FOUR BITS: Baseball’s wins, tennis, Horn, Proctor

1 » No. 4/5 Florida Gators baseball (36-12, 19-7 SEC) took a pair of 4-3 victories from the Georgia Bulldogs (14-35, 3-21 SEC) over the weekend in their final home series at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL for the 2010 season. Friday night, freshman catcher Mike Zunino won the game for the Gators with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore Alex Panteliodis earned the start but was pulled after giving up three earned run in five innings; classmate Greg Larson (3-1) came on to finish out the game, shutting the Bulldogs out the rest of the way while striking out three. Freshman designated hitter Brian Johnson (2-4) pulled in an RBI to go along with the two Zunino added over the course of the evening.

2 » Looking to capitalize Saturday, Florida won in similar fashion. Sophomore catcher Ben McMahan led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to break the 3-3 tie and help his team edge Georgia. Sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (2-4, one run) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (1-4, two runs, RBI) led the way for the Gators offensively, with junior Kevin Chapman (3-0) picking up the relief win in 1.2 innings of work. Freshman Hudson Randall started the game, tossing 5.2 solid innings with five strikeouts and two earned runs.

Florida is tied with South Carolina atop the Southeastern Conference standings but has two more games to play (Sun. vs. Georgia, Tues. vs. North Florida) before traveling to Columbia, SC, for a three-game SEC-deciding series to close the regular season.

3 » Like it’s women’s counterpart, No. 6 men’s tennis (20-4) – which also holds the sixth seed in the event – swept the South Carolina State Huskies (11-11) 4-0 in first-round action in the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL, on Saturday. The No. 8 doubles pair of junior Alexandre Lacroix and redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau took their doubles match; No. 7 Lacroix also won his singles contest, as did Benneteau and the rest of UF’s squad. Second-round action continues Sunday.

4 » Gators sophomore decathlete Gray Horn and senior jumper Shara Proctor each defended their titles, taking home the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championships in the decathalon and long jump, respectively. Competing at Tom Black Track in Knoxville, TN, Horn turned in a career-high 7,652 – the second-best decathalon score in UF history. He is the ninth person in conference history to win the title back-to-back and first since 1974. Horn is also the only Florida track & field athlete to win an SEC decathalon title. Similarly, Proctor won her second-straight title on the same track and became just the sixth multiple winner of the event with a victorious jump of 6.69m/21-11.50 (+1.4) – the best of her college career.

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FOUR BITS: Softball dominates, new commitments

1 » The word “dominate” is thrown around a lot, but that is exactly what No. 6/5 Florida Gators softball (39-7, 17-4 SEC) did Wednesday evening, shutting out the North Florida Ospreys (23-27) 22-0 and 8-0 in a doubleheader at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators won each game in five innings, hitting seven total home runs (six in the first game – tying UF single-game record) and scoring 30 runs. The 22 runs that crossed home plate in the first game of the series (14 in the third inning alone) set a school record. Wins were achieved by junior Stephanie Brombacher (26-5), who began a no-hitter with five strikeouts in three innings, and freshman Ensley Gammel (12-2), who struck out six and only gave up three hits.

Senior outfielder Francesca Enea (18), freshman first baseman Brittany Schutte (14), junior OF Kelsey Bruder (10), junior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (7), senior third baseman Corrie Brooks (8) and freshman OF Kelsey Horton (4) hit the first six bombs, with DeFelice (8) adding a second in the late game. Schutte’s moon shot also broke Florida’s freshman home run record, last set in 2008.

2 » Gators women’s basketball added its sixth 2010-11 commitment Monday when Santa Fe College sophomore point guard Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, FL) signed a National Letter of Intent to join the University of Florida. “Lanita is a dynamic scoring point guard, who brings experience in the point guard position,” head coach Amanda Butler said. “She’s been in the Florida Junior College system for two years, which is consistently the most competitive in the country.”

3 » Also increasing its talent level is Florida’s track and field team, which added a commitment from Luc Lawrence (Fort Walton Beach, FL), Lawrence, who can run both track and cross country, began running in eighth grade and caught the eye of cross country coach Todd Morgan almost immediately.

4 » As OGGOA first reported on Twitter early Wednesday, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow officially had the top selling jersey in the month of April according to sales figures from NFLShop.com. Tebow’s new Broncos jersey was only available for eight days of the month (he was drafted on April 22), yet it easily surpassed jersey sales for new Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb, who was traded away from the Philadelphia Eagles on April 4 and came in second overall on the list.

“I think it’s an honor for people to want my jersey and want to have it and want to wear it,” Tebow told the Denver Post on Wednesday. “It is somewhat surreal to have it sell more than some of these people I grew up idolizing.”

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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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

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SAAC holds first annual Florida Letterman Awards

The University of Florida’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held the first annual Florida Letterman Awards on Monday at the Phillips Center in Gainesville, FL. Check out the winners of each award…after the break:
Continue Reading » SAAC holds first annual Florida Letterman Awards

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Wilkerson, Taylor inducted into 2010 Hall of Fame

Eight former letterwinners, including Gator Greats Brad Wilkerson (baseball), Fred Taylor (football) and Brian Gay (men’s golf), were inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame on April 9 as members of the 2010 class. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. presented these honors at the Hall of Fame Banquet in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class included Gator Greats Leah Kirklin Anderson (women’s track & field), Jenny Manz Theis (volleyball) and Jason Odom (football) and Distinguished Letterwinners Laurie Burns (women’s golf) and William Freeman (men’s track & field).

More about each inductee and their individual career accomplishments after the jump.
Continue Reading » Wilkerson, Taylor inducted into 2010 Hall of Fame

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TWO BITS: W. basketball’s losses, lacrosse’s win

1 » Whether it was the season itself, head coach Amanda Butler’s style or a variety of other factors, three players have left the Gators women’s basketball team. Trumae Lucas, Tessah Holt and Christal Caldwell have all exited the program, which went 15-17 on the season and failed to make the NCAA Tournament after doing so one year ago. The women (short staffed by the transfers) also lost their second-round WNIT game against the Miami Hurricanes, falling 77-64. Sophomore center Azania Stewart had a team-high 18 points with six rebounds and four assists.

2 » On Saturday, Florida lacrosse (5-3) took down No. 17 New Hampshire Wildcats (4-3) 15-3 at home at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Freshman attacker Ashley Bruns scored six goals as the Gators won their first game against a ranked opponent in program history. Florida’s defense only allowed New Hampshire 11 shots and three goals over the course of the entire match.

Extra Bit » The Gators won seven events at the Black and Gold Challenge hosted by the University of Central Florida at the UCF Track and Field Complex on Saturday. For details on each event victory, click here. Track and field returns to action and Orlando, FL, next Saturday to participate in the UCF Invitational.

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Florida Gators capture first men’s track & field title

No. 1 Florida Gators track and field captured their first national title in program history Saturday night, winning the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship with 57 total team points. Their performance, coupled with a fourth-place finish for the women’s team, was one of the most successful national meets in program history.

Competing at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR, the Gators won by 13 points over the Oregon Ducks and Texas A&M Aggies, who tied for second-place with 44 team points. The national title victory is the 23rd in University of Florida athletics history.

Sophomore running back and freshman sprinter Jeff Demps captured the NCAA men’s 60-meter dash championship, the first in school history. His 6.57 time was one-hundreth of a second shy of his own 6.56 record-setting time that was accomplished during the preliminaries on Friday.

Senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili of Georgia took home the NCAA indoor shot put title. She is the second woman in NCAA history to win three-straight titles in this event. Kevkhishvili tossed a school-record 18.59m/61-0 for the win Saturday, shattering her previous personal record of 18.56/60-10.75. One of the most accomplished Florida track and field athletes of all time, she has now won 13 consecutive indoor competitions.

Also bringing home titles for the Gators over the weekend were junior distance runner Charlotte Browning (women’s mile) and men’s sophomore jumper Christian Taylor (men’s triple dump). In all, Florida took home 16 All-America honors at the NCAAs.

Though the indoor season is over for the Gators, the 2010 outdoor track and field season begins in just one week, on Sat., March 20.

Photo Credit: GatorZone.com

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FOUR BITS: Baseball, tennis win; golf leads; track

1 » No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (10-2) began its series against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (5-9) with a 6-0 win Friday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (4-0) tossed a career-high seven innings, striking out five in the outing. Florida notched consecutive shutout victories for the first time since 1995. A five-run second inning was highlighted by back-to-back two-out home runs by freshman catcher Mike Zunino (3-3, two RBI) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker. Florida has decided to add a game against Army to its schedule on Monday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m.

2 » No. 3 women’s and No. 4 men’s track and field combined for five All-America honors on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday. The men are in second-place (four points off the lead), while the women are in 14th. Four qualifying marks/times were achieved by the men, including freshman sprinter and sophomore running back Jeff Demps, who achieved a school-record time of 6.56 seconds in the 60-meter dash.

Two more BITS on tennis’ two wins and men’s golf’s lead…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baseball, tennis win; golf leads; track

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