Miscues, pitching doom UF in 11-3 loss to UCLA

Two of only four ranked teams participating in the 2010 NCAA College World Series, the No. 3 Florida Gators (47-16) fell 11-3 in the opening round of the event at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE, to the No. 6 UCLA Bruins (49-14).

What was expected to be a pitching duel turned into a one-sided affair as UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (11-3) struck out 11 Florida batters over seven innings. Gators sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (11-3) gave up four earned runs in 3.1 short innings after hitting the first two Bruins batters he faced.

Miscues doomed Florida Friday night; the team compiled four hit batters, four wild pitches, a passed ball and an error throughout the course of the game. Every Gators reliever – including freshman Steven Rodriguez (0.2 innings, two earned runs), senior Jeff Barfield (2.0 innings, one earned run), junior Matt Campbell (2.0 innings, two earned runs) and sophomore Tommy Toledo (1.0 inning, one earned run) – was hit hard and often (13 hits combined).

Shortstop Niko Gallego (4-5, two runs), outfielder Beau Amaral (3-4, one RBI), third baseman Dean Espy (3-6, two RBI) and catcher Steve Rodriguez (2-4, two RBI) led the way for UCLA offensively.

Freshman designated hitter Brian Johnson (1-4) hit a two-RBI double in the first inning to put the Gators on the board, and a solo home run from junior second baseman Josh Adams (1-3) in the fourth provided the only other score of the evening.

Florida hopes to rebound in its elimination game Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against in-state rival Florida State. The game will air live on ESPN and ESPN3.

OGGOA Highlight: Matt den Dekker’s amazing Willie Mays-like catch

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Photo Credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald

Ex-Gators FB Rutledge charged with two felonies

Former Florida Gators fullback Eric Rutledge was arrested Friday evening and charged with home invasion with a deadly weapon and conspiracy – first- and second- degree felonies, respectively.

According to Alachua County records, his bond is set at $150,000 and he remains unsentenced after being booked at 6:27 p.m. on Friday.

Rutledge, along with three co-conspirators, is charged with allegedly breaking into a private residence, holding four people at gunpoint, beating them and robbing the home of a number of items including cash, computers and marijuana.

A native of Gainesville, FL, Rutledge was apprehended by police after a license plate identified by one of the victims belonged to a car registered to his cousin, Shannon Mann. Police were able to piece the case together after finding messages on Mann’s phone between the two discussing the alleged robbery.

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available. Rutledge’s mugshot is unable to be obtained due to a technical error.

Gators’ newest ballers pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers, and now that Florida Gators basketball has begun meetings for the 2010-11 season, it was time for the team’s newest members to choose theirs. Below is the list, according to the University of Florida:

» No. 4 – Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL), four-star freshman power forward
» No. 24 – Casey Prather (Jackson, TN), four-star freshman forward
» No. 3 – Mike Rosario (Jersey City, NJ), four-star redshirt sophomore transfer guard
» No. 34 – Cody Larson (Sioux Falls, SD), three-star freshman power forward
» No. 15 – Will Yeguete (Melbourne, FL), three-star freshman power forward
» No. 5 – Scottie Wilbekin (Gainesville, FL), three-star freshman point guard

Rosario is ineligible for the 2010-11 season due to NCAA transfer rules; he will begin competing as a redshirt junior in 2011-12.

2010 NCAA College World Series Gameday (06/19): No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 UCLA Bruins

Location: Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium – Omaha, NE [Capacity: 23,170]
Game Time: 7 p.m. (EST)

Online: ESPN3.com
OGGOA Live Updates: via Twitter

No. 3 Florida Gators No. 6 UCLA Bruins
Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan Head Coach: John Savage
Starter: LHP Alex Panteliodis (11-2, 3.39) Starter: RHP Trevor Bauer (10-3, 3.02)
Record: 47-15 Record: 48-14
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Pac-10
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

» Florida leads the all-time series against UCLA 3-1, including a 2-0 record in the NCAA Tournament. The teams have never meet in the College World Series.
» The Gators will be making their sixth appearance in the CWS (first since 2005), while the Bruins will be there for the third time (first since 1997).
» Ironically enough, UF and UCLA are the only two teams to also reach the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series – the women faced-off in first round action on June 3.
» Against common opponents this season, the Gators are 11-2, while the Bruins are 6-1.
» Florida’s 47 wins this season is the program’s highest victory total since the 2005 team, which finished as a runner-up in the CWS and a record of 48-23.
» The Gators are 14-12 on the road and 2-4 at neutral sites in 2010.
» Florida has outscored opponents 431-271 this year, is 36-4 when scoring first and 11-11 when their competition does so. They are also 34-3 when registering more hits than their opponent and 10-12 otherwise.
» The Gators are undefeated when leading after six innings (41-0), seven innings (44-0) and eight innings (43-0), but only 1-15 when trailing after six, 2-14 when losing at the end of the seventh and 3-14 when down through eight.
» Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis, with 26 career strikeouts in NCAA competition, is seven away from tying the school record for most in the NCAA Tournament for a career (John Burke, 33, 1991-92). He is also two wins away from tying the school record the most career wins in the tournament (Tommy Boss, 4, 2002-05).
» Senior outfielder Matt den Dekker is two stolen bases away from tying the school record of in the NCAA Tournament (David Eckstein, 6, 1994-97).
» Junior second baseman Josh Adams and senior OF Jonathan Pigott are each three doubles away from tying the school record of career doubles in the NCAA Tournament (Jeff Corsaletti & Justin Tordi, 6, 2002-05 & 2003-05).
» Sophomores first baseman Preston Tucker and OF Tyler Thompson are each three home runs away from tying the school record of career homers in the NCAA Tournament (Mario Linares, 7, 1988-91).

» Gators starting pitchers Panteliodis (10-2, 3.39), freshman Hudson Randall (8-3, 2.97) and freshman Brian Johnson (6-4, 3.97)…who have led the team from the hill this season with sterling performances and a combined 3.69 ERA.
» Freshman sensation Austin Maddox…a third baseman who can play three other positions, has garnered numerous awards while leading the Gators in RBI (71), multiple-RBI games (21), home runs (17) and sacrifice flies (five).
» den Dekker…a speed demon leading UF with a 23-for-30 conversion rate on stolen bases, he is tied for fifth on the program’s career list with 66 stolen bags and leads the 2010 team in batting average (.358), runs (64) and hits (86).
» Junior closer Kevin Chapman (3-0)…has a team-low 1.48 ERA (42.2 innings) in 30 appearances. He is tied for second in the SEC with 11 saves. As a team, Florida’s 18 saves are have tied the team’s single-season record (1991).
» The Gators bullpen…which is 17-2 with 18 saves and a 4.18 ERA in 243.1 innings, while its starters are a combined 30-13 with a 3.78 ERA in 304.2 innings.

Donovan has no regrets, empathizes with Izzo

Returning to Orlando, FL, for a press conference would not have been a big deal for Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan…if his last media event in the city was anything other than him accepting the top job with the Orlando Magic three years ago after winning back-to-back National Championships.

Ironically, the Gators will play the Central Florida Knights on Dec. 1 in the Florida Citrus Sports Shootout – the first college basketball game in the brand new Amway Center (the future home of the Magic). And if he had not decided to return to Florida merely days after accepting the Orlando job, Donovan very well may have been coaching the Magic at the new arena – rather than the Gators.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t replay the decision in my mind a few times,” Donovan said Thursday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“[After you leave], you don’t always get the same college job and the same situation you had before,” he added. “I look at someone like Steve Spurrier. He left Florida and he’s back coaching in college at South Carolina. Certainly, South Carolina is not the same as Florida. When you leave a place, there’s a feeling like you can never go back again. So you better be sure when you leave.”

Donovan’s struggle mirrored the situation Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo faced over the last two weeks – trying to decide whether to take a large sum of money and potential to succeed in the NBA or continue to build his program on the college level. No one can empathize with this better than Donovan.

“I understand completely what Tom went through,” he said. “It’s such a hard decision because you know it’s a great opportunity in the NBA, but you have a situation in college where you have had an incredible personal investment into building something great. The amount of time and energy it takes to get a program to a certain level and then, to suddenly leave it, is extremely difficult.”

FB Joyer becomes Gators’ sixth 2011 commit

Holding camp this week for some of the top high school players in the country and throughout the state of Florida, the Florida Gators were greeted with some great news shortly after one of their early week attendees returned home.

According to numerous sources, three-star fullback Hunter Joyer (Tampa, FL) committed to the Gators immediately after receiving a scholarship offer from head coach Urban Meyer once his time at the camp concluded.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Florida Gator,” Joyer told The Gainesville Sun. “I was just waiting for an opportunity. It was kind of unexpected and I was surprised [that Florida offered], but it was one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life.”

Joyer, who impressed coaches throughout the camp with his combination of size, speed and blocking ability, is listed as the No. 1 fullback in the country by Rivals. While in Gainesville, FL, he drew a lot of attention from coaches by proving his blocking prowess and ability to catch balls out of the backfield.

“It’s so close to home, it’s a great school and a great (football) program,” Joyer told The Tampa Tribune. “It’s just an all-around elite school and I feel like it’s hard to go wrong when you choose to go there.”

In addition to competing with the football team, he hopes to join UF’s track and field program to continue his success in shot put (after all, he is a state champion). Joyer also runs between a 4.5 and 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.

Photo Credit: The Tampa Tribune

TWO BITS: Tebow in camp, Hernandez’s progress

1 » The Denver Broncos will open training camp on July 26, when the team will require all rookies – including former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow – to report. Veterans will join the youngsters on July 31, and the Broncos have announced that they will open practice to the public beginning on Aug. 1. So, if you are a Florida or Denver fan who just happens to be in the area, feel free to stop by and grab a glimpse.

2 » For the first time since the Boston Globe broke a story about him failing at least one drug test while at the University of Florida, former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez spoke to the media after New England Patriots practice. Though Hernandez would not answer any questions about the drug test – repeatedly saying that the issue was “in the past” – he did drool over the chance to catch passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. “You don’t even dream, coming from Connecticut, playing with a quarterback like that,” Hernandez said. “He’s like a movie star out there. You don’t think about it when you’re out there, but at the same time I go home and think, ‘It’s crazy.’” As to how workouts are unfolding, Hernandez said he is “going out every practice and working as hard as I can, trying to make some plays. [..] I’ve been in quite a few spots. I just come out every day, they put me in places, and I try to go as hard as I can.”

Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet reports that Hernandez struggled on Wednesday by dropping a touchdown pass, accidentally kicking a teammate in the belly on a long pass in the air and lining up incorrectly, the latter of which he received an “expletive-filled earful” for doing wrong. However, Curran notes that Hernandez does look good during practices and is impressing coaches with his catching and playmaking abilities.

Photo Credit: John Biever/Sports Illustrated

UCLA’s Rahmatulla out for College World Series

The No. 6 UCLA Bruins (48-14) are preparing to face the No. 3 Florida Gators (47-15) in the first round of the 2010 NCAA College World Series on Saturday, but the “away team” will have to do so without their starting second baseman.

Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla – who is hitting .328 with seven home runs, 19 doubles and 45 RBI this season – broke his wrist…while celebrating the team’s game three win against Cal State Fullerton in the 2010 Los Angeles Super Regional.

Rahmatulla started all 61 games for UCLA this season and is a big loss for the Bruins going into the CWS. While dogpiles are a part of the game and certainly a great way to celebrate, perhaps players should be more careful after seeing what happened to the Kendry Morales of the Los Angeles Angles just a few weeks ago.

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