ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Florida Baseball Takes Out Tennessee in Game Three Of Series

By on March 16th, 2015

The Florida baseball team carried series momentum into the weekend’s final game on Sunday after defeating Tennessee Saturday night as the Gators come away with a 9-4 win on Sunday in Gainesville.

The Orange and Blue would jump ahead early on Sunday with a run in the first. Florida’s Harrison Bader proved he is back to full strength when he gave Florida the lead with his seventh home run this season.

Bader puts his individual success behind the team winning.

“The most important thing about the nature of our team is what we did on Saturday. Friday, we didn’t really pitch too well or hit too well. To come out and finish up the series today was huge. That’s kind of our make-up, and that’s what we’re capable of doing.”

After Tennessee tied the game 1-1, Florida took the lead again in the second when JJ Schwarz reached home on a passed ball with two outs remaining in the inning.

Florida left an unfixable dent in the side of Tennessee’s chances to win in the third inning. With the bases loaded and one out, outfielder Buddy reed knocked his second triple of the series to deep right center to clear the bases for a 5-1 lead.  Florida extended the lead again in the inning when they added their sixth run on a passed ball.

Gator starting pitcher Dane Dunning lasted 3 full innings before getting pulled in the top on the fourth.  He threw just 51 pitches, allowing two hits and one run.  However it was reliever Danny Young that put his stamp on this game. Young went five innings strong allowing just three hits.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan was satisfied with his pitching Sunday afternoon.

“I thought that Danny Young was outstanding out of the bullpen. We extended him, so he did what he needed to do. It was good to get Taylor Lewis back out there too.”

The Gators tacked on a couple more late insurance runs to give the now 18 and 3 Gators a final victory of 9-4. Florida will next match up against rivals Florida State this Tuesday.

Sound from the game, click below.

Harrison Bader 2

Harrison Bader

Harrison Bader 3

Jeremy Vazquez 1

Jeremy Vazquez 2

Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan 2

Kevin O’Sullivan 3

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Florida Softball Loses Rubber Match to LSU

By on March 16th, 2015

The top ranked Florida softball team lose big to the Tigers from LSU in a 10-3 rout on Sunday.   LSU improves to 27-1 on the year while Florida falls to 28-2 as the Tigers take two of three in the series.

LSU shortstop Bianka Bell torched the Gators from the batter’s box. Bell drove in five runs with a home run and a double; she and outfielder Bailey Landry singlehandedly finished with more hits than the entire Gator lineup. Florida pitcher Lauren Haeger admitted after the game that the team was not surprised with LSU’s offensive surge.

“All their statistics show that’s what they are going to come out and do. That’s what we were prepared for.”

The only offense the Gators were able to muster was from a Kirsti Merritt three-run home run. LSU pitcher Kelsee Selman kept the Florida offense in check, striking out 11 and allowing only four hits. Despite the series loss, Merritt believes the team is going to maintain its composure.

“I don’t think we’ll ever overreact. We’ll just prepare for ourselves…I don’t think there is anything to overreact, they are a good team and we are a good team.”

The Gators will be hitting the road this weekend to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Florida defeated Alabama in the College World Series to win the national championship last season.

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

Walton is not going to overreact

Walton saw a LSU team outplay Florida

Merritt set to make adjustments this week in practice

Merritt says team is not going to overreact

Haeger was not surprised at LSU’s offensive success

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Florida Baseball Evens Up Series With Tennessee

By on March 15th, 2015

The Florida baseball team evened the series against Tennessee with a 8-3 victory Saturday night in Gainesville. The Gators move to 17-3 (1-1) on the season and the Volunteers fall to 8-7 (1-1).

Unlike on Friday when Florida trailed early, the Gators this time jumped out in front in the first inning.

Richie Martin singled and went all the way to third on an outfield error.   Harrison Bader hit a sacrifice fly to plate Martin.  Josh Tobias singled and later scored on an RBI single from JJ Schwarz who extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Sophomore AJ Puk was on the mound for the Gators and was lights out the first four innings. He struck out six of his first seven batters, including striking the side out in the third.

But in the fifth inning, the Vols tied the score when catcher David Houser hit a two-run double.

Puk pitched five innings giving up two runs on two hits, and had a career high eight strikeouts after leaving the game after cramping up.  Puk says he was just able to hit his spots.

“I wasn’t thinking about it, but that’s how it went tonight. I was able to hit my spots early on and get ahead of hitters. Then I was able to finish them off.”

UF would regain the lead in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single from Martin and a sacrifice fly from Tobias, giving the Gators a 4-2 lead.

The next inning Florida added two more runs on milestones for two players. Sophomore Buddy Reed recorded his first career triple and then freshman Mike Rivera hit his first career home run to put the Gators up 6-2.

Tennessee added another run in the eighth inning off Bobby Poyner, who came in to relieve Puk. The Gators would answer in the bottom of the inning with two more runs on a two-run single by Dalton Guthrie.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Sunday’s final game of the series will be a tough one.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be a very difficult game. Tennessee is playing at a high level right now. I like their team, they are physical, they’ve got pitching, and they’ve got plenty of bullpen ready for tomorrow like we do. Tomorrow will be a very difficult game and we will see what happens.”

Sophomore Dane Dunning gets the start for the Gators Sunday on the mound.  Tune into ESPN 850 WRUF at 12:55 pm for all your live coverage.

 

 

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Gator Softball no longer undefeated, fall to LSU

By on March 15th, 2015

 Junior second baseman Kelsey Stewart at bat in the fifth inning against LSU

The number one ranked Gator softball team lost its first game of the 2015 season in a 14-10 defeat to LSU Saturday in Gainesville.  The team started its season with 28 straight wins and now LSU improves to 26-1 on the season.

Florida started the game with sophomore Delanie Gourley in the circle.  After LSU hit three singles in the first inning to give them a 1-0 lead, fielding errors by the Gators and a lot more hits by the Tigers resulted in LSU putting up a nine spot to lead 9-0 after the first inning.

But Florida would rally.  Junior catcher Taylore Fuller hit a three run home run to cut the lead to 9-3 and says she had a simple plate approach.

“I just tried to put some runs on the board for my team and it just turned out that I hit home runs.”

In the second inning LSU got two runners on but Gourley left them stranded to close out the inning.  Gourley gave up seven hits and nine runs in the first two innings of the match up. Gator coach Tim Walton feels that LSU simply just did a good job swinging the bat and getting on base.

“I don’t know that I saw a whole lot other than they (LSU) did a good job by putting the ball in play and finding a way to get it done.”

Senior Lauren Haeger took to the mound in the third inning to keep the fight going for Florida. Both teams were scoreless in the third and Haeger held LSU at nine runs going into the fourth inning.

Walton had a nice exchange of words with the umpire as four of his players got hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. The multiple hit by pitches along with some hits from the Gators put the score at 9-5 at the bottom of the fourth.

LSU loaded the bases at the top of the fifth inning but only got scored one run before the Gators took to the batters box. Taylore Fuller got her second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing the score to 10-6 heading into the sixth.

Great defense by the Gators in the sixth kept LSU from putting any more runs on the board. Once Florida got their at bat the fighting continued and the gators came out swinging.

Two singles by Kayli Kvistad and Kelsey Stewart and a walk by Kristi Merritt loaded the bases for the Gators. Taylore Fuller capped a huge day with her third homer, a grand slam, to tie the game at 10-10. Fuller tied the school record for the most home runs in a game.

Aleshia Ocasio took the mound in the seventh inning to finish the game. Three singles for the Tigers in the seventh set up a two-out grand slam that put LSU back in front at 14-10, leaving the Gators to suffer their first loss of the 2015 season.

Despite the loss, Florida’s Kelsey Stewart said the team never gave up.

“There was never a point where we thought we were going to lose, you know, to me right there that’s a moral victory.”

LSU and Florida play the rubber game of the series Sunday at noon.

To find the the full audio from above quotes below:

Taylore Fuller on her preformance in the batters box

Tim Walton on Gourley’s pitching

Kelsey Stewart thought on the teams loss

Taylore Fuller on heading into tomorrow’s game

 

 

 

 

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Floirda Gator Softball Improves to 28-0

By on March 14th, 2015

A huge crowd was in attendance Friday night to watch the number one ranked Florida softball team take on second ranked and unbeaten LSU in Gainesville.

And the fans were not disappointed.

Florida scored the winning run on a passed ball in the bottom half of the seventh inning to pull out a 4-3 to remain unbeaten on the year at 28-0 while LSU falls to 25-1.

This game went back and forth all night.  UF started freshman Alicia Ocasio in the circle and she struck out the side to start the game.  However, the Gators struggled offensively in the first two innings and did not score as well.

LSU scored in the third inning when Sandra Simmons singled in a run and another run scored on a Gator error but Florida struck right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.   Taylore Fuller was hit by a pitch to score a run and two runs scored on an error on a ball hit by Briana Little.

LSU tied the game in the seventh inning.  With runners at first and second, Briana Little threw out a runner at the plate to maintain UF’s 3-2 lead.  But back to back walks by UF reliever Lauren Haeger plated a Tiger run to tie the game at 3-3.

In the Gator seventh, Kelsey Stewart singled and advanced to second on a Kirstii Merritt sacrifice. On a wild pitch, Stewart advances to third and Lauren Haeger walked. Bailey Castro strikes for the second out but with Taylore Fuller up to bat Stewart scores on wild pitch to give the Gators the walk off 4-3 win.

Before Haeger came in to close out the game in the seventh inning, Gator starter Alicia Ocasio had a total of seven strikeouts and three walks in the game.

When asked if this win means anything in regards to winning the series this weekend, Gator head coach Tim Walton said it meant little.

“I don’t think this win really means anything to Saturday or Sunday. One bounce here or there and I think they (LSU) would win and one bounce here or there and we win. I think it ended up being exactly what we thought it was going to be, a very good pitching match up.I thought they were a little bit more offensively sound then we were this game. I thought our bats were a little bit unproductive. But, we got it done.”

Kelsey Stewart describes her thoughts when she saw the passed ball when she was on third base.

“It was definitely a read and reaction. Coach just told me to get ready for that wild pitch again because she had been throwing rise balls a little wild today. I was just ready for it and I read it and reacted that right way.”

The next game of the series will be Saturday at one o’clock.

 

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Gator Gymnastics Finishes the Regular Season on a Milestone

By on March 14th, 2015

 UF’s Seniors Kytra Hunter, Rachel Spicer, Kiersten Wang, and Jamie Shisler

Florida gymnastics finished the regular season strong at 7-3 after their win over Texas Woman’s University on Friday night. But the greatest milestone of the meet came when junior Bridget Sloan scored a perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars. This made her the only Gator in the history of the program to score a 10.0 on every event. She said she has been very focused on getting the perfect mark on this fourth event.

“Bars is one of those events for me that feels very natural. You know, it’s always come easy to me, so when I’m up there, it’s just me and the bar. There’s nothing else going on.”

Being the last home meet of the season, it was Senior Night for Kytra Hunter, Rachel Spicer, Kiersten Wang, and Jamie Shisler. Each of the seniors from both teams were honored with flowers from Florida’s head coach Rhonda Faehn.

Hunter wrapped up her senior home performances with a near perfect 9.975 on floor, which earned her the floor title and her 20th all around title. Kierstan Wang scored a 9.90 or above on both vault and floor. Rachel Spicer’s meet high came on beam with a 9.90, and Jamie Shisler was able to showcase the start to her floor routine, as she is still suffering a tear to her Achilles.

Other meet highlights came when four out of the six Gators on vault scored a 9.90 or better, including Sloan’s vault title win at 9.95. Both Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto and Kytra Hunter scored a 9.90 on bars. Rachel Spicer, Claire Boyce, and Hunter all scored a 9.90 or better on beam, with Boyce taking the beam title at 9.925. Both Hunter and Wang had the top routines on floor. Hunter says she’s proud of the accomplishments she’s had her senior year and throughout her career.

“That’s life of gymnastics, being able to improve. And so I think this year, physically and mentally, I’ve been my best. And I’ve been the most consistent this year too.”

TWU put up a team total of 193.40, but it was no match for the Gators’ 197.90. The Pioneers registered a fall on every event, with their top performance coming from senior Spencer Jones on floor at 9.875. They will head to the Midwest Independent Conference Championships on March 21st.

Florida is now preparing for the SEC Championships, which take place next Saturday in Duluth, Georgia.  This will be Florida’s chance to redeem themselves against both Alabama and LSU, teams they lost to earlier this year.  Even though UF is the two-time defending national champions, Florida coach Rhonda Faehn says that does not change their mentality heading into the SEC’s.

“I’ve constantly stressed that the past is the past. And every day and every competition is a new competition and that you have to earn everything you do. And this team, they understand that.”

After SEC Championships, Florida will be focusing on NCAA Championships, coming April 17-19th.

To listen to the audio clips from Bridget Sloan, Kytra Hunter, and Rhonda Faehn, click below.

Bridget Sloan talking about her perfect bars score.

Kytra Hunter talking about her career improvements and accomplishments.

Rhonda Faehn talking about their mentality heading into SEC Championships.

 

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Gator Baseball Rally Falls Short, Fall To Vols

By on March 14th, 2015

 Volunteer pitcher Bret Marks throws eight no-hit innings before giving up first hit in the ninth inning Friday night in Gainesville.

The Florida baseball team opened up SEC play with a 6-3 loss Friday night to the Tennessee Volunteers at home.   Florida falls to 16-3 (0-1) on the season, while the Volunteers are 8-6 (1-0).

This game was all Tennessee right from the start; the Volunteers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning on three home runs. Florida pitcher Logan Shore struck out the first batter of the game but then lost command giving up a solo shot to AJ Simcox. Two batters later Shore gave up back-to-back home-runs to Nathaniel Maggio and Andrew Lee.

Shore would settle down after the first inning giving up just one run on a solo shot in the fifth inning, making it four home runs in the game; Shore gave up only one home run all of last year.

Shore says he takes responsibility for this loss.

“I felt like I bounced back a little bit [from the first inning], but I didn’t quite make the adjustments I should have. I gave up a home run again in the third. It’s just unacceptable, and I take full responsibility. This next week will be a good week for me to bounce back and make sure my stuff is on point for Ole Miss.”

Offensively the Gators stalled for the first eight innings before getting on the board in the ninth. Tennessee pitcher Bret Marks had a no-hitter broken up in the ninth inning by a Dalton Guthrie lead off single. Florida would load the bases and score their first two runs on a fielder’s choice by JoshTobias and a throwing error.   JJ Schwarz singled home another run to make it 6-3 but with the tying run at the plate Florida hit into a double play to end the game.

Senior Josh Tobias says the Gators will take that ninth inning momentum into Saturday’s game.  

“It’s good mentally for tomorrow. We came back and fought in the ninth and didn’t lie down. We’ll take that positive from the game [tonight] and bring it in tomorrow.”

Florida and Tennessee face off again Saturday with lefty AJ Puk getting the start on the mound for the Orange and Blue; tune into ESPN 850 WRUF at 6:55 for coverage with first pitch set for 7.

Sound from the story, click below

 Reed 1

Shore 1

Sully 1

Tobias 1

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Gator SEC Hoops Tournament Dreams End; Fall to Wildcats 64-49

By on March 14th, 2015

Unfortunately for the Florida Gator men’s basketball team, the third time wasn’t the charm. After defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday, the Gators got yet another chance at the top ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

For the second time in six days the Gators were given the chance to dethrone the Wildcats and give them their first loss of the 2014-15 season.

But for the second time in a row, Billy Donovan’s crew fell just a tad bit short falling 64-49.

Once again the Gators jumped out to a quick lead and played well for the first 20 minutes. The Gators found themselves down just four going into the locker room and the team seemed poised to make another run at pulling off a potential upset.

“I thought we played very, very well.” Donovan said. “We got off to a good start which was positive and came into the locker room down four. I think statistically, if you looked at the game, everything seemed pretty even and I thought both teams defended well.”

The Gators (16-17, 8-10) shot just under 40 percent in the first half while the Wildcats shot 36 percent. Both teams managed to hit just one shot from beyond the arc.

Unfortunately for the Gators, they weren’t quite able to replicate the same success in the second half and just like every other team Kentucky’s faced this season, the Gators were worn down. Florida shot just 9 of 27 in the second half, shooting an abysmal 33 percent from the field. Doing what they do best, the Wildcats upped their shooting percentage to 39 percent, connecting on a couple more 3 point shots.

The Gators finished with two players in double figures, led by senior Jon Horford who led all scorers with 15, his largest output since scoring 17 against the Miami Hurricanes in the team’s second game of the season. Horford was 7-of-10 from the field, finishing with three rebounds and one block. Redshirt junior Eli Carter was the other double digit scorer finishing with 11 points, shooting 5-of-10 from the field. The team’s two best scorers finished with quite possibly their worst performances of the season.

Redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith shot just 2-of-10 from the field, finishing with just four points while junior Michael Frazier II scored just two points, with both of those coming from the free throw line. The Gators couldn’t seem to find much success down the stretch and Donovan noted where his team struggled the most.

“I didn’t feel like we had struggles running our offense, I felt at times certain situations were either, we didn’t make smart, good decisions when we got into the paint or at times we didn’t have good enough angles to execute over their length.”

The biggest issue for the Gators on Friday afternoon was their inability to get to the charity stripe. The Gators got to the free throw line just five times throughout Friday’s game, connecting on just three of those attempts. Despite shooting just 16 percent from beyond the arc, Donovan believed this may have been the most disappointing statistic for his team on the day.

“I think if you take away the free throw line it’s pretty consistent all the way through. Just about every stat is pretty even but the one huge, drastic difference was the free throw line and that was ultimately the margin in the game.”

The Wildcats (32-0, 18-0) also finished with two players in double figures. Both Karl-Anthony Towns and Aaron Harrison finished with 13 points on a combined 9-of-18 shooting from the field. The Wildcats outrebounded the Gators by six and finished with two more blocks. Kentucky ousted the Gators in virtually every category and Donovan proclaimed just why the Wildcats are the best team in the country.

“They have a great ability to go smaller if they need too and play Booker or Ulis and the Harrison twins together. They’ve got two really good low post scorers in Dakari and Towns, and Cauley-Stein and Lee are more finishers and dunkers around the basket.”

The Gators will now await the NIT selection on Sunday to see if their season will continue. The Wildcats on the other hand will continue their pursuit of perfection as they meet the Auburn Tigers in the semi-final of the SEC tournament on Saturday.

Tip-off for that game is set for 1pm.

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

Billy Donovan talks about the team’s success

Billy Donovan talks about the inability to get to the free throw line

Billy Donovan talks about his team’s struggles inside

Billy Donovan talks about UK and why they’re so good

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Gator Men’s Hoops Loses To Kentucky In SEC Tournament

By on March 13th, 2015

The Florida men’s basketball team loses for the third time this season to top ranked and unbeaten Kentucky, losing today 64-49 in the SEC Tournament in Nashville.

As has been the case in all three games, Florida (16-17) hung tough with the Wildcats until midway in the second half but after that, Kentucky’s depth, size and length overwhelmed the Gators.

Florida only trailed by four points at the half.

Dorian Finney-Smith, who scored 23 points in Florida’s win over Alabama yesterday, managed just four points in this game and guard Michael Frazier II only scored two points as well.  The two combined to go just 2 of 14 from the field and 0 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Senior Jon Horford perhaps had his best game as a Gator, leading the team with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting.   Guard Eli Carter added 11 points.

Florida will now wait to see if it gets an invite to the NIT or if its season will end.   Meanwhile, Kentucky remains unbeaten after the win and will play again tomorrow in the SEC Tournament semi-finals.

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Gatornationals in Gainesville this weekend

By on March 13th, 2015

The annual NHRA Gatornationals roars into the Gainesville Raceway today through the  weekend.   It is the annual spring opener for NHRA and it always brings thousands of race fans into Gainesville and Alachua County.

Doug Kalitta, (Top Fuel) Robert Hight, (Funny Car) Allen Johnson, (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are defending champions at the event.

One driver trying to win in Gainesville this weekend is NHRA funny car driver Alexis DeJoria who says if the track conditions are right, fast times could happen this weekend as they have in the past at Gainesville Raceway.

“I think a combination of the fact that it (the racetrack) is in the middle of a forest, you know, there’s a lot of oxygen in the air, it’s close to sea level and I mean it’s always been fast as long as I can remember.”

DeJoria is the first woman in funny car competition to make a sub four second run and she is proud of that accomplishment.

“It was really special because I kind of felt that we just, you know, we kept getting passed on those things…it was like all these other girls were getting the first for this, the first for that, I’m like man when are we going to get our first,” DeJoria said.

The 37 year old also says the competition is tough in her category.

“It’s very competitive; I mean, everybody is stepping up and there’s a lot of cars that can run in the three’s now.”

All the big names are here, all the big race teams are here for this year’s Gatornationals!

For Alexis DeJoria’s full audio quotes, click on the links below.

Alexis DeJoria says its special to be the first woman to make a sub 4 second run

Alexis DeJoria talks about the sport being more competitive now

Alexis DeJoria on why the track in Gainesville is fast

 

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