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Wednesday Sports Update (2/18)

By on February 18th, 2015

Gator men’s basketball, SEC hoops, high school hoops, NBA trade deadline and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The Florida men’s basketball team looks to break a four game losing streak tonight when it hosts Vanderbilt; live coverage comes your way at 6:25 pm on Country 103-7 The Gator.

** Gator baseball travels to play at USF tonight; live coverage of the 3-0 Gators on ESPN 850 WRUF at 6:25 pm.

** SEC men’s hoops last night has top ranked Kentucky remaining unbeaten with a 68-48 win over Tennessee.   Elsewhere, South Carolina bumps off Georgia 64-58, Alabama jolts Auburn 79-68 and Texas A&M beats LSU 68-62.   Tonight, Missouri faces Arkansas.

** Congratulations to the boy’s basketball teams at Gainesville High, Eastside, Williston and Hawthorne for winning regional match ups last night and moving on to games later this week.

** The NBA trading deadline is tomorrow.   Teams will look to add help or shed salary, depending on where they are in the standings.

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Gator Swim Teams At SEC Championships

By on February 17th, 2015

The Gator swim teams are both at the SEC Championships that start today at Auburn University.

The Gator men are ranked number one while the women are number four.

The men are looking for their third straight SEC championship and the women are looking to snap their title drought this year with a win. The last time the women won a SEC title was in 2009.

“We are looking for a big weekend. We’ve had two good weeks of training and preparation for the meet so we are looking forward to leaving for Auburn,” said head coach Gregg Troy.

The Gators rank in the top eight of six relays, four for the men and two for the women.

“It has a lot to do with how you prepare for the meet and where your key swims are. So we try to be a little more solid up front and then we’ll slide down a little bit more in the meet with the intention of getting better through all five days,” said Troy.

The SEC championships continue until February 21.

Troy 1  Click here to listen to coach Troy talk about this weekend.

Troy 2 Click here to listen to coach Troy talk about the strategy for the five day meet.

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Florida Baseball Takes on FAMU Tuesday Night

By on February 17th, 2015

The Gator baseball team will match up against their first in state opponent this season as they take on Florida A&M tonight.

Florida will look to redeem themselves Tuesday afternoon after dropping a game to Florida A&M last season. The Orange and Blue have gotten off to one of the hottest starts in team history after they managed to score 37 runs in three games during opening weekend.

Harrison Bader led the way for Florida this past weekend batting over .500 driving in 11 runs in three games. Bader was named SEC Player of the Week alongside being selected as one of Louisville Slugger’s players of the week.

Bader was assisted offensively by handful of freshmen. Freshmen starters Dalton Guthrie, JJ Schwarz, and Mike Rivera all made an impact this weekend. Schwarz was able to launch his first career home run on Saturday. After starting the season a little sluggish, second baseman Dalton Guthrie let loose Sunday going 4 for 5 at the plate.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was pleased with his pitching staff over the weekend as all three of his starters earned wins. Sophomore Brett Morales will look to pick up where the weekend dealers left off as he takes on Florida A&M starter Chase Jarrell Tuesday night.

Florida A&M is 1-2 on the year after losing two of three in an opening series with Marshall University.

First pitch is set for 7, tune into ESPN850 for game coverage at 6:55 pm.

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Tuesday Sports Update (2/17)

By on February 17th, 2015

Gator baseball, high school hoops, SEC hoops, SEC Swim Championships and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The 3-0 Gator baseball team has a home game tonight with Florida A&M, currently 1-2 on the season; live coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:55 pm.

** The Gator swim teams start action in the SEC Championships today; action runs through Saturday.

** SEC men’s basketball tonight features four games including top ranked Kentucky facing Tennessee and Texas A&M playing LSU.   Also, Georgia plays South Carolina and Alabama takes on Auburn.

** Local high school boys regional semifinals take place tonight as local schools Gainesville High, Eastside, PK Yonge, Hawthorne and Williston try to advance with wins.

** The NBA trading deadline is Thursday and already the New York Knicks and forward Amare Stoudemire have agreed to a buyout; he could end up with the Dallas Mavericks.

 

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Florida Softball improves to 11-0 with weekend sweep

By on February 16th, 2015

The Florida Gator softball team advanced its winning record to 11 and 0 with two wins on Sunday. The Gators beat Iowa in a run rule in the fifth inning 8-0. The second game was a bit more challenging against NC State but the Gators still pulled off an 3-0 victory.

Florida pitchers Delanie Gourley and Lauren Haeger shut out their opponents on Sunday to help their team to wins.  Haeger gives us her opinion on the overall pitching performance for the weekend series.

“Alicia came and set the tone for us right away for the weekend. She had a great game on Friday and Delaney came out and had a great seven innings. I think it just really set the tone for the hitters and they knew we were going to shut them out.”

The Gators used small ball to their advantage in both games. In total the Gators had eight players be hit by a pitch and used bunts and stolen bases to gain some runs. Florida coach  Tim Walton says doing the little things helps his team be successful.

“Its part of what we do, we’re not intentionally trying to get hit. If you watch the pitch its typically in the batters box. Its not like were leaning over or trying to get hit. Its just one of those things we have established as a confidence thing, the hitters that can stand there and take it.”

Next up for the Gators is another home weekend series next week, the first game is against Kansas at 4 on Friday.

To hear more from the Gators, click on the links below:

Haeger 1

Walton 2

 

 

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Monday Sports Update (2/16)

By on February 16th, 2015

Lots of Gator sports, the pole set for the Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star Game in our Monday Sports Update…

** A busy weekend in Gator sports sees softball move to 11-0 on the year after winning games in a tournament at home.   Gator baseball opens its year with a sweep of Rhode Island and lacrosse shutout Michigan.   Florida women’s basketball lost Sunday at Mississippi State however.

** The Florida men’s golf team hosted its only home tournament of the year and finished fourth.

** Jeff Gordon, in his final season as a full time racer, wins the pole for the Daytona 500.  Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne are next in line.

** The NBA All Star Game is history for this year.   Russell Westbrook scores 41 and is named MVP as the West beats the East 163-158.

** Brandt Snedeker wins the PGA Pebble Beach event by three shots over Nick Watney.

 

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Gator Baseball completes series sweep over Rhode Island

By on February 16th, 2015

The Gator baseball team completed a three game sweep of Rhode Island with a 6-1 victory on Sunday.

Florida jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI double from Harrison Bader. Bader was seeing the ball well all weekend as he hit three homers and drove in 11 runs; he had only 24 runs batted in all of last season.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Bader swung well all weekend.

”He swung the bat good, the thing about him this weekend is he had his best at bats when runners were in scoring position so it was a good weekend for him.”

Florida started five freshmen in this game with them accounting for six of the team’s nine base hits. Second baseman Dalton Guthrie may have been the biggest spark though going 4 for 5 with two doubles while scoring three runs.  Guthrie talked about how he’s beginning to get comfortable with the team.

“The first night was obviously exciting; I couldn’t really feel my hands the first at bat I was a little nervous. It’s just getting comfortable, new scene, I mean I’ve been playing with the same team the last four years; it’s a little different transitioning but I’m getting more comfortable.”

AJ Puk got the win for the Orange and Blue on the mound giving up just one run and six hits through 4 2/3 innings. Rhode Island’s lone run came on a home run in the fifth inning.

Florida outscored Rhode Island 37-5 in the series and swept the opening series of the season for the first time since 2011.

The Gators have two weekday games coming up against Florida A&M at home this Tuesday and an away game against USF on Wednesday. O’Sullivan says Danny Young and Brett Morales will get the starts on the mound.

Tune into ESPN 850 WRUF for live coverage starting at 6:55 on Tuesday and 6:25 on Wednesday.

Sound from the game click below.

Guthrie 1

Sully 1

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UF Women’s Hoops Falls to #13 Mississippi State

By on February 16th, 2015

The Gator women’s basketball team (12-13) lost on the road to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (24-4) 75-62 on Sunday afternoon.

Although the Gators did their best to hold their own against the Bulldogs at the beginning of the first half, Mississippi State eventually pulled away and went into halftime leading the Gators by 10 points. Florida never led in the second half as the Bulldogs continued to pile on the points by capitalizing on second chance opportunities and by shooting a whopping 47 percent from beyond the arc.

Gator head coach Amanda Butler acknowledged her team’s inability to keep up with the Bulldogs after the game.

“I thought we did a great job, initially, in the first half of setting the tone…of trying to attack their pressure with pressure and putting it right back on them, you know, but we just weren’t able to sustain it.”

Florida’s lack of rebounding and poor defense were two major factors that contributed to this loss. Bulldog center Martha Alwal dominated the Gators on her way to a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Gators were also outrebounded by Mississippi State 37-28 and turned the ball over 20 times throughout the game.

“We didn’t contain dribble penetration, which caused a rotation and they threw it over our heads,” said Butler. “We didn’t get transition offense in the second half the way we did in the first half and a lot of that was because we didn’t rebound as aggressively.”

Florida will look to get back on track and improve its 4-8 record in SEC play when they face Vanderbilt at home this Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 7:00 pm, but you can listen to the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:45.

Listen below for the audio mentioned above:

Butler on their first half intensity

Butler on their poor defense

 

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UF Men’s Hoops Drop Fourth Straight; Fall To TAMU 63-62

By on February 15th, 2015

The Florida men’s basketball team has seen this movie before.

Florida (12-13, 5-7 SEC) extends its SEC losing streak to four games after losing another heart breaker, a 63-62 loss Saturday at Texas A&M.  It is Florida’s fourth one point loss on the season.

Once again the Gators got off to a very sluggish start falling behind 9-2 and they would trail the entire first half. Florida shot an even 40 percent in the first half and an abysmal 15 percent from beyond the arc. For the second straight game the Gators were without the services of junior shooting guard Michael Frazier II and unfortunately the starter that replaced him against Ole Miss just could not reciprocate what he did a few nights ago.

Freshman forward Devin Robinson led the Gators with 14 against the Rebels but couldn’t manage a single point just two days later.

The majority of the scoring for the Gators in the first half came from red shirt juniors Eli Carter and Dorian Finney-Smith who both went into the locker room with nine points each. Outside of those two, the Gators struggled mightily but did however manage to swing all the momentum their way scoring the final five points of the first half.

Despite shooting 48 percent in the second half, the Gators were never able to significantly outplay the Aggies who also shot 48 percent in the final 20 minutes. Florida did manage to sink four 3′s in the second half but they were out-muscled inside at times as well.

The Aggies outscored the Gators inside the paint 42-32 and Gator head coach Billy Donovan noted that was his team’s biggest problem in the second half.

“The biggest issue in the game was in the second half, they really hurt us around the basket offensively. We did not have enough resistance around the basket.”

The Gators never led until the 1:45 mark in the second half but unfortunately they were not able to hold on to that lead. After corralling a defensive rebound, the Gators attempted to get out in transition where a turnover by sophomore point guard Kasey Hill led to a Florida foul that sent Texas A&M to the free throw line. The Aggies would sink both and those would be the final points scored.

After a series of timeouts, Florida got the ball back with a chance to win but after making several passes, Alex Murphy had to attempt a corner three that would not have counted anyway because the clock ran out before the shot was attempted.

Once again the Gators were unable to finish down the stretch but Donovan was happy with the fight they showcased throughout.

“Unlike maybe some past games where in the second half we kind of folded and got a little bit down, this is now three games where I’ve been excited about our fight and we’ve battled and fought, but you have to find a way to come up with a win.”

The Gators did finish with three in double figures led by Carter who totaled a season high 22 points. Carter finished shooting 9-of-17 from the field and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. While the former Rutgers transfer did play his best game of the season, Donovan notes this is something he must build on.

“Going into this game shooting 21 percent, and while he shot the ball well tonight which is great, but we need consistent offense from him,” Donovan noted.  “That’s not saying he’s going to score 22 every night but he needs to be in a situation where his shooting percentage is not astronomically poor. Tonight he was efficient but we can’t have three, four, five games in a row where he is really struggling to shoot the basketball.”

The Aggies (17-7, 8-4) shot 45 percent from the field on Saturday night and 16 percent from beyond the arc. Much like the Gators, Texas A&M finished with three players in double figures led by senior forward Kourtney Roberson who was a force inside and led Billy Kennedy’s squad with 20 points and six rebounds. The Aggies also received 16 from junior guard Jalen Jones and 14 from Danuel House and collectively their efforts would be enough.

The Aggies would get there first win over a Billy Donovan led Gator team and by doing so, would put Florida under .500 on Valentine’s Day for the first time in Donovan’s tenure at UF.  Six games are left in the regular season but Donovan notes his team is going to have to realize the extra effort is needed outside of game situations as well.

“We need discipline in practice. We have to rehearse that discipline every day in practice and just because it’s the end of the game and the game is on the line, there’s a lead up to that, where our discipline wasn’t great in the game and we can’t just try to turn on discipline when the game is tight, we’ve got to be able to do it all the time.”

The Gators will now look to bounce back as they return to Gainesville and the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores, yet another team that has already beaten them this season.

To hear the audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Billy Donovan talks about final possession

Billy Donovan talks about Kasey Hil and team needing to find more scorers

Billy Donovan talks about where the team needs to be better

Billy Donovan talks about one key area where his team struggled

Billy Donovan on Eli Carter

Billy Donovan talks about team’s new intensity as of late

 

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Gator Softball Coach Tim Walton gets 500th & 501st Wins

By on February 15th, 2015

 A packed house at Katie Seashole Pressley Stadium Saturday afternoon

The top ranked Florida softball team remains unbeaten at 9-0 after beating North Carolina State 5-3 and Iowa 8-0 Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.

The victories are numbers 500 and 501 for Florida coach Tim Walton during his tenure at Florida. Senior outfielder Bailey Castro says the offense for the most part is doing what it is supposed to do.

“I think that’s a big thing for our offense, I think being able to walk, get hit by pitches, and get hits here and there, I think that’s going to prove really successful for us.”

The match up between Florida and NC State was a close game. The Wolfpack cut a Gator two run lead down to one in the sixth inning but senior Lauren Haeger had a two run single late in the sixth inning to give Florida a three run cushion.

According to Walton, Haeger “got player of the game for that hit.”

Florida Finished the NC State game strong with freshman Aleshia Ocasio going in for Delanie Gourley in the circle in the seventh inning. Ocasio ended the game with three straight strikeouts securing the win for Gourley.

The Orange and Blue kept their momentum against Iowa, jumping out front early.  Bailey Castro hit a homer to left center putting the Gators up 2-0 and later catcher Aubree Munro got her first homer of the season, a three run shot, to secure the win.

Castro says getting early leads helps everyone.

“I think jumping on a team early is crucial for the pitching that way they can get a little more relaxed in the circle,” Castro said.

Lauren Haeger pitched all five innings against Iowa and even got a solo home run in the fourth inning bringing the Gator lead to 8-0. The senior finished the game with 39 strikes in 52 pitches.

Coach Walton was impressed with Haeger’s pitching performance.

“That’s as efficient of a game as Lauren Haeger has ever thrown for us, her stuff was really sharp it was really good.” Walton said.  “I think she’s pitching a lot better, she has a lot better command of those pitches for sure.”

Florida will play Iowa again Sunday at noon.  Special parking arrangements are in place for Gator fans attending the game on Sunday due to the annual Five Points of Life Race.

Fans are asked to park in the Harn Museum of Art parking lot by turning east onto Hull Road from 34th Street and turning into the museum lot on the right. There will be areas in the flat lot marked off for race participants and medical personnel, but an area directly to the right after entering the lot will be available for softball fans attending Sunday’s games.

Additional parking will be available in the garage located in the Performing Arts Center lot, but it is necessary to drive around the back of the garage to avoid the Five Points of Life finish line and the main medical tent.

Gator fans are advised to arrive early in order to secure a parking spot and attend their events on time. Please follow all signs and police instructions.

 

 

 

For full audio clips of the quotes above, please click below:

 

Castro’s thoughts on getting teammates on base and in scoring position

Walton on Haeger receiving player of the game

Haeger’s thoughts on Gourley’s improvement

Castro’s feelings on getting ahead in the game

Walton impressed with Haeger’s game against Iowa

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