Johnson, Fontana named to USA National Team

Youth was a strength for Florida Gators baseball (47-17) this past season, and the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team has recognized that by choosing two Florida freshmen – pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson and shortstop Nolan Fontana – to represent their country in a number of upcoming competitions.

.Johnson and Fontana are two of 22 college baseball players who will take somewhat of a world tour over the next few weeks.

The U.S. will play against minor league teams on its home soil, then a five-game series against Korea, face the Japanese Collegiate All-Star Team in a friendly at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE, travel to Taiwan, for four games against Chinese Taipei and conclude their tour at the FISU World University Championship in Tokyo, Japan.

The U.S. will be going for its fourth consecutive FISU World title (2004, 2006, 2008).

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FOUR BITS: Marshall, Fontana, Andrews, UGA AD

1 » Former Florida Gators linebacker, 1992 NFC Defensive Player of the Year and three-time Pro Bowler Wilber Marshall has decided to speak out about the proposed 18-game NFL season because he believes it is a money grab and will take a serious toll on players’ bodies. “I take meds just to walk,” he told Florida Today. “I don’t like taking them. I know what they do to the liver. I saw what happened to Walter [Payton]. So far, my head’s good. It’s just the rest of my body that doesn’t work. […] They should keep it at 16 games and eliminate the two preseason games anyway. But you know how it is. It’s all about the NFL making money, and not about the players’ health.”

2 » Florida freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana was named to the Rawlings NCAA Division I Gold Glove Team on Wednesday, the first player in school history to earn such an honor. The only freshman on the nine-player team, Fontana posted a .986 fielding percentage and only committing four errors in 279 chances in 2010.

3 » In the process of re-signing with ESPN, former Gators dazzler and current sideline reporter Erin Andrews will be featured in the August 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. Complete with an alluring photo spread, Andrews was interviewed by George Wayne who, safe to say, asked her some pretty ridiculous questions. Among them: “Do you have man-size feet like Paris Hilton?” “What is the one thing you take when feeling constipated?” and “What gets me to the vomitorium is that faux romance between you and that cheesy ballroom dancing partner of yours. What was with this tabloid fake romance?” Luckily for OGGOA’s male readers, Wayne’s somewhat absurd interview comes along with a video of Andrews’ photo shoot.

4 » Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Damon Evans was arrested on charges of driving under the influence Wednesday evening. Evans, driving a 2009 BMW, was pulled over just before midnight and is said to have smelled of alcohol while failing a field sobriety test. He refused a breathalyzer test and was released on his own recognizance Thursday morning. The University of Georgia is expected to release a statement sometime soon; some believe the school will ask him to resign.

Photo Credit: Patrick Fraser/Vanity Fair

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Seminoles chop Gators 8-5 in elimination game

Faced with elimination from the 2010 NCAA College World Series and the end of a stellar season, No. 3 Florida Gators baseball (47-17) lost their second-straight game for only the third time all year, falling 8-5 to the unranked Florida State Seminoles (48-19) on Monday evening at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE.

The Gators entered the series hoping to earn their 48th win of the season – one which would tie the program high (2005) – but could not come away with a victory after first falling to UCLA 11-3 on Saturday.

Freshman starter Hudson Randall (8-4) was blasted by the Seminoles for four earned runs in 2.2 innings including a solo shot by outfielder Tyler Holt (3-4, two RBI, three runs) to lead-off the first inning and a three-run homer by outfielder/pitcher Mike McGee (2-4, four RBI, two runs) in the bottom of the third. Freshman Brian Johnson, in relief, fared a little better but still allowed two earned runs in 3.1 innings. Sophomore Anthony DeSclafani and junior Kevin Chapman each gave up an earned run of their own before senior Greg Larson threw the final out.

For the Seminoles, Brian Busch (6-2) only allowed two earned runs in 5.1 innings. Geoff Parker tossed 2.1 innings of shutout relief before Daniel Bennett entered for an attempt to close out the game. However, Bennett would give up a three-RBI double to sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (1-5) in the top of the ninth before being pulled for McGee (S13) who forced freshman catcher Mike Zunino to line into an infield double play to end the game.

Freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (2-4, two runs), freshman designated hitter Austin Maddox (2-5, RBI) and senior outfielder Jonathan Pigott (2-4, RBI, run) led the way for Florida offensively, but the team was unable to put a rally together until it was too late.

FSU defeated UF for the fourth time in five meetings this season; the Seminoles are also responsible for ending the Gators’ season twice in the past three years after knocking the 2008 team out of the NCAA Tournament in the Tallahassee Regional.

Photo Credit: Daniel J. Muprhy/ Omaha World-Herald

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2010 NCAA College World Series Gameday (06/21): No. 3 Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

Location: Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium – Omaha, NE [Capacity: 23,170]
Game Time: 4:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2HD
Online: ESPN3.com
OGGOA Live Updates: via Twitter

No. 3 Florida Gators Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan Head Coach: Mike Martin
Starter: RHP Hudson Randall (8-3, 2.95 ERA) Starter: LHP Brian Busch (5-2, 3.97 ERA)
Record: 47-16 Record: 47-19
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

HISTORY / RECORDS:
» Florida State leads the all-time series against Florida 119-96-1; however, the Gators have a 3-0 record against the Seminoles in the NCAA College World Series and are 10-3 against them (including seven of the last eight) in the NCAA Tournament.
» The two teams will be squaring off for the fifth time in 2010 with every game taking place in a different city. FSU is 3-1 this year against UF, winning in Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee; Florida won at home.
» O’Sullivan, throughout his time in Gainesville, is 4-7 against the Seminoles; 3-0 at home, 1-3 in Tallahassee and 0-4 at neutral sites.
» The last time these teams played in the NCAA Tournament, the Gators fell 17-11 at the 2008 Tallahassee Regional.
» 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 2-5 at neutral sites in 2010.
» Florida has outscored opponents 434-282 this year, is 36-4 when scoring first and 11-12 when their competition does so. They are also 34-3 when registering more hits than their opponent and 10-13 otherwise.
» The Gators are undefeated when leading after six innings (41-0), seven innings (44-0) and eight innings (43-0), but only 1-16 when trailing after six, 2-15 when losing at the end of the seventh and 3-15 when down through eight.
» 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).

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» 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 slugging percentage (.591).
» 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 (.355), runs (65) and hits (87). He is also on an eight-game hitting streak.
» Freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana…who is hitting at a .333 clip through six NCAA Tournament games with nine walks, seven runs, three RBI, two doubles and a homer.
As of the beginning of the College World Series…
» 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.

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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)

TV: ESPN / ESPNHD
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

HISTORY / RECORDS:
» 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).

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» 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.

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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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FOUR BITS: Young, Johnson, soccer, education

1 » Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young has been selected to be a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U-18 National Team. Picked as one of 12 of the nation’s top players age 18 or younger, Young will be under the leadership of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel while competing for the 2010 FIBA U18 Championship for Men from June 26-30 in San Antonio, TX.

2 » Also earning national recognition is Florida freshman pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson, who was invited to tryout for the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team from July 5-11 at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC. Johnson hopes to be one of 22 players selected for the final roster, which will compete until Aug. 7.

3 » Gators soccer released its 2010 schedule Wednesday, and the match-ups ahead for the women do not appear to be any easier than they have been in previous seasons. Florida is set to face nine teams who competed for the 2009 NCAA Championship – the ninth time in program history that their schedule is so top-heavy. The Gators will begin on Aug. 20 against Miami in Gainesville, FL, and will face notable teams of Florida State, Duke and North Carolina on the road before beginning their Southeastern Conference slate. In the middle of the season, Florida will play five consecutive road games; the team does not have a home stand longer than two games after Sept. 3.

4 » Seeing as most of OGGOA’s readers either attended the University of Florida, hoped to attend UF or have children at the school, it is important to note that the university was ranked No. 15 on Wednesday when U.S. News & World Report released their list of the top public institutions in the United States. No SEC schools finished ahead of Florida and, of course, they were tied with the University of Texas for the 15th slot. Other notable rankings include Georgia (21), Auburn (T39), Alabama (T43), Florida State (T48), Tennessee (T52), and LSU, Arkansas and Kentucky (all T64).

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FOUR BITS: Easley, Crowder, den Dekker, UCF

1 » When the New York Post asked Florida Gators five-star freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley what his goals are when he heads to Gainesville, FL, next week, his response was straight-forward: “start right away and get to that BCS championship game.” Easley – who was honored with a student-athlete award on Monday after finishing high school with an 85 grade average while compiling 73 tackles and 16 sacks as a senior – says that he is excited for his future. “It’s getting crazy,” he said. “I’m going to be doing what I’ve been watching all my life.” Earning praise from his teachers, administrators, coaches and peers, Easley is on the fast track to success and may realize that as soon as Sept. 4 against Miami (OH).

2 » Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, entering his sixth season in the NFL, is facing a bit of adversity this offseason after the team signed high-priced free agent LB Karlos Dansby and traded for back-up LB Tim Dobbins to compete with him for one of the inside positions. Though Crowder has not been a source of game-changing plays yet in the NFL, his consistent play and locker room presence is one of the driving forces of the team’s defense. Crowder sat down with the Sun-Sentinel for a wide-ranging interview which can be viewed below. As OGGOA has contended for years, Crowder is easily the best interview in the NFL. Enjoy.

3 » In college baseball, deciding to remain in school after being selected in the MLB Draft is an increasingly difficult decision – especially when the lure of money is being thrown around. But according to Gators senior outfielder Matt den Dekker, returning to school could not have gone any better. “This is definitely the best moment in my career,” den Dekker said after defeating Miami last week to advance to the 2010 NCAA College World Series. “Coming back was the best decision I could have made.” The choice also improved his draft stock, seeing as he moved up from a 16th-round pick in 2009 to the No. 152 overall pick just over a week ago as selected by the New York Mets.

4 » As OGGOA first reported via Twitter early Wednesday, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan and Central Florida Knights head coach Donnie Jones will be holding a joint press conference in Orlando, FL, on Thursday at 3 p.m. to officially announce the neutral-site game to be played at the brand new Amway Center on Dec. 1. The game will be the first college basketball contest played at the $480 million facility and will hold added significance on two levels for Donovan. Most notably, he will be going up against his former long-time assistant in Jones for the first time since he left the program for the top job at Marshall after the 2007 NCAA National Championship season. Donovan also will be coaching in the new home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the team he once agreed to coach before backing out just days later and signing a new contract with Florida in 2007.

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