SIX BITS: awards, softball, lax, swimming, tennis

1 » There are plenty of spring sports underway right now, and the Florida Gators have gotten off to a fast start earning weekly conference honors. For the second-straight week, senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (softball) won the SEC Pitcher of the Week award; she tossed three shutouts in the last seven days and has a 0.00 ERA with 35 strikeouts through her first 31 innings of the season. Joining her is sophomore shortstop Nolan Fontana (baseball), who picked up the SEC Player of the Week award after going 9-for-12 and scoring five runs in his team’s season-opening series. Also making an impact was sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen (lacrosse), who brought home the first ALC Offensive Player of the Week award in school history. She has scored 14 goals in only three games and tied a school record with six on Sunday alone.

2 » Undefeated going into the weekend, No. 5 Florida softball (9-0) completed a shutout sweep of the No. 22 North Carolina Tar Heels (4-4) from Saturday to Sunday. UF took down UNC 3-0 and 9-0 in two games Saturday and concluded their first three-game homestand of the season with a 10-0 win on Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Brombacher (6-0) tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday and five more on Sunday, only giving up a total of nine hits and two walks over the contests. Freshman P Hannah Rogers (3-0) spelled her in between, allowing only two hits in her five shutout innings.

The Gators hit four home runs on Saturday alone; senior first baseman Megan Bush (4-7, HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB) and junior center fielder Michelle Moultrie (5-7, HR, 2 RBI) connected in the first game, while senior second baseman Aja Paculba (3-8, 3 RBI) and sophomore right fielder Kelsey Horton (1-5, 3 RBI) teed-off in the second contest. Florida’s scoring Sunday came from all over the place with senior left fielder Kelsey Bruder (2-8, 2 RBI, 4 R) leading the way with a homer, two RBI and three runs scored.

3 » Cullen’s six amazing goals on Sunday helped No. 17 Gators lacrosse (2-1) top the No. 20 Denver Pioneers (0-2) 15-7 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. Assisting her was sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns who scored three goals and notched a career-high four assists on her way to seven points and a hat trick.

Read the rest of this SIX BITS post…after the break!
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FOUR BITS: swimming, gymnastics, tennis win

1 » The third day of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Swimming Championships, held at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, was just as eventful for the Florida Gators as the previous two. Senior Conor Dwyer, who had already set three SEC records combined, broke yet another on Friday by swimming the 400-yard individual medley in 3:37.75. Freshman Elizabeth Beisel matched his accomplishment on the women’s side, also breaking the SEC record in the individual medley with a time of 4:00.35. Both competitors, in addition to now owning the top SEC mark in the event, broke the pool and school records in the event. Though both teams are performing well, neither leads their gender’s team category. Saturday is the final day of competition.

2 » Performing in their home finale Friday, No. 1 Florida gymnastics (8-0, 5-0 SEC) remained unbeaten by defeating the No. 22 Auburn Tigers (2-5, 2-4 SEC) 196.850-194.950. The Gators once again swept the event titles with sophomore Marissa King winning the vault (9.95), senior Maranda Smith taking the floor exercise (9.90), freshman Mackenzie Caquatto conquering the uneven bars (9.90) and both Caquatto and freshman Ashanée Dickerson winning the balance beam (9.875).

3 » Competing in the round of 16 at the 2011 ITA National Team Indoor Championships Friday, No. 2 Florida women’s tennis (8-0) defeated the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes (5-1) 4-1. No. 7 sophomore Allie Will, No. 19 junior Joanna Mather and No. 31 freshman Olivia Janowicz all won their singles matches with the No. 30 duo of sophomore Lauren Embree and Mather also taking home a doubles win. The No. 1 doubles pairing of Will and freshman Sofie Oyen did not finish their doubles match (which they led 7-3); No. 36 Embree and No. 40 freshman Alex Cercone were tied in their respective singles matches but also did not finish.

4 » Also victorious in the round of 16 at the ITA Team Indoor Championships on Friday was No. 10 Gators men’s tennis (7-1), which defeated the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal 4-3 and gave head coach Andy Jackson his 400th career victory. Though the No. 15 duo of senior Alexandre Lacroix and junior Nasslim Slilam fell to their No. 11-ranked opponents, No. 9 Lacroix’s three-set 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory over No. 7 Bradley Klahn, the defending NCAA singles champion, clinched the match for Florida. Slilam also lost his singles match, but No. 43 sophomore Sekou Bangoura, Jr. was victorious both on his own and when paired up with freshman Andrew Butz. The Gators will advance to the quarterfinals for the second-straight year.

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FOUR BITS: More Tebow, Tucker, tennis honors

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has been lining up speaking engagements left and right since graduation, and he has recently agreed to be the keynote speaker for Union University’s second annual Roy L. White Legacy Golf and Gala on April 19. Tickets to the event, which will be held at the Carl Perkins Civic Center, are at least $50 per seat. More information can be found here.

2 » Gators sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker has been named to the Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List. The award, which honors the best college baseball player each year, is sponsored by Major League Baseball. Tucker was the 2009 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and earned a triple crown for Florida by leading the team in batting average (.364), runs batted in (85) and home runs (15). His RBI mark set a University of Florida single-season record.

3 » Speaking of Florida baseball, the preseason No. 7-ranked team will open its 2010 season against the South Florida Bulls on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium in the first of a three-game series. The second and third games will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, respectively. The Gators have also earned preseason rankings of No. 9 by two services and No. 10 by another. Baseball finished 42-22 in 2009 and won the SEC East Division title for the first time since 2005.

4 » Sophomore Nassim Slilam and freshman Allie Will were named to the 2010 ITA All-Tournament Team for their performances at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships last week. Slilam and Will each went 3-0 in their respective performances, and Will improved her singles record to a team best 27-3 this season.

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SIX BITS: A.C. Leonard, golf, tennis, b-ball, softball

1 » ESPN has taken to praising 2011 athlete recruit A.C. Leonard (Interlachen, FL), a current Florida Gators commitment. Called “a jack-of-all-trades in high school,” Leonard is projected as a tight end or defensive end in college and worked out extensively at the former position during the Jacksonville, FL, Under Armour combine over the weekend. Leonard continues to impress and remains a solid verbal commitment.

2 » No. 4 Florida men’s golf took home its seventh straight SunTrust Gator Invitational title on Sunday, shooting a team score of 279 (-1) in the final round at the Mark Bostik Golf Course. Up nine strokes going into the final round, the Gators doubled it up and won by 18. Seniors Tyson Alexander and Tim McKenney, along with redshirt junior Andres Echavarria, tied for third place with a total score of 212 (+2).

Four more BITS on tennis, women’s b-ball and softball’s rebound after the jump!
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SIX BITS: Golf, tennis, softball, track, Harrell

1 » After three days of action, the No. 4 Florida Gators men’s golf team led the 33rd annual SunTrust Gator Invitational with a total score of 562 (283-279, +2) after 36 holes at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. Senior Tyson Alexander shot a two-round 141 (71-70, +1), good for a first-place tie going into the final round. That will take place Sunday beginning at 9:10 a.m.

News on tennis, softball, track and former LB James Harrell after the jump!
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TWO BITS: Brombacher’s time, tennis’ victories

1 » Former Florida Gators softball pitcher Stacey Nelson was arguabally the greatest at her position in school history. But while Nelson was dominating opposing batters on the mound, now-junior Stephanie Brombacher was waiting in the wings to become her successor. Brombacher, the team’s No. 2 pitcher for two years, is now primed to lead the Gators, bringing her 42-0 career record with her. “I’m just anxious to get out there and take over the pitching spot and see what I can do with it,” Brombacher told The Gainesville Sun. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to start playing. After that first pitch, my nerves will calm down a little bit.” She hopes to lead Florida back to the Women’s College World Series, where they fell last season to the Washington Huskies in the finals.

2 » Gators men’s and women’s tennis were both in action Friday, and each took down a ranked opponent in their respective ITA National Team Indoor Championship events. The No. 11 men’s team (5-1) defeated the previously undefeated No. 6 Baylor Bears (5-1) 4-2 in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals in Charlottesville, VA. The No. 10-ranked team of redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau and junior Alexandre Lacroix squeaked by with a 9-8 (3) win. Similarly, the No. 4 women’s team (7-0) was victorious over the No. 16 Michigan Wolverines (3-1) 5-2 in their round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals. Florida swept all three doubles matches.

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