ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Gator Softball Tries For Series Sweep Against Kentucky

By on April 13th, 2015

Lauren Haeger ties career home run record in 6-3 win over Kentucky.

The Florida softball team goes for a series sweep today after beating the Kentucky Wildcats 6-3 Sunday in Gainesville.

The Wildcats started the offensive momentum in the top of the third inning when Florida starting pitcher Aleshia Ocasio gave up a two run homer to give Kentucky an early lead.

The Gators did not answer until the bottom of the fourth but when they did answer, they answered big.

Nicole DeWitt had an RBI hit and Kirsti Merrit drove home two runs with a bases loaded single. After striking out her first two at bats, Lauren Haeger hit a three run homer to give UF a 6-2 lead.   The homer by Haeger ties her with Megan Bush for the most home runs in a career with 65 long balls.

Kentucky got a solo homer in the sixth inning but reliever Delanie Gourley closed out the Wildcats to take the game and improve to 39-4 overall and to 10-4 in the SEC.

Florida coach Tim Walton talks about Haeger tying the Gator home run record.

“It is a great accomplishment, it’s a record that only four people have had now. Kelly Kretschman, Francesca Enea and Megan Bush and now for Lauren Haeger to be mentioned in that same breath as those three hitters, it says a lot about her.”

UF starting pitcher Aleshia Ocasio said her team’s offense and defensive talents helped them get the win.

“I was just mixing up my pitches, my catcher was doing a great job changing the pitches. Honestly our offense did great today, we battled and came out and won the game. I thought our offense played really well as well as our defense.”

To hear more from Florida softball, click on the links below:

Ocasio

Walton 2

 

 

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Monday Sports Update (4/13)

By on April 13th, 2015

A lot happening in sports…the Masters goes to a 21 year old, Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL, and much more in our Monday Sports Update…

** The Florida softball team goes for a series sweep today when it hosts Kentucky.   The Gators have taken the first two games of the series.

** The Gator baseball team sweeps South Carolina after a 12-2 win on Sunday; next game at FSU tomorrow.

** The Florida women’s tennis team wins the SEC regular season title after beating Tennessee 4-0 at home Sunday.

** 21 year old Jordan Spieth wins The Masters, going wire to wire.   Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose finish in second place.

** In baseball, the New York Mets hand Atlanta its first loss of the year with a 4-3 win while Tampa Bay beats Miami 8-5.   The Rays are in Toronto today, with Miami at Atlanta.

** The NBA regular season is winding down and playoff spots are still up for grabs in both divisions.

** The NHL regular season is over and the playoffs begin Wednesday.   Tampa Bay will play Detroit in the first round.

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Florida Women’s Tennis wins the regular season SEC Championship title

By on April 13th, 2015

The Florida women’s tennis team wins the SEC regular season championship after beating Tennessee 4-0 Sunday. The senior-less team spent their season finale celebrating the title win and looking forward to the upcoming SEC tournament.

“I’m just really proud of our players, really,” head coach Roland Thornqvist says of his team, “It’s been a long season, and a lot of close tough matches, a lot of tough and long and close sets, and I think our players have been outstanding in pressure moments all season long.”

The match started out with difficult doubles play. The duo of Spencer Liang and Peggy Porter got an 8-4 victory on Court 3, while the other two courts were trailing. Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan forced a tiebreak in their match, but before they could capitalize on their 5-3 lead, Josie Kuhlman and Belinda Woolcock defeated their opponent 8-6, taking the doubles point for Florida.

“We do need to continue to improve on some things,” Thornqvist says, “but overall I think we communicated well and we have a good idea of what we’re trying to do when we play doubles now and that’s very important going into the post season.”

When the Gators got to singles play, the momentum picked up in their favor. Florida made quick work of Tennessee, sweeping three singles matches after an hour of play. Brooke Austin was the first to win, taking both sets 6-1. She had taken an early lead, but struggled to finish the game. After coming back to win the next one, she powered forward dropping only one more game.

“I was so mad I lost that game that it sort of motivated me for pretty much the next set and a half,” Austin says about her match, “and then after that once I got up 6-1, 4-1, I just sort of tried to stay focused and close it out.”

Once Austin had her win, it was a race to the finish for the remaining singles matches. Earning the second point just a minute later, Kourtney Keegan defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-0. Belinda Woolcock followed after one more minute sweeping her match 6-1, 6-0. This was Woolcock’s first singles win since Missouri on March 15th.

“She had a great forehand and her backhand, sometimes she’d mix it up and slice sometimes and then she would hit over with top-spin,” Woolcock says about her fight for the match point, “I really just had to keep my cool and stick to trying to hit it to her backhand. I think I did a good job at the end just by focusing on my target and staying aggressive.”

The Gators have claimed the SEC regular season title 28 times out of the program’s 35 year history. This is the 10th time head coach Roland Thornqvist has led his team to the title in his 14 years coaching at Florida.

The postseason will get started at the SEC Tournament in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gators will start their tournament action on Wednesday, April 15th.

Listen here for more from Coach Thornqvist, Belinda Woolcock, and Brooke Austin:

Thornqvist talks about his team and their performance this season

Thornqvist talks about the doubles play

Austin talks about her singles match

Woolcock talks about her singles match

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Gator Baseball Sweeps No. 21 South Carolina

By on April 13th, 2015

“I felt good, right when I woke up I knew it was going to be a good day.”

Those words spoken by Florida freshman pitcher Alex Faedo and he made it stick as he posts an excellent start on the mound to help Florida beat South Carolina 12-2 to complete a three game sweep on Sunday.

After taking the first two games of the series in dominant fashion, Florida got right back on the scoring train in the second inning of Game 3 with a one out RBI from catcher Mike Rivera. Freshman Dalton Guthrie kept things going two batters later when he drove in a couple more runs with a base hit.

Another freshman stamped his name on this game.   The red hot JJ Schwarz hit two more homers in the game, giving him 12 on the season.   He has now homered seven times in the last four games he has played and he says it is a once in a lifetime kind of week.

Ryan Larson had three hits, as did Rivera as Florida pounded out 14 hits in the game.

The Orange and Blue pitching was stifling Sunday afternoon as well.   Faedo picked up the win, his first in SEC play, by pitching into the sixth inning.  He struck out six.  The Gator relief pitching allowed only one run, a home run by Kyle Martin in the ninth inning off of Taylor Lewis.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan had this to say about the pitching performance.

“Obviously, the start from Alex Faedo was really good. He threw the ball really well. I could tell that he lost his release point in the sixth. They had so many left-handed hitters, but Bobby Poyner came in and did a great job. It was also good to get Taylor Lewis back out there. Overall, it was a great weekend for us.”

Florida is now third in the SEC East standings, 2.5 games behind top squad Vanderbilt. Next up for UF is Florida State this Tuesday on the road in the series rubber match.

Sound from the game:

Buddy Reed 1

Buddy Reed 2

JJ Schwarz 1

Kevin O’Sullivan 1

Kevin O’Sullivan 3

Kevin O’Sullivan 2

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Gator Baseball Offensive Onslaught Continues, Handle South Carolina Easily

By on April 12th, 2015
Dane Dunning delivers a pitch

Joseph Kimber Jr. / ESPN 850 WRUF

Florida starter Dane Dunning delivers a pitch in the first inning. The Gators defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 12-5 on Saturday.

The 10th-ranked Florida Gator baseball team continues an offensive explosion (27-9, 8-6 SEC) by defeating the 21st-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (23-13, 6-8 SEC) 12-5 on Saturday to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Gators were powered by shortstop Richie Martin, who finished the day just a double shy of the cycle to go along with his career-high six RBI. But he didn’t just shine at the plate.

Martin also made a diving stop to start a double play in the eighth inning, which head coach Kevin O’Sullivan admitted had Martin not gotten to the ball “things could have got a little interesting.”

Martin talked about his performance.

“I think I try to hold them [offense and defense] equally,” Martin said. “I try to put my defense first, and if offense isn’t going to well, I just go out and play defense and vice versa. But I try to keep them equal.”

Dane Dunning got the start for the Gators on Saturday, and other than one first inning pitch to Gamecock first baseman Kyle Martin that resulted in a two run homer, he looked solid, matching his career high of five strikeouts in just four innings. A.J. Puk came on in relief and was strong for the Gators, striking out four and giving up two runs in three innings.

“I thought Puk was solid. I thought he was sharp,” said Kevin O’Sullivan. “He threw his breaking ball for strikes more, he threw some quality changeups, and he didn’t just have to rely on his fastball when he was behind in the count. I thought he pitched good.”

Although Dunning, Puk and Kirby Snead gave up just five combined runs and 11 hits, four of those hits were recorded by the aforementioned Kyle Martin, who finished the day 4 for 4 with a walk, with those four hits completing the cycle.

The Gators will look to find a way to contain both Martin and the rest of the South Carolina offense today when they go for the series sweep against the Gamecocks. O’Sullivan has yet to name a starter for the game but said it will most likely be a right-hander and, he is leaning toward starting Alex Faedo.

First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m.

For sound from the game, click below.

O’Sullivan on the early offense

O’Sullivan on South Carolina starting pitcher Jack Wynkoop

O’Sullivan on the offensive struggles against Missouri

O’Sullivan on shortstop Richie Martin

O’Sullivan on starter Dane Dunning

O’Sullivan on pitcher A.J. Puk

O’Sullivan on Puk coming out of the pen

O’Sullivan on pitcher Alex Faedo

Martin on his offense and defense

Martin on if he was thinking about the cycle

Martin on the offensive improvement over the past 3 games

Martin on potentially getting the series sweep

Tobias on the offensive success

Tobias on the defense

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McElwain Gets First Spring Under His Belt

By on April 12th, 2015

Will Grier dropping back to pass before he throws it to Alvin Bailey

With the completion of the Orange and Blue Debut on Saturday, Florida football head coach Jim McElwain has officially completed his first spring schedule. The Orange squad defeated the Blue 31-6.

The former Colorado State head coach has had to deal with a lack of depth at several positions, including at offensive line and linebacker. Being that it was his first spring in Gainesville, the players still have a lot to learn from his system. McElwain shared what he wants to instill in his players after the game.

“Getting the guys to understand the attention to detail, the focus on the communication, and the mindset to go win this play. That’s where we got to get.”

The position battle that headlined the Orange and Blue Debut and the entire spring is that of the quarterback position. The Gators have six quarterbacks on roster, but it’s going to come down to two players, Will Grier and Treon Harris.

Both took snaps for both the Orange and Blue side. Grier finished 8 of 11 with 136 passing yards, leading the offense to three scoring drives. Grier’s best throw of the day perhaps came off a flea flicker that he tossed for 42 yards to receiver Alvin Bailey. Grier admitted after the spring game that he needs to learn to accept mistakes.

“I just need to be the same steady guy all the time. It wasn’t frustration that the receiver dropped the ball or anything like. It was just more of me wanting to be successful and be perfect in every aspect.”

Harris had a strong showing as well. The true sophomore finished 6 of 10 for 94 yards and a touchdown pass caught by tight end C’yontai Lewis. Harris missed several practices this spring after going home to spend time with his family after his cousin’s death, paving the way for Grier to take more snaps with the first team. Harris said after the game that he has ground to make up.

“I got a lot of catching up to do. From the days that I missed, the install that they put in I wasn’t here. I was reading over it and watching it but I didn’t rep it. So I have to get better at that, catching up.”

The Florida Gators now enter the offseason. They will be back in The Swamp on September 5 against New Mexico State and will start practices again in August.

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

McElwain says unforced errors needs to be avoided

McElwain’s steps to take for a better offense

McElwain tips his hat to the offensive line

McElwain on what he wants to instill in his players

Grier needs to gain a short memory

Harris says he still needs to catch up

Harris on his growth from last year to this year

Posted in Gator Football, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Gator Softball Takes Series Opener Against Kentucky In Pitcher’s Duel

By on April 12th, 2015

Lauren Haeger looking for the pitching signs after striking out a Wildcat.

The third ranked Florida Gator softball team played in front of a record crowd at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Saturday as they opened up a series against the 13th ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Almost 2500 fans filled up the bleachers to watch a pitcher’s duel to remember. The Gators would come up on top with a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats behind Lauren Haeger’s two-hit shutout.

Florida third baseman Taylore Fuller believes the bigger the crowd, the better the team performs.

“The better the atmosphere, the better our team plays. We love having our fans here. We love having the support shown through that softball program.”

Fuller was the only Gator to record a RBI against the Wildcats. Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw six strong innings, only allowing that earned run to Fuller while striking out five. The one run came off an infield single with the bases loaded after some walks and a base hit. According to Fuller, the Gators were expecting a low scoring affair.

“We knew right from the start that it was going to be a 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 game. So, we knew what we were coming into and we are looking forward to the next couple of games.”

That single run was all Florida needed with Lauren Haeger pitching the way she was; the senior only allowed three base runners all game while striking out four. This win improves her record to 18-0 on the season and drops her earned run average to 1.10. Haeger has never felt better in her college softball career.

“This is the best I have felt in four years. This is the best. I’ve worked really hard in the bullpen this year and it’s starting to pay off and it’s such a relief.”

The Gators are now sitting on a record of 38-4, 9-4 in the SEC. April has been a good month for Florida as they have outscored their opponents 53-7, winning all six games. They look to keep the winning streak alive against Kentucky on Sunday and Monday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.

The Gators will be without outfielder Bailey Castro this weekend due to flu-like symptoms.

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

Fuller expected a close, low-scoring game

Fuller comments on Lauren Haeger and her work ethic

Fuller loving the home atmosphere

Haeger explains how she was on the top of her game

Haeger on her pitching approach

Haeger feeling better than ever

Walton pleased with Lauren Haeger’s work all season

Walton on Bailey Castro’s status

 

Posted in Gator Softball, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Stage Is Set For Orange And Blue Debut

By on April 11th, 2015

After a month of spring practices and scrimmages, the Florida football team is ready to take the field for their annual Orange and Blue Debut. Contrary to previous reports, the event on Saturday is going to play out more like an actual game than a scrimmage. All in all, head coach Jim McElwain is pleased with the effort his team gave throughout the spring.

“Overall, I think the adapting to the change offensively, those guys have done a pretty good job. And defensively, we got a good defense. We’ve got some good players over there. Those guys are playing their tails off.”

The Gators are going to compete in four 12-minutes quarters with a running clock except in the last two minutes of each half.  The quarters will be followed by an overtime period that will be untimed. McElwain stated that he is going to limit the live plays during the scrimmage to prevent potential injury to the offensive line. Essentially, the both lines of scrimmage will not being going at full speed at times during the debut. McElwain tips his hat to the offensive line this spring.

“We’ll compliment our offensive line, for how few they are and how many reps they took.”

On another note, wide receiver Chris Thompson has been excused from the team to handle a legal matter. The junior has a formal complaint against him in a battery incident.

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, McElwain announced on Thursday that offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will take responsibility of play-calling to start the season. After being hired in January, it has been unknown if Nussmeier or McElwain will be calling plays.

The Orange and Blue Debut will kickoff on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Players will sign autographs in both end zones after the game.

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

McElwain applauds the offensive line

McElwain pleased with the team’s adaptability

McElwain on the status of Chris Thompson

McElwain’s thoughts about the scrimmages during the spring

Posted in College Football, Gator Football, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Gator Baseball Cruises to Game One Victory Over South Carolina

By on April 11th, 2015

The Florida baseball team uses a lot of hitting and enough pitching to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 14-3 Friday night in Gainesville in the first of a three game series. The Gators offense has scored 36 runs and gotten 39 hits in its last two games.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan was pleased with the win.  

“Tonight was big especially after the Missouri series where we only had nine hits the last two games but that’s baseball. Hitting’s contagious sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way and it seems like things are kind of going our way right now. Kind of a weird game the way it started, both starters seemed to struggle a little bit; I mean we scored three and then turn around and give up two. Both guys were a little bit off and left the ball a little bit up.”

The Gators jumped out to an early lead in this one thanks to Harrison Bader hitting his team leading 10th home run in the bottom of the first to give Florida the 1-0 lead. Later, Jeremy Vasquez hit a two run single to push the cushion to 3-0.

Bader says getting out to an early lead is big for this team.

“The big thing about our hitting is when we get out ahead early we kind of seem to get things rolling so I got a good pitch and did what I did with it.”

The Gamecocks would answer back with two runs of their own in the second after sophomore Gene Cone hit a two-out single off of Logan Shore and Kyle Martin made it 3-2 with an RBI hit.

South Carolina would tie things up in the fifth inning. Bobby Poyner replaced Florida starter Logan Shore (4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R) after Shore loaded the bases with no outs. Poyner would get the first batter he faced to hit into a double play to tie the game but a big inning was avoided.

Poyner talks about coming into the game in that situation.

“I knew it was a real turning point in the game. I had to jump ahead and throw strikes early. The goal was to get a strikeout or a double play.”

The Gators responded with five runs in the bottom half of the frame. Freshmen Christian Hicks got things going with a lead off home run to right field, his second long ball of the year. Harrison Bader, Buddy Reed, and JJ Schwarz all had RBI doubles in the inning as well.

Florida would add insurance runs the next couple innings that included Schwarz leading the seventh off with his fifth home run in the last two games. The Gamecocks wouldn’t score another run the rest of the game as Poyner, Shaun Anderson, and Frank Rubio didn’t surrender a single hit in five innings of relief work.  

Game Two of this three game series will take place Saturday; you can catch the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 5;55 pm.

Sound from tonight’s game below:

Bader 1

Bader 2

Poyner 1

Poyner 2

Sully 1

Sully 2

Sully 3

 

 

 

 

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Friday Sports Update (4/10)

By on April 10th, 2015

A big Gator sports weekend, mass exodus at Kentucky basketball, MLB results, NBA and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** A big weekend in Gator sports coming up starting today.   Over the weekend, Gator baseball, softball, women’s tennis, and lacrosse will host games and matches.   And, the Orange and Blue Debut takes place as well!

** A sworn complaint has been filed against Florida wide receiver Chris Thompson over an alleged incident with a female.   According to Florida coach Jim McElwain, Thompson has been excused from practice to deal with the situation.

** The annual spring game will be played with four quarters at 12 minutes each with a running clock.

** A total of seven players from the Kentucky men’s basketball team will declare for the NBA Draft.   An eighth, Alex Poythress, is a possibility as well.

** Round two of The Masters today in Augusta, Georgia.   Jordan Spieth ripped the course for an eight under 64 to take the first round lead.   Three Gators are in the tournament; Camilo Villegas (72) Billy Horschel (70) and Matt Every (73).

** Both the NBA and NHL regular seasons are coming to a close with teams still jockeying for playoff positions.

** In Major League Baseball, Tampa Bay faces Miami this weekend while the 3-0 Atlanta Braves take on the New York Mets.

 

 

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