From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Florida Gators baseball (33-12, 12-9 SEC) continued to falter over the weekend, dropping two of three games to the Arkansas Razorbacks (31-13, 11-10 SEC). Florida has now lost 10 of their last 20 games (including one each to North Florida and South Florida) while also struggling to put forth consistent performances at the plate and on the mound. For instance, the Gators scored just five runs in 27 innings over the weekend. Florida picked up a 3-2 victory on Friday before falling 5-1 on Saturday and 3-1 in 10 innings on Sunday. The Gators were supposed to get a reprieve with a nine-game homestand but instead went just 5-4 over that span of games. Florida will have three full days off before travelling to Kentucky for a three-game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. UF fell to No. 5 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 and No. 7 in the Baseball America rankings on Monday.
» Gators softball (43-8, 20-5 SEC), also ranked No. 2 heading into the weekend, dropped their final home series of the regular season to the Kentucky Wildcats (26-27, 12-13 SEC) over the weekend. Florida fell 2-0 in the series opener (their second-straight shutout and fourth of the season) before picking up a 5-0 win on Senior Day Saturday and dropping the rubber match 5-1 on Sunday. Freshman right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger picked up a win on Saturday and a loss on Sunday to bring her to 13-4 on the season while sophomore RHP Hannah Rogers (25-4) added a loss Friday despite pitching quite well over the weekend. Senior center fielder Michelle Moultrie (2/4, HR, 2 RBI, R) began her Senior Day with a big-time solo homer in her first at bat on Saturday, giving her another nice memory for her career. UF will conclude the regular season with a three-game road series at Alabama over the weekend.
» Florida five-star 2013 point guard commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) threw down a strong dunk over the weekend and followed it up with a Gator Chomp while staring straight into the camera. Think he’s ready for the big time?
» Hill was not the only one to make the highlight reels for a dunk over the weekend. Former Gators center Joakim Noah threw down a hard dunk during the Chicago Bulls’ playoff game on Saturday.
» Speaking at Ohio Christian University last week, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow had some kind things to say about the Ohio State Buckeyes and the team’s new head coach Urban Meyer:
“As hard as it is for me to actually say this: I actually am a fan of The Ohio State University. It’s really hard for me to say that. It’s too bad this year you don’t have a chance at winning it all [smiles] but the next few years, if I was a betting man, I would have to put some money on Ohio State probably going to win a national championship. Which I’m not…but I’m just saying…if I was. [Small Gator Chomp]”
» In his fourth mock-up of the 2012 NBA Draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford has projected Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal to be selected with the No. 3 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Writes Ford, “If the Cavs can stay in the top 3, it’s a huge outcome for them. The Cavs scored big time when they landed Kyrie Irving last year. They would complete their backcourt overhaul if they could put Beal next to him. That would give them two high-octane scorers who can both handle the ball, get to the rim and shoot it – an ideal scenario for the Cavs.”
» Selected with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, former Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins fell further than many believed he would a few months ago but wound up in a good spot with the St. Louis Rams. According to team general manager Les Snead, he or another team official plans to be in contact with Jenkins every single day in order to make sure he stays on the right path and becomes a feel-good story rather than another talent who becomes a bust due to his off-the-field issues. Writes SI.com’s Peter King:
The Rams have put in some safeguards and checks for Jenkins. Snead, or someone with the organization, will call him or talk to him every day about his life, which is a mess. He’s had four children with three different women, and he’ll have to use much of his first contract to straighten out child support and related family care things. Jenkins knows he’ll be monitored by the man who holds the cornerback’s life in his hands. “I look the kid in the eye and said, ‘It’s you and me,”’ Snead said.
» Former Florida men’s swimming coach Ron Ballatore passed away on Friday at the age of 71 following a tough battle with throat cancer. Though he only spent three years of his storied career coaching the Gators (1996-99), Ballatore continued living in Gainesville, FL and just watched his daughter Angelina Ballatore complete her senior season as a UF captain. He coached 28 Olympians throughout his career which included a 16-year stint with UCLA, two years at Brown and a coaching spot on five different Olympic swimming team staffs (Peru 1968, Ecuador 1972, Israel 1976, United States 1984-88). Ballatore is a member of the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame as well. OGGOA sends our best wishes and deepest condolences to the Ballatore family.
» The Pittsburgh Steelers sent out a picture of the draft card they used to select former Gators running back Chris Rainey with the No. 157 overall pick on Saturday.
» This is Florida State’s new mascot Cimarron along with some information. Thoughts?
Photo Credits: Pittsburgh Steelers, Florida State University