Takeaways: Florida Gators baseball looks to make a move as postseason approaches

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 9 Florida Gators baseball (36-13, 15-9 SEC) went 3-1 in its recent four-game stretch against the Georgia Bulldogs and South Florida Bulls.

On paper, it should have been an easy sweep for the Gators, but the Bulldogs (22-25, 7-16 SEC) put up a fight until the final out. UGA shocked UF with an 11-1 upset win in the Friday’s opener. Runs were scarce in game two, but Florida managed to edge Georgia 3-2 and even the series. In Sunday’s finale, sophomore right fielder Ryan Larson hit a three-run double that lifted the Gators to a 7-4 victory for the series win. UF then topped USF 5-1 Tuesday night in Gainesville to close out the nonconference schedule.

Here are five takeaways from the past week of Florida baseball:

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Fastbreak: Georgia rocks Florida 73-61 in Athens

By Jordan McPherseon – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Florida Gators basketball dropped its first Southeastern Conference game of the season on Saturday afternoon, falling 73-61 to the Georgia Bulldogs at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. Florida (10-7, 3-1 SEC) struggled out of the gate as Georgia took a lead that it never relinquished over the course of the 40 minutes.

“I think the performance says it all. I don’t want to take anything away from Georgia. … In a lot of ways, I was actually surprised it was as close as it was. It felt like they outplayed us in every facet,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “It was a disappointing response coming off a quick turnaround.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: The Bulldogs extended their lead to 15 points (59-44) on a Kenny Gaines three-pointer with 7:56 left to play. That basket helped UGA regain its largest lead of the contest just minutes after UF cut its large deficit to two points.

Significant stretch: The Gators cut their game-long deficit to two early in the second half but suffered from their own miscues, committing four turnovers that allowed an 10-1 Bulldogs run, pushing Georgia ahead of Florida 56-41 with 11 minutes left. UF turned it over seven times during an extended stretch as UGA went 6-for-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.

“For me, this game is a microcosm of our team. This would be a great example of what I watch in practice. This is what I watch,” Donovan said.

“The hardest thing for young players, in my opinion, is to be consistent day in and day out, day in and day out. A lot of that comes with maturity. We’ve showed moments this year with great, brilliant flashes … we’ve shown great signs. But here’s an example of inconsistency. We’re just very, very inconsistent. It is, for a lot of these guys, very mentally overwhelming and draining to come every day and be able to have the focus and attention to detail and be consistent. I’m concerned every game. There’s not a game I go into and sit there and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fine.’”

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs; Donovan still wanting more from Frazier, Hill

Location: Stegeman Coliseum – Augusta, Georgia [Capacity: 10,523]
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

TV: CBS (Andre Catalon, Clark Kellogg)
Streaming Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app

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

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 10-6 (3-0 SEC) Record: 10-5 (1-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: -2


» Florida leads the all-time series over Georgia 109-99 with a 26-10 record against its rival under Donovan’s leadership. UF is 10-7 under Donovan when playing UGA in Athens.
» The Gators were 86-10 over the last three seasons when holding opponents under 71 points in a game; UF is 9-5 this season when doing so.
» Florida has put forward 10 different starting lineups in 16 regular-season games. Overall, 10 players have started at least one game for UF this season.
» The Gators learned to win close games last season, going 15-2 in contests decided by single digits; Florida is 3-5 in such affairs this season.
» UF is on pace for 19.4 wins in the regular season while looking for its 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins is the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14+ consecutive seasons.
» Earlier this season, Miami snapped Florida’s program-record 33-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 11, 2012, and was the second-longest in the nation. The Canes also broke the Gators’ school-record 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, which dated back to Dec. 22, 2010.
» Florida is on three program-record regular-season winning streaks – 21-straight games against SEC opponents overall (since Jan. 8, 2014) and 20-straight SEC games at home (since Jan. 9, 2013). UF has also won a school-record 10-in-a-row over SEC opponents on the road (since Jan. 11, 2014).

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C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

During the Florida Gators‘s weekly Monday afternoon media availability, redshirt senior center Max Garcia got emotional and shed some tears while discussing redshirt senior wide receiver Michael McNeely, whose fake field goal touchdown swung the momentum in his team’s favor on Saturday against the rival Georgia Bulldogs.

McNeely, a walk-on who was expected to play at wideout in 2013 had it not been for an injury, received a scholarship from head coach Will Muschamp ahead of the 2014 season and has seen action mostly on special teams this year.

On Saturday, McNeely entered the game as a holder and turned a 39-yard field goal attempt into a 21-yard rushing touchdown, picking up the snap and running past some superior blocking into the end zone.

Garcia discussed the play – and more importantly, the player – on Monday.

Continue Reading » C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

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Muschamp disagrees with Tebow, says Florida Gators have leaders on offense

In his new role as a college football analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow not only needs to be honest but also unbiased. Certainly Tebow will lean toward Florida on many issues – and be summoned when a strong opinion on the Gators is needed – but he has also gone out of his way to do his homework and be as credible a voice as possible in his first year on the job.

Over the last few weeks, during appearances on ESPN, the SEC Network and Jacksonville, Florida, radio station 1010 XL, Tebow has opined plenty about Florida and the situation the program found itself in entering the Georgia game.

He asked fans to stop booing the Gators, discussed how Florida got to the situation it was in two weeks ago following consecutive home losses to unranked Southeastern Conference opponents, and even offered some advice for freshman QB Treon Harris, who started against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and ultimately helped lead the Gators to a 38-20 upset victory.

During some of these media hits, including on the SEC Network pre-game Saturday show SEC Nation, Tebow explained what he thought what was wrong with the Gators’ offense.

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Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

A 38-20 win over the then-No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), which was more dominant than the score indicates, has given the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) and head coach Will Muschamp new life.

Muschamp met with the media after the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday to discuss Florida breaking its three-game losing streak at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Gators hoping to turn a page this season.


» Despite the Gators’ victory, the Bulldogs still hold a 49-41-2 all-time advantage over their border rivals in the Florida-Georgia game. UGA also leads 43-38-1 for games played in Jacksonville. UF, however, is 19-6 against its rival since 1990.
» By locking up a victory, the Gators avoided four-straight losses to the Bulldogs, which would’ve occurred for the first time since dropping six in a row from 1978-83.
» It was the third time in the series that an unranked UF defeated a ranked UGA.
» Florida was an 11.5-point underdog entering the game despite Georgia not winning a game in the series by more than eight points since 1997.
» The victory ensured that UF’s senior class would not be the first since 1983 to go winless against UGA in their collegiate careers.
» Muschamp won his first-ever Florida-Georgia game after going 0-4 as a UGA player and starting 0-3 as a UF coach.
» The Gators had lost six-straight games against top 25 opponents before defeating the Bulldogs. UF is now 5-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» This was just Florida’s third game this season not decided by six points or fewer.
» The Gators (blue) and Bulldogs (red) each wore their respective team-color jersey. It is the first time this happened in the Florida-Georgia game since 1970.
» Treon Harris was the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for UF since 2011 (Jacoby Brissett) and the first to start a Florida-Georgia game since 2003 (Chris Leak).
» Running backs junior Matt Jones (192 yards) and sophomore Kelvin Taylor (197 yards) each set career-highs on Saturday. The rushers also had two touchdowns apiece.
» It was the first time in school history that UF had two backs each eclipse 120 yards in the same game.
» It was the first time since 2011 (Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey) that the Gators had two running backs eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
» The 418 rushing yards on Saturday were a season-high for the Gators (most since 1989) and most allowed by the Bulldogs since 1978 (second-most ever). Florida also had three runs (65 yards, 44 yards [twice]) that were the longest given up by Georgia this season. UF’s 418 rushing yards were also the most by a Muschamp team (second time over 400 in a single game).
» The Gators are 5-0 under Muschamp when rushing 50+ times and 9-0 when scoring three or more rushing touchdowns in a game.
» Florida only completed three passes in the game, its fewest in records dating back to 1996 (UF is 6-5 in 11 games with 10 or fewer completions).

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While not perfect, a good-enough day for Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp

Every few moments while the clock was ticking down on Saturday, between hugs and smiles on the sideline, the expression on the face of Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp visibly changed. As excited he was to win his first Florida-Georgia rivalry game in eight tries (four as a Bulldogs player, four as the Gators’ coach), as revealed as he felt to not have to worry about his job status on Sunday, Muschamp knew deep down that something was missing from his team’s 38-20 victory.

“I’m just really happy,” he said in his post-game press conference. “I wish my father was here; that’s what I thought about late in the game.”

Larry Muschamp, who passed away in May, would have been proud of Will and his Florida football team on Saturday afternoon.

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Twitter Chatter: Former Gators comment as Florida dominates Georgia 38-20

In a new feature here on OnlyGators.com, we take a look at what former and current Florida Gators players had to say on social media during and after the game.

Florida (4-3, 3-3 SEC) ran through the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC) on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The Gators totaled 418 yards rushing on their way to a rousing 38-20 victory over the Bulldogs, snapping a three-game losing streak in the series. The victory was also head coach Will Muschamp‘s first in the rivalry game; he was 0-4 as a UGA player and began 0-3 as UF coach.

Check out all of the tweets…after the break!

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