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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No. 2/5 Baseball sweeps home series vs. MSU

No. 2/5 Florida Gators baseball opened their Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend, sweeping the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a three game series at McKethan Stadium. Taking down the Bulldogs (11-9, 0-3 SEC) by consecutive scores of 7-2, 5-4 and 4-1, the Gators (16-3, 3-0 SEC) will take on Florida Gulf Coast in the final game of their 11-game homestand before spending about a week on the road.

In the series’ first game, sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (5-0) tossed a career-high 7.1 innings, only allowing four hits and two runs while registering three strikeouts. Florida put together a five-run sixth inning to take a commanding lead, with freshman designated hitter Austin Maddox (2-4) smacking a two-run double and hitting a solo home run. Sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (2-4) continued his hot streak by scoring two runs and homering for this third-straight game.

The following night, the Gators powered their way to victory with a four-run seventh inning rally that included sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson (2-3) stealing home plate and Tucker (2-4, three RBI) hitting a two-run double. Sophomore Nick Maronde (2-0) entered in the seventh and picked up a win in 1.2 innings of work even though junior closer Kevin Chapman (S4) allowed two earned runs (he still recorded the save).

Having already clinched the series, Florida was looking to improve their record on Sunday, and a three-run dinger by Maddox in the eighth inning provided them with the series sweep. Chapman came in to relieve a tired Gators bullpen that suffered through 94 minutes of a rain delay; he threw 2.1 scoreless innings and totaled four strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season.

The weekend’s sweep was the team’s first against Mississippi State since 2002. Florida has matched its season-high five-game winning streak and received an elevation to No. 2 in the nation on Monday.

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No. 6/8 Gators baseball tops No. 5/4 Seminoles 8-5

Squaring off for the second of four times over the course of the season, No. 6/8 Florida Gators baseball (13-3) avenged a 10-5 loss on March 2 in Tampa, FL, taking down the No. 5/4 Florida State Seminoles (13-3) 8-5 at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Freshman starter Hudson Randall was knocked around for five runs in the game’s first two innings with his biggest mistake coming on a three-run home run by FSU outfielder Mike McGee in the top of the first. Florida responded with a two-run shot by junior second baseman Josh Adams in the bottom of the inning, but Randall would give those back in the top of the next frame. He would eventually settle down and pitch two shutout innings before being pulled.

The Gators’ answered back with a run in the third and three more in the fourth to permanently take the lead. Sophomore Nick Mardone (1-0) picked up the win with two hitless innings in relief as junior closer Kevin Chapman (S3) continued his hot streak by grabbing a three-inning save.

The top of Florida’s order – senior OF Matt den Dekker (3-5), Adams (2-4) and sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (2-3) – combined to go 7-12 with seven RBI and four runs. Freshman OF Kamm Washington went 3-3 in the eight hole, scoring every time he stepped on base.

Gators baseball will continue its 11-game home stand with a three-game series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs to open Southeastern Conference play. The series begins Fri., March 19 and continues through the weekend.

Photo Credit: Tricia Coyne/Gainesville Sun

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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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FOUR BITS: Toledo injured, baseball falls & more

1 » No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (11-3) was unsuccessful at completing a sweep of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (6-10) over the weekend, falling 6-3 on Sunday at McKethan Stadium. CSU starter Tyler Thornburg (3-1) tossed a complete game with a career-high 11 strikeouts to put a halt to Florida’s five-game winning streak. Redshirt sophomore starter Tommy Toledo (2-1) left the game in the top of the fourth inning after a line drive from Buccaneers’ first baseman Derek Smith hit him square in the face. Toledo broke numerous facial bones for which he is undergoing surgery.

2 » After splitting a doubleheader, No. 4/11 Florida softball (18-3, 2-1 SEC) picked up the rubber match with a 5-3 win over the Ole Miss Rebels (16-10, 3-2 SEC) on Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior Stephanie Brombacher (14-3) picked up the win with five strikeouts over five innings, and junior first baseman Megan Bush led the Gators going 2-2 with a run and three RBI. Freshman Ensley Gammel earned her first career save, and junior second baseman Aja Pachulba went 2-4 with two RBI.

3 » No. 7 men’s tennis (12-2, 4-0 SEC) and No. 5 women’s tennis (14-2, 4-0 SEC) were both victorious Sunday against the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-8, 1-3 SEC) and (6-7, 0-4 SEC), defeating them respectively 6-1 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex and 4-0 on the road at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The No. 16-ranked men’s doubles pair of redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau and Alexandre Lacroix continued their great season with an 8-3 win, and No. 6 Lacroix won his singles match 6-5, 5-6, 3-3 (ret.). On the women’s side, the No. 6 duo of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will won 9-7, while No. 11 Will (6-0, 6-1) and No. 15-ranked freshman Lauren Embree (6-2, 6-2) cruised to singles victories.

4 » Gators soccer announced Monday that 11 players have committed to the program for the 2010 fall season. For a full list of the commitments, you can visit GatorZone.

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FOUR BITS: Meyer, baseball, softball, lacrosse

1 » Participating in a charity golf tournament over the weekend for former Florida Gators fullback Darryl Perry, head coach Urban Meyer left a strong impression on his colleagues about his health and his thoughts on the future of his former quarterback, Tim Tebow. “I feel good and I’m ready to go,” Meyer told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel about his health. As to Tebow: “I think there’s too much emphasis on [workouts and the combine],” he said. “Think about it: he’s the leading passer in the history of SEC, won 22-straight games and has won two national titles and the Heisman [Trophy], and some people are saying, ‘I wonder if he can play in the pros.’” For what it’s worth, former Gators defensive end Jack Youngblood (a friend of Meyer’s) added his feelings on the coach’s health. “Urban can’t wait to get back out there and coach,” he said.

2 » In the second game of a three-game weekend series. No. 6/7 Florida baseball (11-2) defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers 16-10 on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The Gators powered their way to a six-run sixth inning, which led them to victory. Sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (3-6, two runs) earned a season-high five RBI, freshman designated hitter Austin Maddox was 4-6 with two runs, junior third baseman Bryson Smith (2-4) nabbed two RBI and three runs and freshman catcher Mike Zunino (1-4) drove in a career-high four runs. In relief, sophomore Justin Poovey (1-0) allowed only one run over 2.1 innings for the victory, and senior Jeff Barfield tossed two scoreless innings for the save.

3 » Looking to make an impact in its first Southeastern Conference doubleheader of the season, the No. 4/11 Gators softball team (17-3, 1-1 SEC) split a series with the Ole Miss Rebels (16-9, 3-1 SEC) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. In the first game, Florida earned a 12-2 victory in five innings before falling 6-4 in an eight-inning second game. Junior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (4-5) led the team with four RBI, three runs, a home run and two walks in the series. The Gators picked up their first home loss in quite some time (27 straight wins), as junior starter Stephanie Brombacher (13-3) earned a win and a loss in each respective game. She totaled nine strikeouts.

4 » Still looking to gain footing in their inaugural season, Florida lacrosse (3-3, 0-1 ALC) fell to Johns Hopkins (4-3, 1-0 ALC) on the road in their first conference game. Freshman midfielder Kitty Cullen scored three goals in the contest. The Gators return to Gainesville, FL, for a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday against Marist.

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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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Florida baseball sweeps Illinois State 8-2, 8-0

No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (9-2) has completed a two-game sweep of the Illinois State Redbirds (4-7), defeating them 8-2 and 8-0 on Tuesday and Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Read more about Florida baseball’s sweep of Illinois State after the break!

On Tuesday, freshman starter Hudson Randall (2-0) tossed five innings of one-run ball along with five strikeouts as the Gators carried a 8-1 lead into the top of the eighth inning. Freshman first baseman Austin Maddox went 1-4 with a three-run home run in the sixth and two runs, while sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson supported him with a 2-4 performance with two RBI.

Freshman OF Kamm Washington was 3-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases; Florida totalled a season-high nine swiped bags on the evening.

The Gators continued their domination of the Redbirds Wednesday, with Maddox remaining on his power surge. He drove in a career-high six runs on a 4-5 performance with his first career grand slam in the sixth inning.

Sophomore pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (1-1) registered the win after giving up only one hit in 5.1 innings with a season-high six strikeouts. The game marked Florida’s first shutout since Feb. 24, 2009 against Eastern Michigan (12-0).

The Gators remain home for eight more games and will begin a three-game series with Charleston Southern on Fri., March 12.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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