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The Road Ends Here; Florida Baseball Falls 5-4 to UVA

By on June 21st, 2015

Florida’s College World Series run in 2015 is over.

Virginia sets up a rematch from last year’s CWS final with Vanderbilt with a 5-4 win over Florida in Omaha on Saturday night.

It was a long and winding road in 2015 for the Florida baseball team. Expectations were blurry given how young the team was but this group proved to have loads of talent. The Gators fought hard in the postseason, winning the SEC Tournament and grinding all the way to the College World Series. But Florida met its match in Virginia as the Cavaliers take two of three from the Gators in the tournament semi-finals.

It was a hard fought battle, Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was proud of the way his club fought.

“There’s only going to be one team standing at the end of the year that’s going to be the champion. And I’m not going to lie to you, you know, I felt like if we had a chance to play in the championship round, I liked our chances. But obviously we won’t be getting that opportunity. But it’s just we’ve got a great bunch of guys. They worked extremely hard. I don’t even know how many games we won, but we played a difficult schedule. We seemed to answer the bell every time we needed to when our backs were against the wall. Tonight just didn’t work out for us. But I’m awfully proud of them.”

The game went back and forth on Saturday. Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan elected to start Dane Dunning the mound rather than AJ Puk on short rest.  After a solo homer gave Virginia a 1-0 lead, Florida’s Peter Alonso hit the first ever home run hit to center field at TD Ameritrade park during a CWS game to give UF a 2-1 lead.  Virginia scraped back to make it a 2-2 game but Harrison Bader broke the knot with a solo shot of his own making it a 3-2 game. Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 2.50.22 AM

In the fifth, Virginia’s Kenny Towns hit a two run double off of reliever Kirby Snead to give UVA a 4-3 lead.

The Gators tied it in the sixth on an RBI hit by Mike Rivera but the bullpen could not keep the lead.  A sacrifice fly by Towns plated the eventual winning run in the seventh inning.

Florida’s Harrison Bader talked about the tough loss after the game and finishing his career at UF.

“No crying in baseball. I just — I just want to go on record and say there’s just so much that kids have poured into this program outside of what you see on the field. And it’s just been an absolute honor to play under Sully and Brad and Craig and all the assistant coaches I had.”

Florida will lose three everyday players in the lineup heading into next year but Kevin O’Sullivan knows the future is bright.

“There’s a lot of disappointed players in that locker room right now. But there are some things we can improve on moving forward and these guys are resilient. We’ve got a great club coming back. I’m obviously really proud of the juniors and seniors. They’ll be moving on. But we’ve got an awfully good bunch coming back, and we’ve got some newcomers that are coming in; they’ll help us right away, and we’re looking forward to hopefully getting back here next year.”

Florida finished the year 52-18 marking one of the best years in Florida baseball history. The Gators will return to next season still looking for the first ever national title in school history. They will have to follow up in 2016 with what was the second most wins they have had in a single season in school history.

Sound from the game:

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

Florida Left Fielder Harrison Bader

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Florida vs Virginia June 20, 2015

By on June 21st, 2015

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Virginia falls 10-5 to Florida Baseball In CWS

By on June 20th, 2015

After getting shut down by the Virginia Cavaliers on Monday, the Florida baseball team bounced back Friday afternoon in a strong way, beating Virginia 10-5 to set up an elimination game with the Cavaliers on Saturday.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says his team is focused.

photo“Obviously we’re excited about the opportunity to play tomorrow. I was really concerned when I saw Kirby’s (Virginia pitcher) first couple of innings. He kept flipping changeups in there for strikes and his command looked really good. Our approach was to take a first-pitch strike and get his pitch count up because he was probably going to be on some kind of pitch count. But he kept throwing first-pitch strikes and looked really sharp. We hung in there, and like I said, we played good defense, we had some really good at-bats. Logan gave us a great start again.”

Florida’s Logan Shore entered the game having already won his first College World Series appearance back on Friday. Shore looked very comfortable on the mound pitching into the seventh inning. Shore allowed four runs to reach but did do enough early on to keep the Cavaliers out of Florida’s reach.

The Gators piled on runs in bunches like they have done all season. Two innings accounted for nine of Florida’s 10 runs Friday afternoon. UF shortstop Richie Martin was three for four with two RBI on the day. He talked about making the most of big innings.

“I just think that we’re coming together as a team at the right time throughout the season. We haven’t really put everything together as an offense, defense and pitching-wise. So it’s nice to get this going in the postseason when it matters.”

The Gators have scored double digit runs eight times since the start of the SEC Tournament. Florida will look to continue the momentum tonight at 8 ET against Virginia in a win or go home situation. The winner will face off against Vanderbilt for the national championship. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says he will start either Dane Dunning or A.J. Puk for todays game.

Catch the action on 103-7 the Gator.

Post game sound from Friday’s game against Virginia.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

Florida SS Richie Martin

 

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Virginia vs Florida June 19, 2015 Video Postgame Recap

By on June 20th, 2015

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Friday Sports Update (6/19)

By on June 19th, 2015

Gator baseball back in action at the College World Series, U.S. Open golf, big league baseball, start times announced for Gator football games and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** The Gator baseball team plays Virginia today in the College World Series at 3pm.   Florida must beat Virginia twice to advance to the finals.

** TCU will play Vanderbilt in the other CWS bracket after the Horned Frogs eliminate LSU 8-4 yesterday.

** The second round of the U.S. Open continues today in Washington.   Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson lead the tournament at five under par.   Gator golfers Billy Horschel and Camilo Villegas are at two over, Matt Every is eight over par and current Gator golfer Sam Horsfield is at five over par.   Tiger Woods shot an 81.

** The Tampa Bay Rays play a weekend series with the Cleveland Indians after beating Washington 5-3 yesterday.   Miami is at Cincinnati after losing 9-4 to the New York Yankees and Atlanta plays the NY Mets after losing to Boston 5-2.

** Start times for Florida’s first three football games have been set.   The Gators will play New Mexico State at 7:30 pm followed by a 7 pm game against East Carolina.   Florida will play Kentucky at 7:30 pm as well.

** Heisman Trophy winning running back John David Crow has died at age 79.  He won the Heisman back in 1957 and was an solid NFL running back as well.

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Florida Baseball Lives to Fight Another Day

By on June 18th, 2015

The Florida baseball team is now moving on in the College World Series after it defeats the Miami Hurricanes 10-2 on Wednesday. With the win Florida can say that they have ended in state rival Miami’s season four times in the last six years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2015).

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was excited with how his team played.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 12.09.20 AM“We jumped out with a three spot with a couple of home runs in the first, and I thought that that kind of set the tone. In these elimination games, it’s important that you kind of build some momentum early on. I thought we did that, and Alex came out with a 1-2-3 first and threw the ball extremely well, and I think every starter got a hit. The most important thing is I was really pleased with how we responded today from a tough loss on Monday night.”

Florida jumped ahead to an early lead with the two longest home runs in TD Ameritrade Park history in the first inning. Harrison Bader and Buddy Reed gave the Gators a 3-0 lead with two bombs in the first. The homers helped Florida on the scoreboard, but also helped Gator starting pitcher Alex Faedo who came out in the first inning striking out the Miami side.

Kevin O’Sullivan was not at all surprised from Faedo’s success.

“I think in retrospect, you probably would think that. But I had no anxiousness at all about Alex starting today. I know he’s a freshman. But he’s pitched in the SEC. He’s pitched extremely well the entire year. And, you know, to go one step further, I mean we had four freshmen in the lineup, another freshman on the mound in an elimination game against one of our rivals and I thought all of them played like veterans and I thought Alex pitched like a veteran.”

Florida followed the two homers up with even more offensive success. Both Richie Martin and Peter Alonso went yard in the game to make it a 10-2 final score. This was the first time a team has homered three times in a game at TD Ameritrade Park. Florida did it four times. Peter Alonso passed Harrison Bader for the longest homer in the park. The four deepest shots at TD Ameritrade have come from Gators; 421 feet Peter Alonso Wednesday, 414 feet Harrison Bader Wednesday, 412 feet from Buddy Reed, 406 feet from Preston Tucker in 2011.

Florida’s Harrison Bader said they were just trying to put good swings on the ball.

“With the wind and everything, you saw the wind was blowing a little farther out. But with regards to the at-bat, that first pitch, I mean the first at-bat is kind of something you just want to give an at-bat for your team, see as many pitches as you can. Wasn’t really trying to do too much, honestly, wasn’t trying to do anything at all but just try to barrel something up and I was lucky, it kind of jumped for me. It definitely felt good to get out to an early start.”

Alex Faedo was the winning pitcher in the game striking out seven as he pitched into the sixth inning for the Gators.  Kirby Snead and Shaun Anderson closed things out for Florida, shutting down the Canes with four combined innings of work.

After struggling to score a run against Virginia on Monday, every Gator starter picked up a hit against Miami on Wednesday. Florida has taken 21 of their last 26 against the U. The Gators will have a rematch against Virginia on Friday at 3 pm trying to earn a berth in the CWS final.  Florida will have to defeat the Cavaliers twice. Catch Friday’s action on Country 103-7 the Gator.

Sound from Wednesday’s post game press conference:

Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan

Florida Left Fielder Harrison Bader

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Video Recap: Florida vs Miami Game 2, June 17th, 2015

By on June 18th, 2015

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Thursday Sports Update (6/18)

By on June 18th, 2015

Gator baseball stays alive in the College World Series, a golf major begins today, college football news and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** Harrison Bader led off the game for the Gators with a home run and the Florida baseball team took off from there, beating Miami 10-2 to stay alive in the College World Series while sending the Hurricanes home.   UF plays Virginia on Friday.

** One more team in the CWS goes home today as LSU faces TCU in an elimination game.

** In MLB action, Tampa Bay blanks Washington 5-0; Atlanta downs Boston 5-2 and Miami loses 2-1 to the New York Yankees.

** The PGA has one of its majors, the U.S. Open, begin today in Washington.   Three former and one current Gator golfer are in the field.

** A proposal for an early signing period for college football was tabled for one year by the Collegiate Commissioners Association in a meeting in North Carolina yesterday.   The SEC is opposed to an early signing period.

** Former Gator David Lee, who just won an NBA title with Golden State, may not be with the franchise much longer.   Published reports say the team is trying to work out a trade for him to another club so he can play more.

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Florida Baseball Fights for Life Against Miami

By on June 17th, 2015

After losing to the Virginia Cavaliers in an offensive struggle on Monday night, Florida baseball faces what could be the last game of what has been a magical 2015 season. The Gators will need to defeat the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday night to keep the season alive. at the College World Series.

Last time Florida was shut out this season they exploded for seven and nine runs in their next two games against Vanderbilt back in May, a team that is currently in the College World Series winner’s bracket. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says this team will fight until the end.

“I trust our guys. We’ll have to bounce back. Obviously everybody’s disappointed right now, but we’ve got no choice but to move forward. We’re playing Miami, a rival of ours. So let’s have at it on Wednesday and see what happens.”

Florida will start freshman pitcher Alex Faedo who will make his seventh start this year. Faedo is 5-1 on the year alongside a 4.94 ERA. Faedo has pitched in an elimination game before when he went just over two innings against LSU in the SEC Tournament. He allowed just one Tiger run to reach home in that game.

Miami will match Faedo with Enrique Sosa, a junior right hander. Sosa is 7-4 on the year with a 4.07 ERA. After getting torched by UF on Saturday the Canes rebounded with a walk-off thriller against Arkansas on Monday. This will be the fifth time this year the two Sunshine State teams face off this year. Florida has taken three of four thus far.

Game time for UM vs UF is set for 8 ET. Catch the game on 103-7 The Gator.

Sound from Monday’s postgame against Virginia:

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

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Florida Baseball Falters Monday Night In Omaha

By on June 16th, 2015

 

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After 10 straight games of absolute dominance, the Florida baseball team’s winning ways came to a screeching halt against Virginia on Monday. The Gators were defeated on Monday 1-0 at the College World Series in what turned out to be a pitching duel between A.J. Puk and Virginia’s Brandon Waddell. Waddell came out on top dealing seven scoreless innings allowing just two UF hits.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan gives Waddell a lot of praise.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to credit the pitcher. I’m not going to fault our guys. You gotta remember he’s a fifth-round pick. He beat Vanderbilt last year in the second game, forced a game three. He’s good. Probably the best he’s pitched all year. He was on tonight. I don’t want to take anything away from him, I don’t want to blame our hitters that we didn’t have good approaches. It’s just we ran across a really good pitcher that located his pitches tonight and didn’t give us a whole lot.”

Virginia’s lone run came in the sixth inning. UVA’s Robbie Coman delivered a bases loaded sacrifice fly to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.

It was a tough night for the Gators offensively, having just one runner reach third base the whole night. That moment came when Florida has runners on first and third with no outs in the eighth inning. Three Florida batters were not able to convert in the clutch situation.

O’Sullivan says the eighth inning could’ve gone a whole lot differently.

“Obviously we had a chance there in the eighth with first and third, and Harrison put a really good swing on the ball. And Sborz did a nice job, and kept his composure, got the out at second. It’s one of those things, if the ball gets through it’s a totally different ballgame.”

Florida starter A.J. Puk had an outstanding game in his Midwest homecoming. Growing up four hours outside Omaha in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Puk showed out in front of family and friends. He pitched 5.1 innings, striking out five but took a tough loss.

This was the first time UF had been shutout since May 7th, 2015 against Vanderbilt.

Florida will match up against Miami on Wednesday in a win or go home situation. Catch the action on 103-7 The Gator at 8pm ET.

Sound from the game:

2nd Baseman Dalton Guthrie

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

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