Miscues, pitching doom UF in 11-3 loss to UCLA

Two of only four ranked teams participating in the 2010 NCAA College World Series, the No. 3 Florida Gators (47-16) fell 11-3 in the opening round of the event at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE, to the No. 6 UCLA Bruins (49-14).

What was expected to be a pitching duel turned into a one-sided affair as UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (11-3) struck out 11 Florida batters over seven innings. Gators sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (11-3) gave up four earned runs in 3.1 short innings after hitting the first two Bruins batters he faced.

Miscues doomed Florida Friday night; the team compiled four hit batters, four wild pitches, a passed ball and an error throughout the course of the game. Every Gators reliever – including freshman Steven Rodriguez (0.2 innings, two earned runs), senior Jeff Barfield (2.0 innings, one earned run), junior Matt Campbell (2.0 innings, two earned runs) and sophomore Tommy Toledo (1.0 inning, one earned run) – was hit hard and often (13 hits combined).

Shortstop Niko Gallego (4-5, two runs), outfielder Beau Amaral (3-4, one RBI), third baseman Dean Espy (3-6, two RBI) and catcher Steve Rodriguez (2-4, two RBI) led the way for UCLA offensively.

Freshman designated hitter Brian Johnson (1-4) hit a two-RBI double in the first inning to put the Gators on the board, and a solo home run from junior second baseman Josh Adams (1-3) in the fourth provided the only other score of the evening.

Florida hopes to rebound in its elimination game Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against in-state rival Florida State. The game will air live on ESPN and ESPN3.

OGGOA Highlight: Matt den Dekker’s amazing Willie Mays-like catch

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Photo Credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald

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TWO BITS: Gators in MLB Draft, Tebow vs. Rivers

1 » As they await their opponent for the 2010 NCAA Super Regional likely to be hosted at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL, members of the No. 4 Florida Gators baseball team are on notice as the three-day 2010 MLB Draft begins Monday night at 7 p.m. Seniors outfielder Matt den Dekker and closer Kevin Chapman will likely be selected somewhat early in the process, especially considering it can go up to 50 rounds. Also poised to be picked at some point are seniors pitcher Jeff Barfield and outfielder Jonathan Pigott, junior second baseman Josh Adams, and redshirt sophomore pitchers Tommy Toledo and Justin Poovey. There are four other seniors on the Gators’ roster whose names could potentially be called. Unlike football and basketball, being eligible for or selected in the draft as an underclassman does not ruin eligibility; said player is not forced to hire an agent, sign a contract or leave school.

2 » Denver Post columnist Mike Klis took a different perspective on Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels’ decision to draft former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, saying he may be just what the team needs to finally equal or surpass the San Diego Chargers and their signal caller, Phillip Rivers. Here is an excerpt from Klis’ piece:

In Tebow, McDaniels believes he has a quarterback who can eventually match Rivers. Maybe not pass per pass, but play per play.

It’s too much to expect Tebow to keep up with Rivers this season. But maybe by 2011, Tebow can stare down Rivers and mix in 190 yards passing with a touchdown and 55 yards rushing with another touchdown. There’s the offset to the typical Rivers game against the Broncos.

Before he can beat Rivers, though, Tebow has to win over his locker room.

“When you earn respect from people, then they begin to like you, and then they believe in you, and then they begin to love you, and then you have a team that is united and cares about each other more than anything else,” Tebow said in a backroom session with The Denver Post. “And then you go out there and you play for each other, you play for your coaches and you win championships.”

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Gators take SEC lead, edge Gamecocks 3-2

Opening a three-game series that will ultimately decide the 2010 Southeastern Conference regular season champion, the No. 4/5 Florida Gators (39-12, 21-7 SEC) delivered the first blow by squeaking out a 3-2 win over the No. 6/7 South Carolina Gamecocks (42-12, 20-8 SEC) Thursday night on the road at Carolina Stadium.

Junior closer Kevin Chapman helped the Gators maintain a 3-2 lead, tossing two scoreless innings with two strikeouts without giving up a single hit for his ninth save of the season. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis was pulled after giving up a run in 3.1 innings, only to have Jeff Barfield go on to give up another in his 2.2 innings of relief. Barfield (4-0) would end up the winning pitcher with the Gamecocks’ Blake Cooper (10-1) earning his first loss of the season after allowing three runs in 6.2 innings.

At a scoreless tie heading into the top of the third inning, the Gators opened up the game when sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson (1-3) hit a lead-off home run to right field. With two outs in the inning, a rally was put together that would eventually score sophomore OF Daniel Pigott (3-5), who got on base with a double.

Florida added to their lead in the fourth. Senior OF Matt den Dekker (1-4) singled to start off the inning and would eventually score on a ground out RBI by junior second baseman Josh Adams (0-4). UF would hold on from there, though they did allow South Carolina to add a run in both the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings.

The action continues Friday evening at 7 p.m. as Gators freshman Hudson Randall (6-3, 2.96 ERA) goes up against Gamecocks junior Sam Dyson (5-4, 3.79 ERA). Should Florida win, they would clinch their first SEC title since 2005.

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TWO BITS: Toledo returns to mound in UF win

1 » No. 4/6 Florida Gators baseball (34-12) topped the Florida Atlantic Owls (31-19) 7-3 Wednesday night, but the story of the game was the return of sophomore pitcher Tommy Toledo from a serious injury sustained on March 14. Toledo, who broke facial bones after taking a line drive off the face two months ago, tossed a scoreless inning without trepidation. Senior Jeff Barfield (3-0) got the win after four innings of work as the Gators added three home runs behind him from freshman shortstop Nick Fontana (2-3, three runs), senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (1-3, two RBI) and freshman third baseman Austin Maddox (1-4, two RBI). Maddox’s blast tied Florida’s single-season record for homers by a freshman (16).

2 » The Gainesville Sun’s reigning two-time golfer of the year, J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, FL), has committed to join the Gators’ 2011 recruiting class, according to the paper. The 10th-ranked golfer in the nation, Tomlinson can officially sign with Florida on Nov. 10. “It is amazing, I have grown up wanting to play golf at the University of Florida and I had worked really hard to make that happen,” he told the Sun. “I am really glad my hard work has paid off.”

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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.

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FOUR BITS: Demps is fast, Andrews’ death threats

1 » Florida Gators freshman sprinter and junior running back Jeff Demps is fast. So fast, in fact, that the 10.11-second 100-meter dash he ran at the 66th Pepsi Florida Relays on Friday afternoon at Percy Beard Track is the fastest run in the world so far in 2010 (and it is not even the best time he has run in his life – 10.01 in high school. Demps won the 60-meter dash national title at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships and is hoping to add more titles to his resume in the outdoor season.

2 » ESPN sideline reporter and former Florida dazzler Erin Andrews, who is currently a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, has been the subject of death threats since the end of March, according to CNN. Andrews’ attorney, Marshall B. Grossman, says that radio talk show host Dan Patrick has been sent several threatening e-mails about Andrews beginning in September. The e-mails “were of a sexual nature but then turned violent” recently, according to Grossman. The FBI is already on the case and has identified the sender of the e-mails, per the Los Angeles Times.

Two more BITS on…No. 8/11 baseball, No. 3 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis all defeating Vanderbilt on Friday. Read more about these results…after the jump!

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Demps is fast, Andrews’ death threats

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Andrews, baseball, softball, lax

1 » Between critics, supporters and analysts, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow always has plenty of people talking about him. You can add former USC Trojans safety Taylor Mays to that list. Mays – who has grown close with Tebow after appearances at college football awards shows, 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl and 2010 NFL Scouting Combinegot defensive when asked about his new friend’s ability to transition to the NFL. “I don’t understand it. He did everything right,” Mays said. “It’s not like everybody thought he was going to be the first quarterback taken, so I don’t understand why they’re killing him like that. You’re looking at one of the most established players in college football, ever. Ever! All these people they’re talking about don’t have half the credentials he does.”

2 » While Mays was defensive, New England sports writer Tom Curran went on the offensive against Tebow Wednesday. Curran opines that Tebow’s very public meeting with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is out of character for the team and was perhaps done in order to boost Tebow’s 2010 NFL Draft stock and, in some way, help out his friend and Gators head coach Urban Meyer. Side note: Tebow spent two days in Boston; he was not just there for a dinner. Curran also questions what Tebow is as a person. “I mean, how do we know the kid’s a virgin? He talks about it. And just as it’s his right to talk about it, it’s the right of observers to wonder what the motivations for doing so are,” Curran wrote. “Is he a football player? A spokesman? A vessel of the Lord? A well-crafted public relations creation? All of the above?”

Four more BITS on Erin Andrews’ ESPN contract and future as well as results from baseball, softball and lacrosse…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Andrews, baseball, softball, lax

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FOUR BITS: Smith & Perry, baseball, WNIT berth

1 » As OGGOA reported via Twitter over the weekend, former Florida Gators and NFL star running back Emmitt Smith has announced that he asked Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to induct him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, Smith was not worrying about his acceptance speech over the weekend, as he teamed with other former Gators and celebrities including head coach Urban Meyer to raise money for his former fullback and still close friend Darryl Perry‘s charity – Miracle of Life Foundation. “Darryl led me back then and he leads me now,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “Except now he leads me with his heart.”

2 » After postponing a series last week due to inclimate weather, No. 6/7 Florida baseball (12-3) snuck a game against Army Black Knights (5-4) into the schedule Monday night. Playing at home at McKethan Stadium, the Gators earned a 9-3 victory as sophomore starter Anthony DeSclafani tossed a season-high 5.2 innings. Sophomore designated hitter Preston Tucker went 1-5 with his first home run of the season and three RBI, while freshman first baseman Austin Maddox (2-5) drove in two runs and senior reliever Jeff Barfield (S2) picked up the save on 3.1 innings of work.

3 » Shut out of the NCAA Tournament after posting a 14-16 record on the season, the Gators women’s basketball team has been invited to compete in the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Florida will host first-round action, facing the South Florida Bulls (15-15) on Thursday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Bulls are defending WNIT champions, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 75-71 in the 2009 event.

4 » Former Ball State Cardinals head volleyball coach Dave Boos has been named assistant coach of Gators volleyball , head coach Mary Wise announced to the press on Monday. “I am very excited to join the Gator volleyball family,” Boos said in a release. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach with and against Coach Wise during my career and have the utmost respect for her and how she has built Florida volleyball. I am looking forward to working with one of the top coaching staffs in the country and assisting in the guidance of a tremendous group of student-athletes.”

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