Florida Gators softball defeats Auburn in extra innings, advances to WCWS Championship Series

For the fourth time in the last seven seasons, No. 1 Florida Gators softball advanced to the Women’s College World Series Championship Series, earning a 3-2 extra-innings victory over the No. 4 Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City.

Despite starting the day 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Gators got a hit when it mattered the most with freshman left fielder Nicole DeWitt (1/4, RBI) smacking an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to score the game-winning run from second.

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Takeaways: Florida Gators baseball roasts Auburn, advances in SEC Tournament

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

With its collective back against the wall, No. 4 seed Florida Gators baseball (41-16) showed up big after a half-day turnaround and avoided elimination with a 11-2 thumping of the No. 9 seed Auburn Tigers in the loser’s bracket of the 2015 SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.

Less than 11 hours after a devastating 7-6 loss to Arkansas that ended around 1:30 a.m. local time, Florida got up for a 12:30 p.m. start and made a statement by taking an early lead and never looking back.

Here are three takeaways from the Gators’ dominant win:

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Takeaways: Florida seniors shine vs. Auburn, set Gators baseball up for postseason, national seed

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 7 Florida Gators baseball (40-15, 19-11 SEC) closed out the 2015 regular season with a series win over the Auburn Tigers. It marked the fourth series in a row in which Florida dropped its opener (4-1), the third straight in which it recovered to win the next two games (4-3, 3-1).

UF ultimately finished in fourth place in the league behind LSU (20-8), Vanderbilt (20-10) and Texas A&M (18-10). Nevertheless, the Gators are well-positioned to earn a national seed and host a regional in the 2015 NCAA Tournament due to their high RPI (No. 6), nonconference strength of schedule (No. 13) and recent series win over VU.

The Aggies (No. 7 RPI) and Commodores (No. 11 RPI) will both be entering the 2015 SEC Tournament with the goal of jumping Florida in the national seed pecking order.

Here are five takeaways from the final series of the 2015 regular season:

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Florida Gators name Jenny Rowland program’s new head gymnastics coach

Making his third major coaching hire this offseason, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has tabbed Jenny Rowland as the program’s new gymnastics coach.

Rowland – a former All-American gymnast and member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (1985-90) who was named the 2015 NCAA co-Assistant Coach of the Year – has spent five seasons with Auburn, serving as the program’s associate head coach over the last two campaigns.

“When we started this search, there was one name that kept coming up – Jenny Rowland. What Auburn has done over the past few seasons is quite impressive and she’s played a big role in the Tigers’ progress. We feel confident she’s ready to guide the Gator program,” Foley said.

“She wants Gator gymnasts to thrive in all aspects of their student-athletic career – in the classroom, in the competitive arena and in developing the life skills to be successful following college. She knows what is like to be a competitor on the national, international and collegiate stages. She has what it takes to be a successful recruiter as she’s built relationships with so many in the gymnastics world.”

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Fastbreak: Florida takes down Auburn 75-55

Updated on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Florida Gators basketball (10-6, 3-0 SEC) continued its upward momentum by winning its third-straight in Southeastern Conference play with a 75-55 victory over the Auburn Tigers (9-7, 1-2 SEC) on Thursday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The win was Florida’s 21th consecutive regular-season victory in SEC play and 19th-straight home win against a league opponent dating back to Jan. 9, 2013.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Thursday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: After seeing its lead cut in half from 20 to 10 due to a 10-0 Auburn run (see below), Florida scored six points on three-straight possessions in just 1:13 to increase its advantage to 16 points and hold on for the victory.

Significant stretches: The Gators opened the second half with a 10-3 scoring stretch, extending their advantage and taking a game-high 24-point lead on the Tigers. Spanning the half, Auburn went 9:53 without netting a field goal, allowing Florida to build on its 17-point halftime lead. AU would not be denied, however, turning three-straight UF turnovers into three-pointers with a 10-0 run that cut its deficit to 10 with five minutes to play.

“I think our team is getting better. We’re not there. There’s an immaturity, a lack of understanding,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “We’re up 19 points, we have three empty possessions and they make three-straight threes. All of a sudden the lead goes from 19 to 10 and they’re looking around like, ‘What happened?!’ They have no concept how quickly it can change.”

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Auburn Tigers

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS AUBURN TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Pearl
Record: 9-6 (2-0 SEC) Record: 9-6 (1-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: -15 | O/U 128

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No. 2 Florida vs. Auburn post-game report: Gators hope to learn from close win

No. 2 Florida Gators basketball (24-2, 13-0 SEC) squeaked by the Auburn Tigers (12-12, 4-9 SEC) on Wednesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, staving off an upset big and coming away with a 71-66 victory that kept a number of major streaks alive. Following the close win, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to discuss the win.

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» Florida is now 20-4 against Auburn under Donovan. UF has won seven-straight, 17 of the last 18 in the series and nine in a row at home. The Gators and Tigers squared off in a home-and-home series for the first time since 1991.
» UF matched a program-best by opening the season 24-2, a record it only previously achieved at the start of the 2006-07 season. Florida has also set a school-record by starting 13-0 in league play.
» The Gators are in the midst of the longest winning streak in program history. UF won its 18th-straight game on Wednesday and has been victorious in 23 of the last 24 contests.
» Florida has won 30 consecutive home games as well as 15-in-a-row against SEC opponents in the O’Dome, both school records.
» The Gators are 76-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 11-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.

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Fastbreak: Auburn melts down as No. 2 Florida escapes to win program-record 18th-straight game

A questionable decision and boneheaded play negated the Auburn Tigers (12-12, 4-9 SEC) upset bid on Wednesday night in Gainesville, FL as the No. 2 Florida Gators (24-2, 13-0 SEC) squeaked out a 71-66 victory in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Florida set a school record with its 18th-straight victory, captured its 30th win in a row at home and matched the program record for best start to a season (2006-07). The Gators also extended a program record with their best-ever start in league play and recorded their 16th consecutive home win against an SEC opponent.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida senior center Patric Young rebounded a missed Chris Denson free throw with 21 seconds to play, and Auburn’s Asauhn Dixon-Tatum inexplicably fouled him with UF in the double bonus. Young, who has hit .714 over the last six games from the charity stripe, made both free throws to give the Gators a two-point lead. But the game really ended on the ensuing inbounds pass when Allen Payne of the Tigers threw the ball to a teammate who was not expecting it only to see the rock sail out of bounds. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was fouled immediately afterward and hit two more free throws to clinch the victory.

Prominent player: Young dominated in the second half and carried Florida on his back at the tail end of Wednesday’s contest, finishing with a team-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He hit 7-of-9 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds, dished three assists and registered two blocks including a highlight swat where he charged down the court on a fastbreak, flew into the lane and saved a layup with eight minutes to play.

Perfect play: The Gators appeared down in the dumps trailing by two with less than a minute to play, but sophomore guard Michael Frazier II turned all of that around by draining a big three from point-blank range on an assist from senior forward Casey Prather with 42 seconds left. Though AU did tie the game on its next possession, the huge basket by Frazier helped reverse UF’s fortunes. It was especially big for Frazier, who went just 3-for-9 from beyond the arc on Wednesday and even injured his left wrist early in the second half. Frazier notched nine points, while Prather was an efficient 6-for-8 for 16 points with nine boards.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
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