ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

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:

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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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Floridas’ New Offense Unveiled During Orange and Blue Debut, Muschamp Pleased

By on April 13th, 2014

The Florida Football team concluded spring practice with its annual Orange and Blue Debut at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. 35,834 faithful fans packed the Swamp for a closer look at the development of the new uptempo, shotgun spread offense under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The Gators ran 111 plays and both teams combined for more than 600 yards of offense, ending in a 23-23 tie between the Orange and Blue. Florida head coach Will Muschamp said he is proud of how well the team has progressed this spring.

“Extremely pleased with the day offensively,” Muschamp said. “After 15 practices with how far we’ve come, I attribute a lot of that to Kurt Roper and our offensive staff and the job they’ve done. Our kids have been very receptive. They have confidence in what we’re doing, and I think it’s a good fit. I really do.”

After getting off to a slow start, starting quarterback Jeff Driskel along with the new and improved offense made their debut showcasing their talent, scoring 23 points, and piling up 258 total yards. Driskel also completed 19 of 33 passes for 171 yards including a 31 yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson in his first game action since suffering a broken leg against Tennessee last season.

“I thought we were very efficient. We moved the ball very well,” Driskel said. “We only turned it over one time, only had one penalty on offense. When you’re not beating yourself up, you can really gain momentum and gain confidence. We had some big plays; that’s just something we’re going to have to continue to do in order to have a good offense, and I think we will.”

The redshirt junior said the players have great confidence in Roper’s offense.

“It means a lot,” Driskel said. You have to believe in the scheme, which I’m sure our guys do,” he said. “When you turn on the film of Duke from the last few years, they spread the ball around, they give it to a bunch of guys, and a bunch of guys making big plays. “When you see that from their team, it’s exciting when you look at our skill players on offense.”

Tailbacks Kelvin Taylor, Mack Brown and Adam Lane each had solid performances running the ball. The trio combined for 156 yards and two touchdowns, led by Lane with 64 yards on 12 carries.

“I’m very pleased with Adam Lane today,” Muschamp said. “Kelvin made a really nice run, Mack made a couple nice runs as well. ” We get Matt Jones back in the fall, so we have enough talent to have a great football team but these next 112 days are going to be critical for us.”

Sophmore wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood also had a solid performance during Saturday’s game. Fulwood talked about how the team as a whole is adjusting to the new offense.

“There is no conditioning and no type of running that you can do to that can prepare you for this type of uptempo offense,” the Jacksonville native who had four receptions for 32 yards said. “As far as moving the ball, I think we do that very well, getting the ball out, spreading the ball around. It’s met (the offense) and gone beyond my expectations.”

Meanwhile, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. were held out of the spring game so coaches could see how younger players would perform and to prevent injury while Marcus Maye and Leon Orr missed the game due to injuries.

Florida fans wanted to see an impressive offense and the Gators delivered on Saturday. There are now 112 days left until fall camp begins, but the preparation for the 2014 season is in full swing.

 

For audio on the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on new offense

Muschamp on talent level

Driskel on uptempo offense

Driskel on teamates confidence on Roper’s offense

Fulwood on uptempo offense

 

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Gator Baseball Wins 13-Inning Thriller to Even Series With Carolina

By on April 13th, 2014

A day after coming up short to the Gamecocks, the Gator baseball team evens the series with a come from behind 4-3 win Saturday night in 13 innings.

After a strong start for both pitchers, the Gamecocks jumped on the board in the fifth with a two-out RBI double by Joey Pankake, which was promptly followed by a Marcus Mooney RBI single.

South Carolina threatened to build on their 2-0 lead as they loaded the bases in the sixth, but only managed to add a single run with a one-out RBI single by Elliott Caldwell.

Florida stayed persistent and broke up the shutout in the eighth when pinch hitter A.J. Puk came through with an RBI double that brought home Buddy Reed to make it 3-1. An RBI single from Richie Martin brought the Gators within one run before South Carolina’s Joel Seddon managed to end the inning.

The Gamecocks tried to respond in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases once again, but stranded all runners with stellar pitching by the Gator bullpen.

This proved to be crucial as the Gators were able to add another run in the top of the ninth on an RBI sacrifice fly from Casey Turgeon to tie up the contest 3-3.

Florida broke through with a run in the 13th inning on a sacrifice fly by Justin Shafer and Puk shut down the Gamecocks in the bottom of the inning and Florida evened up the series 1-1. Both teams are now 8-6 in SEC play as well, tied for first in the SEC East.

“There were so many different things that happened throughout the game,” Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.

“I think we played 19 different players and pitchers. There was a lot of movement. We hung in there when we were down. We had not swung the bat well through seven, but to score two in the eighth, one in the ninth and to finish it off in the thirteenth was huge,” O’Sullivan said.

The deciding series finale and overall lead of the SEC East is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Carolina Stadium on Sunday.

Catch our live coverage on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 1:25.

For audio from the game, click the links below:

Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan 1

Kevin O’Sullivan 2

Kevin O’Sullivan 3

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Gator Softball downs N.C. State; Improve win streak to six

By on April 13th, 2014

The No. 6/8 Florida Gator softball team extended its winning streak to six games with a 10-0 victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack in five innings Saturday afternoon.

After defeating the Florida A&M Rattlers Friday night 9-0 the Gators continued their hot hitting early Saturday placing five runs on the board in the first. The Gators batted around and got 10 total at-bats in the inning. The highlight of the inning came from junior outfielder Briana Little who lifted a ball deep to left for a three run bomb scoring junior Lauren Haeger who had a two-run double earlier in the inning and sophomore Taylor Schwarz.

The Gators would then follow that hit with a walk from freshman Chelsea Herndon and a double from sophomore catcher Aubree Munro. The double from Munro ended up being the nail in the coffin for Wolfpack starting pitcher Emily Weiman who came in the game with a record of 22-8 on the season. Weiman finished without a full inning of work allowing five runs off five hits. Gators Head Coach Tim Walton said after the game he was proud of his team’s fast start.

“We had some real quality at-bats, and we did some really good things. I was really pleased with the way we performed and the way we worked.”

Opposite Weiman in the circle was Gator ace Hannah Rogers. Rogers entered this game having won her last three starts and she looked dominant throughout. After getting all three N.C State batters to pop out in the first inning, Rogers was able to settle into the game early.

Rogers would cruise through the next couple innings before running into her one and only jam in the top of the fourth. After allowing two leadoff singles to the Wolfpack’s Molly Hutchison and Hanna Sommer, Rogers got senior Leah Jones to ground into a double play. The senior pitcher followed that with a strikeout and the Wolfpack’s “threat” was over.

For the Gators, a 6-0 lead just wasn’t enough.

In the bottom of the fourth the Gators would decide to give themselves more insurance sending nine batters to the plate. Sophomore Kirsti Merritt led off the inning with a triple and was driven in by Haeger’s second hit of the ball game. A few walks and an N.C State error would follow and the Gators had themselves a 10-0 lead.

With exceptional depth inside the circle, Walton would send Haeger out to pitch in the fifth and she would retire the Wolfpack in order to give the Gators their sixth consecutive victory.

The Gators improved their overall record to 37-8 on the season and with her tremendous four innings of work; Rogers would improve her record to 18-6. Haeger and Little would lead the Gators on the day with three RBI’s a piece and Merritt scored three runs on the day.

The Gators will now get a week’s worth of rest before traveling to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies on Friday. Despite the week off, Merritt says the team will get right back to work Monday.

“We’re going to keep working hard. We need to work on conditioning, get some fly balls from the managers, hit and just work hard despite the off days.”

The Gators currently hold an 8-7 record in SEC play and a good series in College Station would be very beneficial as the Gators move forward in conference play. First pitch of game one between the Gators and Aggies will be Friday at 8pm.  

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

Walton talks about Texas A&M

Walton talks about the importance of their pitching

Merritt talks about the team’s recent success and what that means moving forward

Little talks about the team being able to overcome their struggles

 

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Florida Baseball Drops Game 1 Against Gamecocks

By on April 12th, 2014

The Florida baseball team failed to win the first game of a three game series against the South Carolina Gamecocks Friday night.  Carolina edged the Gators 4-1 in a game where both teams had seven hits.

Friday night marked Florida’s first loss against a top five team this season.  The Gators had previously swept both LSU and top ranked Florida State.  Jordan Montgomery earned the win for the Gamecocks, improving his record to 5-2.  He pitched seven innings, allowing only one run. Closer Joel Seddon came in for relief for Carolina, earning his ninth save of the season.

Florida Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan knew his team needed to do more to get the W.

“We did just enough to stay in the ball game tonight, but unfortunately didn’t do quite enough to get over the hump. I thought Montgomery was really good tonight. He had his changeup going and used his breaking ball early in the count the second time through the order. I thought they played very well. Credit them, but let’s get back out there tomorrow.”

Florida starter and loser Logan Shore also looked impressive, pitching seven innings, allowing four runs.

Florida got off to a promising start in the game, scoring the game’s opening run in the top of the first.  With two outs in the inning, Taylor Gushue delivered a single to left that scored Richie Martin.  Florida held the lead until the fifth, when Carolina rallied for a three run inning.  The Gamecocks added another run in the eighth, putting the game out of reach.

Florida had a chance in the eighth inning, loading the bases with one out all on walks. However, pinch hitter Zack Powers hit into a double play to end the threat.

Game two is Saturday at 4pm; righty Aaron Rhodes will get the start for Florida.  You can listen live on ESPN 850 WRUF with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell on the call.

For audio from the game, click below.

Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan

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Gator Softball’s Bats Come Alive to beat FAMU

By on April 12th, 2014

The No. 6/8 Gator Softball team trounced Florida A & M (15-22, 3-3 MEAC), 9-0 in five innings on Friday, thanks to strong pitching and big bats at the plate. The win pushes their record against in-state opponents to 6-1 this season.

Freshman lefty Delanie Gourley threw a one-hit shutout with just one walk and seven strikeouts to run her record to 12-1 on the season. Three players had multiple hits for the Gators (36-8), who won their fifth consecutive game.

After Gourley fanned three Rattler hitters and one FAMU batter reached on an error in the top of the first inning, the Gator offense started quickly. Sophomore Kelsey Stewart led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. The infielder has reached base in every non-SEC game this year. Stewart then stole second base and came home on an RBI single by senior Stephanie Tofft. Florida continued its early rally with a run-scoring base hit from junior Briana Little that plated Tofft.

Florida’s southpaw retired FAMU in order in the second. Junior Jessica Damico hit a one-out single and stole second base, but was stranded as the Gators went scoreless in the frame. The hit marked Damico’s first hit of the season.

The Rattlers drew a one-out walk in the third, but Gourley stranded the runner at second. The Orange and Blue erupted for six runs in the bottom of the frame, sending 11 batters to the plate. The big inning began with a single from Tofft, who scored two batters later on an RBI single up the middle by Taylor Schwarz. Following a walk to Bailey Castro and a single by Briana Little, Taylore Fuller broke the game open with a grand slam to center that made the score 7-0 in favor of the Gators.

Fuller’s grand slam was her third of the year, and the team’s sixth. The sophomore has three of the Gators’ last four slams, all since March 14. Seven of Fuller’s 12 hits this year are home runs, which she says could be a blessing and a curse.

“That’s a good thing and bad thing, I guess. I’m working on it. I want to continue producing for my team, and as long as I’m producing for my team, I don’t really care how many hits I have.”

UF’s breakout inning continued with a single from Stewart, who was lifted for pinch-runner Chelsea Herndon. The freshman stole second and then scored two batters later on Tofft’s second run-scoring single of the game. Once the Gators were retired in the third, Gourley allowed FAMU its only hit of the contest on a well-placed single up the middle. Shortstop Kathlyn Medina made an impressive play to get to the ball, but could not throw the runner out in time.

Florida added another run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by pinch-hitter freshman Justine McLean, who batted in place of Medina. Gourley finished off the one-hit shutout with a 1-2-3 fifth inning, including her seventh strikeout of the night as the Gators earned their ninth mercy-rule victory of the year.

With the victory, Florida improved to 11-0 all-time against Florida A & M. The mercy rule win is the sixth in series history, including the third straight game dating back to 2009. The game also marks the first of two non-conference games for the Gators, which Walton says the Gators can use to improve before SEC play resumes next weekend.

“There are some things we’re still working on in practice, and we’re doing conditioning and fitness and all the things we need to try to do to make a run here at the end. You can’t do that if you’re hurt or tired, so we’re really trying to work hard and get ourselves mentally and physically prepared for the last portion of the season.”

The Gators are back on the diamond Saturday when they host North Carolina State (25-10, 12-4 ACC) at 3 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium.

For comments from Head Coach Tim Walton, Taylore Fuller, and Delanie Gourley, click on the links below:

Walton talks about Delanie Gourley’s performance

Walton talks about the performance of the bench players

Walton talks about the strong offensive performance

Fuller talks about her success at the plate

Fuller talks about Gourley’s performance in the circle

Gourley talks about the team’s recent success

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Florida Baseball Looks To Take Top Spot In SEC East Against South Carolina This Weekend

By on April 11th, 2014

The Florida baseball team (21-12) travels to No. 4 South Carolina this weekend for a three game series in Columbia.  The winner of the series could take the outright lead in the SEC East.  The Gators are feeling confident heading into the match up, carrying an undefeated record against top five teams this season.

The hot hand of freshman Logan Shore will get the start for the Gators Friday night.  Shore has been dominant in his last few appearances.  Last Saturday against Kentucky, Shore went 7.0 scoreless innings allowing just three hits in the game.  Shore is 3-1 on the year with a 1.15 ERA.

In opposition to the Florida freshman will be 6 foot 5 lefty Jordan Montgomery.  Montgomery has started eight games for the Gamecocks this season earning four wins on a 3.83 ERA.

The Florida offense will look to pick up right where they left off this week.  The Gators had nine different batters earn a hit in route to an 8-0 defeat of No. 1 Florida State Tuesday night.  John Sternagel has been a pleasant surprise for the Gators since taking over at third base.  Since March 25th he’s batting .341.  The Gators have also hit four homers in their last four games. 

Florida swept Carolina in 2013, winning all three games of the series played at Mckethan Stadium.  Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is 13-10 against the Gamecocks and 5-4 on the road. 

First pitch is set for 7 Friday night, tune into Country 103-7 The Gator at 6:55pm where Steve Russell and Jeff Cardozo will get the call.   

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Miami Heat and Orlando Magic Nearing End Of regular seasons

By on April 11th, 2014

Both the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic are nearing the end of their regular seasons. The Magic will not make the playoffs but they did get a much needed upset win over the Brooklyn Nets 115-111 on Wednesday. However, the Heat weren’t so lucky losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 107-102. 

Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn had some words for shooting guard Aaron Afflalo.

“He was pretty aggressive tonight and it was good for our team and he probably played 11 and a half minutes of the first quarter.   He had it really going for us and we established ourselves from the offensive end and he was good defensively also.”

Next up for both team the Heat will play the Indiana Pacers on Friday at 7:30pm and the Magic will play the  Washington Wizards on Friday at 7:00pm.

Inglis 1

Vaughn 1

 

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UF Women’s Tennis Ready for Vanderbilt Challenge

By on April 10th, 2014

After a 4-2 win against 24th ranked Ole Miss on Sunday, Florida remains number seven in the country and  improves its record to 17-4 (9-2 SEC). The Gators are currently preparing for their next match-up against Vanderbilt on Friday.

Gator head coach Ronald Thornqvist says his team is as healthy as can be.

“We’re about as healthy as we have been in a long time, maybe a couple small things here and there, which sort of comes with it this time of year. We are running quite a bit and lifting quite a bit. We are getting ready for some hot and humid weather, and tournament play in a few weeks.”

Vanderbilt is currently ranked eighth and has a very similar record in comparison to the Gators (17-4, 10-2 SEC). This is the final weekend of regular-season matches before the SEC Tournament.

Coach Thornqvist says Vanderbilt has no holes in its lineup.

“One thing that stands out with this Vanderbilt team is that they have pretty much the same type of player, or quality of player up and down the lineup. There are no holes in their lineup. There are no spots you say hey they’re good there but not so good there, they’re good in all six spots.”

The SEC remains the dominant conference in women’s tennis, and Thornqvist takes it as no surprise, saying the competition within the SEC is great for the team.

“I think it’s really great for us, and it shows. I think we have five teams in the top 10 in the country. If you can survive, and I’ll say year in and year out, if you win this league, you have a chance to win a national championship every year.”

Alexandra Cercone, Olivia Janowicz, and Sofie Oyen all have something to share together this weekend. The three seniors will compete in their last regular season match as a Florida Gator.  The Gators will honor their three seniors prior to Sunday’s match against Kentucky.

Coach Thornqvist says he’s been blessed to have these three seniors on his team.

“I think as a group of three, that’s as good of a senior group that we’ve had in years here. I’ve been really blessed, we’ve all been blessed to have them.”

Florida will play Vanderbilt at 3pm on Friday, and Kentucky on Sunday at 1pm.

For audio on this story, click below:

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