the seventh inning on. Really a good ball game overall for us. It was a heck of a way to finish the eight game road trip.”

Florida now returns home for an eight game stretch in Gainesville.  The Gators will take on SEC East rival Georgia this weekend.  

Audio from the game is below.

Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan

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Florida Baseball Looks To Take Series Against FGCU

By on April 16th, 2014

The Florida baseball team heads south to Fort Myers for a series rubber match
against Florida Gulf Coast tonight. The Gators dropped Game One of the series 2-1,  then blanked FGCU in Game Two 4-0.

Florida will look to carry momentum into Tuesday night’s game, coming off a series win against South Carolina. With the win the Orange and Blue grabbed first place in the SEC East. .

Florida has proven to shut down teams late in games this season,
racking up a record of 21-1 when tied or leading after six innings of
play this year. Florida has not decided who will get the start Tuesday
night, FGCU will send redshirt sophomore Brady Anderson. Anderson will
bring a solid 2.03 ERA to the hill with a record of 2-1.

Taylor Gushue and Braden Mattson have continued to be Florida’s biggest threats this season.  Gushue is batting .326 with 30 RBIs backed up by Mattson’s solid .323 average with 20 RBIs.  Buddy Reed looks to bring his weekend’s success to the diamond Tuesday night.  Reed earned his first three hit game of his career over the weekend and is  batting .228 on the season.

First pitch tonight is set for 6:30 you can tune into the Gator IMG Sports Network for coverage starting at 6:25.

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Tuesday Sports Update…

By on April 15th, 2014

The NBA regular season winds down, the playoffs start soon for the NHL and some baseball results too in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The NBA’s regular season ends Wednesday and the Miami Heat will be the number two seed in the Eastern Conference after they lose to Washington 114-93 Monday night.   Indiana will be the top seed in the East.

** The NHL playoffs start Wednesday with a new format.  The Boston Bruins had the best regular season record and they’ll start the playoffs by facing Detroit.

** In baseball, the Miami Marlins have now lost eight straight games after losing to Washington 9-2 Monday; the Marlins are now 5-9.  Atlanta stays hot, beating Philadelphia 9-6 while Tampa Bay is rocked 7-1 at Baltimore.

** Former Gator Mike Zunino homered and drove in two runs as his Seattle Mariners beat Texas 7-1.

** A new Fan Advisory Council is being created by the University Athletic Association that allows those on the council to advise the UAA on how to provide a better fan experience in football.   About a dozen season ticket holders will make up the council.

** Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has announced he’s coming out of retirement and is aiming toward possibly competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

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Transferred golfer Richard Donegan wears Orange and Blue best

By on April 15th, 2014

@gatorzonegolf

Donegan and Coach Alexander at the Sea Best Invitational

From small town Okeechobee, Gator golfer Richard Donegan says going to school in Gainesville is just like being home. However, Donegan’s collegiate golf career did not start at the University of Florida.

Donegan is a transfer student from Florida Atlantic University. During his freshman season, he was the leading scorer on the team with an average score of 73.1 and tied for the most rounds played in a season (29). Still, Donegan couldn’t pass up the opportunity he had at UF.

“The legacy that Coach (Buddy) Alexander has really stands out compared to other schools that I was talking to. I feel like this is the best opportunity to get better over the next few years, I just wanted to take a chance and this is where I’m at now,” he says. He has already made it onto the World Amateur Golf Ranking list; after college, he is hoping to play professionally on the PGA Tour.

Donegan began golfing at a young age. He said that his Mom and Dad were the reason for his success early on, even if it cost his dad some course time.

“My parents didn’t necessarily play golf that much, but when they did my Dad definitely took me out on some courses and sometimes got kicked off because of me, being a little kid. Then when I was in eighth and ninth grade we moved right next to a golf course, and in your free time when you can’t drive yet you just have to go out and find something to do and that was golf for me.”

In high school, Donegan played three or four months out of the year; he also played baseball until his senior year when he focused on golf, and it truly paid off. He won the Class 2A state championship, and he was the only golfer to finish at an even par during the tournament.

When asked if he had any pre-match rituals that help him score so well, he said he’s not really a “freaky guy.” Just like anyone else though, he has his superstitions. “I always eat the same breakfast whenever we play in the morning: a couple eggs over medium, some sausage, and always some chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is essential.”

Donegan has been already been a huge asset to the Gator golf team, earning the best score in their first event of the season; his hopes are high for his first season as a Gator.

“Hopefully we can compete for a national title, that’s everybody’s goal- get the SEC and national title.”

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Bubba Watson gets his second Masters victory

By on April 14th, 2014

For the second time in the last three years, Bubba Watson leaves Augusta National as the winner of the Masters.

Watson shot a 69 in the final round to take home the green jacket by three strokes.

“Solid golf still has a chance. I knew the difficulty coming up, the difficulties the rest of the way, the emotions that it takes, the emotions you have to fight, (and) the thoughts you have to fight off,” said Watson. “So I knew if I just played some solid golf – some great golf, you’ll always have a chance.”

Watson joins a list that includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, and Phil Mickelson as multiple-time champions at the Masters.

He also becomes the seventh golfer ever to have his first two major victories come at Augusta National.

“To win twice, to be with the great names… small town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets,” Watson said. “It’s pretty wild.”

There was no final-round drama like in 2012 when Watson edged out South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen in a sudden-death playoff for the victory.

He held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth (72) who tied with Jonas Blixt (71) for runner-up.

“I got lucky enough to have two green jackets. I’m just trying to keep my tour card every year,” Watson said. “And if people say that I’m a good player, that’s great but I’m not trying to play golf for a living. I’m not trying to play golf for everyone to tell me how great I am or how I’m one of the greats of the game. I’m trying to play golf because I love it. I love the game.”

To hear the audio from the story, click below:

Watson talks about his mindset going into the final round.

Despite all the success, Watson stays true to where he came from.

Watson talks about his love for the game of golf.

 

 

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Monday Sports Update…

By on April 14th, 2014

Bubba Watson wins The Masters, some MLB results, the NBA regular season winds down and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** Bubba Watson wears the green jacket as the Masters champion for the second time in three years after winning the event Sunday.   He won by three shots with an eight under par score.

** In the NBA, the Indiana Pacers are still the top seed in the Eastern Conference after a big win against Oklahoma City on Sunday 102-97.  If Indiana wins one of its last two games, it will clinch the top seed.

** Orlando, winding down the regular season, loses 97-88 to New Jersey.

** In baseball, Atlanta completes a sweep of Washington with a 10-2 win on Sunday.  The Braves start a series at Philadelphia today, after the Phillies complete a sweep of Miami with a 4-3 win.

** Tampa Bay is beaten by Cincinnati 12-4 and the Rays begin a series at Baltimore tonight.

** Gator tennis wraps up its regular season with wins; the women and men beat Kentucky and now prepare for the SEC Tournament.

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Gator Baseball Defeats South Carolina and Leads SEC East

By on April 14th, 2014

The No. 25 ranked Florida Gator baseball team scored four runs in the eighth inning to take the rubber game of a three game series with fourth ranked South Carolina with a 6-5 win on Sunday. 

The Orange and Blue had a resilient weekend, with two come from behind wins, but it was not easy.   Florida had to rally for its two wins and it overcame a five error day in winning on Sunday.  

With the win, Florida improves to 23-13 overall and to an SEC East leading 9-6 in conference play.

The Gators pivotal inning came in the eighth, which began with Florida trailing 4-2.  With one out, Taylor Gushue, Braden Mattson and A.J. Puk singled.  Peter Alonso ripped a shot into left field off the shortstop’s glove and was credited with a fielder’s choice and RBI as Gushue and Mattson scored to tie the game.

First baseman Zack Powers hit a double off the wall in left field to plate pinch runner Jason Lombardozzi and Buddy Reed followed with a single to left that scored pinch runner Josh Tobias.  The Gamecocks hit a solo homer in the eighth but the Gators hung on for the win.

Florida used a total of seven pitchers and limited the Gamecocks to only seven hits. Starter Danny Young ( 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 SO) saved a bases loaded situation in the second and gave up only one unearned run in the first. Florida was able to score two runs in the third off a two-out rally. Reed began things with a single and Harrison Bader reached base on an error. Gushue and Mattson followed with consecutive singles up the middle to score Reed and Bader.

Karsten Whitson (2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) replaced Young in the third and retired his first five batters and didn’t give up his first hit until the fifth. A controversial error charged to shortstop Richie Marin allowed the Gamecocks an extra out, which they were able to tie up the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout. Bobby Poyner ended the inning with a strikeout and continued on with a scoreless sixth.

Carolina would push across two runs in the seventh to go ahead 4-2 before the Gators rallied for the win.  Dane Dunning gets his first collegiate win and Eric Hanhold got his second save.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan says his team should feel great with how they played.

“It should give us a lot of confidence moving forward. The thing is, we are only half-way through the conference schedule and we have a lot of baseball left to play, but this is a really really good weekend for us,” says Coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

These two losses at home for South Carolina mark only their second and third of the year. Next up for Florida is the last of eight straight road games when it visits Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

To hear audio from Coach O’Sullivan click below:

Sully 1

Sully 2

Sully 3

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Florida Lacrosse Wins Share of ALC Regular Season Title on Senior Day; Defeats Vanderbilt 14-9

By on April 14th, 2014

Zak Dahlheimer / ESPN 850 WRUF

No. 4 Florida defeats Vanderbilt 14-9 in Gainesville

The No.4 Florida Gator lacrosse team (14-2, 5-0) defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 14-9 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium Sunday, taking home a share of the American Lacrosse Conference regular season championship. The Gators also celebrated Senior Day, recognizing redshirt senior goalie Cara Canington and senior defender Krista Grabher in a post-game ceremony.

“I credit Vanderbilt for a really great, well-executed game plan,” Gators head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Those kids fought hard and I thought our team came out and competed, and got the goals when they needed to get them.”

It was also a record-setting day for the Gators, with junior midfielder Shannon Gilroy becoming the single-season points leader with 88 points on the season, breaking the record set by Kitty Cullen in 2011. Gilroy posted four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the game against the Commodores.

“They (Vanderbilt) came out very strong. We prepared for them the best we could, and I thought we did that very well during the first half, especially in the beginning of it,” Gilroy said. “In the second half, we kind of slipped up a little bit, but we pulled it in at halftime and we were able to come back and play our game.”

Freshman attacker Sammi Burgess led the Gators with five points, including a career-high four goals.

“We challenged Sammi to get better. She had struggled a little bit, but she put in some extra work this week,” O’Leary said. “I thought today she performed tremendously.”

With the win, the Gators are now on a six game winning streak and have won 28 straight at home.

“It’s important for us to be confident. We are such a young team, and we’ve only lost two games and that’s huge,” Burgess said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to come out with only two losses with one game left in our season. We should have confidence, and when we play with confidence, we play better.”

The Gators will head to Evanston, Illinois for their final game of the season to take on conference opponent Northwestern this Saturday.

Click below to hear from Head Coach Amanda O’Leary:

Head Coach Amanda O’Leary 1

Head Coach Amanda O’Leary 2

Head Coach Amanda O’Leary 3

Click below to hear from Shannon Gilroy:

Junior Midfielder Shannon Gilroy

Click below to hear from Sammi Burgess:

Freshman Attacker Sammi Burgess

 

 

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