SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

1 » Faced with elimination, top-seeded No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (41-4) rode past the No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (40-18) 5-4 in the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday at Regions Park in Hoover, AL. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (9-2) picked up the win, tossing 6.2 innings, striking out five and giving up three earned runs. Junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his 11th save of the season, though he did give up a run in the ninth and final inning of the game. Freshman third baseman Austin Maddox (2-4) led the way with two RBI, and freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (2-3) scored two runs. Florida will face Vanderbilt (41-16) in the second elimination game of the tournament Friday evening, airing live at ESPN3.com.

2 » Still making touchdowns – but now for the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL – former Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker was faced with an injury scare Saturday night in a 46-44 win over the Cleveland Gladiators. “I thought I tore something,” Baker told The Florida Times-Union. Instead Baker, who scored twice during the game before falling to the turf, suffered a sprain according to an MRI exam after the game. He is second on the team this season with 416 yards and nine touchdowns in five games played.

Four more BITS on track & field qualifiers, tennis’ NCAA wins and losses and a Gator winning Rookie of the Year…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

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No. 8 Stanford squeaks by No. 3 Florida for title

Starving off a near spectacular comeback, No. 8 Stanford Cardinal women’s tennis (26-1) captured the 2010 NCAA National Championship with a 4-3 defeat of the No. 3 Florida Gators (29-3) on Tuesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA.

The Gators were just two individual games away from defeat but battled back to force third sets in two singles matches while the Cardinal held a 3-2 lead. Florida sophomore Joanna Mather took down Stanford’s Carolyn McVeigh 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 in the second-to-last match, tying the score 3-3 and leaving the title in the hands of the final two competitors – senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra and No. 33 Mallory Burdette

After losing her first set 6-4, Boonstra fought back to even her match with Burdette by winning the second set 6-7 (4). Down 2-0 in the third, Boonstra pushed ahead with a valiant effort to take a 5-4 lead. However, she ended up losing her final three games, allowing Burdette to tie it up and eventually reign victorious 7-5.

“My heart just aches for Marrit,” Gators head coach Ron Thornqvist said after the loss. “She has given this program everything she has. It’s just not fair for it to come down to a result like this for her. She’s going to be hurting for a long time. Our players will echo when I say that they love her for all she has done for them and how she gives them her heart. Marrit gave herself a chance in the match, leading 5-4 and was playing good tennis. It seemed like Mallory relaxed at 5-all and I thought that was the difference.”

The Gators won the doubles point with victories from the No. 29 duo of freshman Lauren Embree and Mather as well as the pair of freshman Carolina Hitimana and senior Anastasia Revzina. However, Florida’s No. 5-ranked team of Boonstra and freshman Allie Will uncharacteristically fell 8-4 to No. 2 Hilary Barte and Lindsay Brudette.

In singles action, No. 9 Embree held No. 4 Barte set-less with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Mather joined her with a singles win, but No. 8 Will (6-3, 6-3), Boonstra, No. 102 Revzina (6-2, 6-2) and No. 107 Hitimana (6-3, 7-5) were all out-matched by Stanford.

“That was probably one of the better matches I’ve been involved with in a match of this magnitude,” Thornqvist reflected. “I thought we played terrific in doubles all year and today was no different. For some reason, we got off to a slow start in singles. It looked really grim there for a while, but just like we talked about all year long, we were resilient. I really thought our team showed tremendous courage, heart and pride. In the end we came up short, but I was really, really proud of our effort and our play in a championship round like this. Stanford played at a high level from the beginning of the match. In the first 20 minutes of singles, balls were whipping past us left and right. For us to slow that down and use our athleticism and neutralize some of that pace was great.”

The Gators women will now break apart from the team and compete in singles and doubles for individual NCAA National Championships beginning on Wednesday. Embree and Will are set to represent Florida in singles action, while Will/Boonstra and Embree/Revzina will pair in the doubles draw.

With the victory, the Cardinal captures their 16th title in 29 years and first over the Gators. Florida and Stanford squared off in the 2003 championship match with the Gators winning 4-3, but the Cardinal began their revenge with a 4-0 semifinal victory in 2006, the last time the two teams had faced until Tuesday.

Photo/Quote Credits: University of Florida

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No. 3 Florida women’s tennis defeats No. 2 North Carolina, advances to 2010 NCAA Championship

Already rolling their way through the 2010 NCAA Tournament, No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis (29-2) swept the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (30-5) 4-0 in the event’s semifinals on Monday at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA.

The Gators’ top three players – freshmen No. 8 Allie Will, freshman No. 9 Lauren Embree and senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra – all won their singles contests (in reverse order). Boonstra triumphed 6-2, 6-2; Will won 6-3, 6-3; and Embree’s match went three sets ending 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.

In doubles competition, the No. 5 team of Boonstra and Will led 6-3 in a shortened match after the No. 29 duo of Embree and sophomore Joanna Mather prevailed 8-4 and the combination of freshman Caroline Hitimana and senior Anastasia Revzina ran through their competition 8-1.

Also still playing at the event’s conclusion were No. 102 Revzina (tied 4-6, 6-5, 3-3), Mather (up 6-2, 3-6, 4-3) and sophomore Claire Bartlett (down 5-7, 2-2).

Florida will face No. 8 Stanford (25-1), which defeated No. 5 Notre Dame 4-1 in the other semifinal, on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the championship match live on ESPNU.

The Gators beat the Cardinal 4-3 for the 2003 title but lost 4-0 the last time the two teams squared off in the 2006 semifinals Should Florida prevail, it will be the program’s fifth National Championship and first since 2003. Stanford is the sport’s most storied college program, having won 15 of 28 titles.

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SIX BITS: Tennis, Tebow’s defense, Cunningham’s future, Mullen’s job, Johnson’s start, Moyer

1 » The No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis team was honored extensively by the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday, taking home the top three available annual awards. Freshman Lauren Embree won SEC Player of the Year, freshman Allie Will took home SEC Freshman of the Year honors and Roland Thornqvist was named SEC Coach of the Year. Also representing the team were seniors Marrit Boonstra and Anastasia Revzina, who were named to the All-SEC First Team and Second Team, respectively. Embree and Will also earned All-SEC First Team honors and placement on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Florida was undefeated (11-0) during the regular season, won the 2010 SEC Tournament and will compete in the 2010 NCAA Team Championship beginning May 14.

2 » When it comes to former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s future with the Denver Broncos, you will find no stronger advocate or staunch defender than Denver Post columnist Woody Paige. As someone who suggested the team select Tebow from the get-go, Paige has gone on the offensive against a number of his readers who continue to question head coach Josh McDaniels’ decision, comparing Tebow to the likes of John Elway and San Francisco’s Steve Young.

Check out four more BITS on Cunningham, Mullen and Florida baseball…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tennis, Tebow’s defense, Cunningham’s future, Mullen’s job, Johnson’s start, Moyer

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FOUR BITS: McNabb, baseball, softball, tennis

1 » Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles traded star quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for two draft picks. Monday, Florida Gators fans are trying to connect the dots to Tim Tebow and the 2010 NFL Draft. Here is what you need to know: (a) The Redskins acquiring McNabb makes it unlikely they draft Tebow, even after paying him plenty of attention. (b) The Eagles, with two QBs on one-year deals, are more likely to consider Tebow or any available passer for that matter – but not likely until the second round. (c) Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen may fall in the first round, potentially pushing Texas’ Colt McCoy and Tebow into later draft selections.

2 » Looking to salvage a road season in which they already lost the first two games, No. 20/17 Vanderbilt Commodores baseball (24-6, 5-4 SEC) shutout the No. 8/11 Gators (20-7, 5-3 SEC) 7-0 on Sunday in the series finale at McKethan Stadium. Starter Jack Armstrong (4-0) tossed six innings of four-hit ball for Vanderbilt, which also benefited from a pair of solo home runs by third baseman Jason Esposito (2-5, three runs). Freshman Hudson Randal (2-3) earned the loss for Florida, giving up two earned runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings with six strikeouts.

Two more BITS on Gators softball and tennis’ weekend sweeps…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: McNabb, baseball, softball, tennis

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FOUR BITS: Demps is fast, Andrews’ death threats

1 » Florida Gators freshman sprinter and junior running back Jeff Demps is fast. So fast, in fact, that the 10.11-second 100-meter dash he ran at the 66th Pepsi Florida Relays on Friday afternoon at Percy Beard Track is the fastest run in the world so far in 2010 (and it is not even the best time he has run in his life – 10.01 in high school. Demps won the 60-meter dash national title at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships and is hoping to add more titles to his resume in the outdoor season.

2 » ESPN sideline reporter and former Florida dazzler Erin Andrews, who is currently a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, has been the subject of death threats since the end of March, according to CNN. Andrews’ attorney, Marshall B. Grossman, says that radio talk show host Dan Patrick has been sent several threatening e-mails about Andrews beginning in September. The e-mails “were of a sexual nature but then turned violent” recently, according to Grossman. The FBI is already on the case and has identified the sender of the e-mails, per the Los Angeles Times.

Two more BITS on…No. 8/11 baseball, No. 3 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis all defeating Vanderbilt on Friday. Read more about these results…after the jump!

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Demps is fast, Andrews’ death threats

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