Gators baseball wins series, falls in finale at UK

No. 5 Florida Gators baseball (35-13, 14-10 SEC) fell just short of their first weekend series sweep in over a month, winning two of three games on the road against the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (37-11, 15-9 SEC) at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY.

Florida won Thursday’s contest 5-3 and pulled out a late 5-1 victory on Friday before dropping the series finale 2-1 to Kentucky on Saturday. UF faces an uphill battle to defend their conference championship as they are currently behind both South Carolina and LSU in the standings.

The Gators saw their starting pitching return to form over the weekend.

Junior right-hander Hudson Randall improved to 5-1 on with a 6.2-inning outing on Thursday. He held the Wildcats to one run through six innings but coughed up two more before heading to the dugout (6 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K) and allowing junior left-handed reliever Steven Rodriguez (2.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K) to pick up his first save of the season.

Sophomore RHP Karsten Whitson followed Randall’s effort by putting forth his best performance since returning from injury on Friday, holding Kentucky to one earned run over 4.2 innings despite allowing six hits, walking three batters, hitting another, throwing two wild pitches and striking out just two. Whitson was relieved by a trio of throwers including freshman LHP Bobby Poyner (1.0 IP, 2 H), senior RHP Greg Larson (W 6-0, 1.1 IP, HBP) and Rodriguez (S2, 2.0 IP, 2 K).

Florida brought junior LHP Brian Johnson out for the finale and saw him work his way through four innings before allowing a run on two hits and a walk in the bottom of the fifth. Johnson (L 5-4, 5.0 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 2 K) was replaced by sophomore RHP Jonathon Crawford (3.0 IP, 3 H, R, 2 K), who would have held the Wildcats scoreless had it not been for two fielding errors in the bottom of the eighth.

Gators senior right fielder Preston Tucker powered UF through the first two games of the series, hitting a homer on Thursday and finishing the three-game trip 5/11 with three RBIs, three runs scored and a walk.

Johnson (4/11, 2 RBI) and freshman left fielder Justin Shafer (4/10, 2 RBI) knocked in runs as part of Florida’s two wins though senior center fielder Daniel Pigott was the only player to get on the board in the finale with a solo homer in the top of the ninth. The Gators had the tying run on second but were unable to finish their rally on Saturday.

Florida will look to get revenge against North Florida on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Gainesville, FL before hosting their final home games of the season in a three-game series against Mississippi State Friday-Sunday.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: Baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf, lax

1 » No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball split the remaining two games of its away series against the Kentucky Wildcats, winning 6-3 Saturday night before falling 6-5 on Sunday. The Gators (25-10, 10-5 SEC) clinched their first series win in Lexington, KY, against the Wildcats (22-14, 5-10 SEC) at Cliff Hagan Stadium since 2004. Saturday, sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (1-4) led the way with three RBI, while freshman designated hitter Austin Maddox (3-5) collected two runs. Freshman Hudson Randall got the start, but sophomore reliever Greg Larson (2-1) earned the win on 3.2 no-hit innings. Tucker went 2-5 Sunday, but Florida and sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (2-2) fell to Kentucky in the series finale.

2 » No. 3/4 softball also took a series win against UK over the weekend, winning two out of three games from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Junior first baseman Megan Bush went 3-6 during the doubleheader on Saturday with a grand slam, while sophomore outfielder Michelle Moultrie contributed a 5-6 performance with two runs and a double. Junior Stephanie Brombacher and freshman Ensley Gammel (10-1) pitched, earning a win and loss, respectively. Gammel would also earn her fourth save in the first game. The Gators (34-5, 14-3 SEC) clinched the series Sunday against the Wildcats (27-18, 11-11 SEC) with senior OF Francesca Enea (2-3) grabbing two RBI and her 58th career home run. She is now within two of the all-time SEC record of 60. Brombacher (23-4) tossed a complete game for her second win of the weekend.

Four more BITS on track & field, tennis, golf and lacrosse…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf, lax

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Baseball, decathalon, golf in SECs

1 » A 90-minute rain delay did little to derail No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball (24-9, 9-4 SEC) from taking a 10-8 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (21-13, 4-9 SEC) Friday night on the road at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY. Marking the 100th victory of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s career, the win was powered by a home run each from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (3-5) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (2-3). Sophomore Alex Panteliodis got the start but received a no-decision after giving up five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Senior reliever Jeff Barfield (2-0) tossed 1.1 innings for the win as junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his seventh save of the season with four strikeouts in 2.0 innings.

2 » From GatorZone: “Sophomore Florida multi-event athlete Gray Horn turned in the second-best decathlon score in school history Thursday, charting 7,566 total points to place third at the Mt. Sac Relays Multi-Events hosted by Azusa Pacific University at Cougar Stadium.”

3 » No. 4/6 men’s and No. 10/11 women’s golf are each currently competing in their respective 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. After the first round of action, the men’s team is in a tie for second place while the women are struggling and are currently in ninth. The Gators’ men are just two strokes behind the leading Arkansas Razorbacks and have a chance to take the lead Saturday.

4 » By all accounts, former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is already doing an amazing job in his first head coaching gig with the Louisville Cardinals. Granted, it is only spring practice so far. Regardless, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples put out a nice piece about Strong on Monday, stating what OGGOA has long believed, that “schools nationwide are about to regret passing on Charlie Strong.”

Extra Bit » OGGOA has heard that Gators basketball’s Friday visit with Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario went really well. Some we have spoken with seem to believe he will be committing or already has committed. However, we are not able to confirm that at this point – just wanted to make our readers aware of what we are hearing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,