Florida Gators baseball falls to Virginia 5-4, gets eliminated from 2015 College World Series

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators (52-18) baseball saw its season come to an end on Saturday, one game shy of advancing to the 2015 College World Series Championship Series as the Virginia Cavaliers edged UF 5-4 in a drama-filled game with multiple ties and lead changes.

Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Florida sophomore first baseman Peter Alonso (1/3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB) answered with a 429-foot two-run homer in the second inning, breaking his own record for the longest home run hit in the history of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Cavs tied the game at two in the fourth inning, but junior left fielder Harrison Bader (4/5, HR, RBI, R) put the Gators up 3-2 with a solo shot in the top of the fifth, as UF was marked as the visitor on Saturday. It was the last time Florida would hold a lead this season as Virginia fought back to go up 4-3 in the bottom frame and broke a 4-4 tie with multiple hits in the seventh.

The loss is a difficult one for the Gators, which have advanced to the CWS four times in the last six seasons but never come back to Gainesville with a national title.

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Top 10 plays: Florida Gators softball and baseball flash in 2015 NCAA Tournament

The weekend was a good one for the Florida Gators softball and baseball teams, which each advanced a round in their respective 2015 NCAA Tournament.

No. 1 softball moved on to the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Series where it will face No. 5 Michigan – beginning Monday evening – in an effort to defend its 2014 national title. The Gators got there by routing Tennessee 7-2 on Thursday, shutting out LSU 4-0 on Friday and edging Auburn 3-2 in nine innings on Sunday.

No. 4 baseball’s weekend was less dramatic. On the way to winning the Gainesville Regional, Florida routed Florida A&M 19-0 on Friday, pushed passed South Florida 8-2 on Saturday and squeaked out a 2-1 win against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. UF will host Super Regional action this week against the winner of the Tallahassee Regional.

Normally, a highlight or two would come from such an high-pressure weekend. As it turns out, there were more than enough over the last few days to fill a top 10 list. With that in mind, let’s check out the top Gators plays of the weekend.

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Takeaways: No. 4 Florida Gators baseball advances to Super Regional with 2-1 win over FAU

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

For the first time since 2012, No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (47-16) has returned to the Super Regionals after defeating the Florida Atlantic Owls 2-1 in the Gainesville Regional portion of the 2015 NCAA Tournament behind a strong outing from freshman right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo (6.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 6 K).

UF trailed on Sunday at McKethan Stadium for the first time this weekend when FAU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Senior third baseman Josh Tobias (3/4, R) scored Florida’s first run when Florida Atlantic second baseman Stephen Kerr booted a ground ball hit by freshman catcher JJ Schwarz (1/4, RBI). In the sixth inning, Schwarz collected a legitimate RBI on a single to left field that scored junior shortstop Richie Martin (0/3, R, BB).

The Gators were one inning away from winning the regional before lightning in the area stopped play for 67 minutes. The delay ended an impressive relief outing from senior left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner (2.0 IP, 2 H, 4 K). Junior RHP Taylor Lewis (1.0 IP, H) successfully closed out the ninth, punching Florida’s ticket to the Super Regional, which it will play in for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

Here are three takeaways from the Gators’ big win:

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Takeaways: No. 4 Florida Gators baseball tames USF Bulls 8-1, moves to Gainesville Regional final

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (46-16) advanced to the finals of the Gainesville Regional portion of the 2015 NCAA Tournament with an 8-2 win over the South Florida Bulls on Saturday evening. As such, the Gators are now one win away from hosting a Super Regional as part of the Round of 16.

Despite being the regional hosts and a top national seed, Florida played Saturday as the visiting team in McKethan Stadium. USF threatened early, taking advantage of a lead off walk in the bottom of the first inning to load the bases with two outs, but sophomore left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk (7.0 IP, 4 H, BB, 8 K) notched a scoreless frame on 29 pitches and got into a groove, at one point retiring 14 consecutive batters.

UF sophomore center fielder Buddy Reed (2/5, HR, 2 RBI, R) broke the scoring ice with a two-run shot in the top of the third. His effort was matched by junior left fielder Harrison Bader (2/5, HR, 2 RBI, R), who cranked one out in the Gators’ next offensive frame.

Sophomore LHP Kirby Snead (1.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, K) took over for Puk in the bottom of the eighth inning, and junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Lewis (1.0 IP, H) tied the game up.

Here are three takeaways from Florida’s decisive victory:

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Takeaways: No. 4 Florida Gators baseball routs Florida A&M 19-0 in Gainesville Regional opener

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators baseball wiped the floor with the Florida A&M Rattlers on Friday, using a 19-0 win to propel itself into the winner’s bracket of the Gainesville Regional portion of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Florida took a 1-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back with sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Shore on the mound. Shore has been the victim of a lack of run support at times in the 2015 campaign, but the UF bats were plenty active Friday night at McKethan Stadium.

Eleven different Gators hitters recorded an RBI in Florida’s first NCAA Tournament win since June 10, 2012, snapping a six-game losing streak dating back to the 2012 College World Series.

Here are three takeaways from Florida’s blowout victory:

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Gators softball sweeps Gainesville Regional, No. 1 Florida to host Kentucky in Super Regional

No. 1 Florida Gators softball on Sunday advanced to the Super Regional portion of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, earning a 1-0 eight-inning win over the Florida Atlantic Owls in the final game of the Gainesville Regional.

Senior right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger was tremendous for the Gators throughout the regional round at Pressly Softball Stadium. Haeger not only threw an eight-inning two-hitter on Sunday in the regional finale, she was also responsible for Florida’s game-winning run, smacking an RBI double with two outs in the top of the eighth.

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FOUR BITS: Florida softball earns No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament; Gators in the postseason

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators softball (50-6) earned the top national seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and as such will host the Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, for the 13th consecutive season. Florida will see the Florida A&M Rattlers (18-37), Florida Atlantic Owls (37-17-1) and Hofstra Pride (37-12-1) come to town for the double-elimination tournament, which begins on Friday. The winner of the Gainesville Regional will face the victor from the South Bend Rgional, which features No. 16 Notre Dame, Kentucky, Northwestern and Ball State. The Gators are the defending 2014 NCAA Champions, capturing the first national title in program history.

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Florida infielder Mark Ellis retires from baseball

A 17-year veteran who played for four MLB franchises during his career, 37-year-old second baseman Mark Ellis officially retired from baseball on Tuesday.

Ellis, who primarily played third base for the Florida Gators from 1996-99, was a three-year starter for UF and the Most Valuable Player of the 1998 Gainesville Regional, where he hit .500 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

Ellis had at least one hit in 28 of 31 career postseason games for Florida and holds school records for runs scored in a career (240), most home runs in a single game (three), most stolen bases in an inning (three), most homers from the shortstop position in a single season (14, 1998) and most career doubles in the SEC Tournament (six).

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