FOUR BITS: Softball up one, doubles falls, track

1 » No. 4 Florida Gators softball (47-8) began its quest for a berth in the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series with an 8-0 shutout of the No. 13 Arizona State Sun Devils (44-16) while hosting the Gainesville Super Regional on Saturday night at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior starter Stephanie Brombacher (33-6) has been dynamite in the postseason; she recorded her 11th shutout of the year, pitching a complete game and only yielding four hits. Junior outfielder Kelsey Bruder (2-3) and senior third baseman Corrie Brooks (2-2) each led the Gators with three RBI, while freshman designated player Brittany Schutte (2-3) added two. Florida hopes to conclude Super Regional action by prevailing in the second game, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

2 » The Gators’ No. 5 doubles pair of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will was eliminated from competition for the 2010 NCAA National Championship Saturday, falling 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 to Tennessee’s No. 1 duo of Natalie Pluskota and Caitlin Whoriskey at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA. Florida tennis – both men’s and women’s – has now been completely removed from NCAA competition for this season.

Find out which Gators qualified for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships and what sport Georgia is going after Florida in…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Softball up one, doubles falls, track

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SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

1 » Faced with elimination, top-seeded No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (41-4) rode past the No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (40-18) 5-4 in the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday at Regions Park in Hoover, AL. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (9-2) picked up the win, tossing 6.2 innings, striking out five and giving up three earned runs. Junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his 11th save of the season, though he did give up a run in the ninth and final inning of the game. Freshman third baseman Austin Maddox (2-4) led the way with two RBI, and freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (2-3) scored two runs. Florida will face Vanderbilt (41-16) in the second elimination game of the tournament Friday evening, airing live at ESPN3.com.

2 » Still making touchdowns – but now for the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL – former Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker was faced with an injury scare Saturday night in a 46-44 win over the Cleveland Gladiators. “I thought I tore something,” Baker told The Florida Times-Union. Instead Baker, who scored twice during the game before falling to the turf, suffered a sprain according to an MRI exam after the game. He is second on the team this season with 416 yards and nine touchdowns in five games played.

Four more BITS on track & field qualifiers, tennis’ NCAA wins and losses and a Gator winning Rookie of the Year…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

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No. 3 Florida Gators men’s track & field captures 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship

No. 3 Florida Gators men’s track & field won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship on Sunday, the team’s first since 1987, by scoring 124 total team points at Tom Black Track in Knoxville, TN. The victory marks men’s track & field’s second major title this year – the team won the 2010 NCAA Indoor National Championship (the first in program history) back on March 14.

Florida’s four individual event titles propelled them to the SEC Championship victory. Sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps captured the 100-meter dash, sophomore Gray Horn defended his 2009 SEC Championship in the decathalon, sophomore Christian Taylor took home the triple jump and the four-man team of Taylor, senior R.J. Anderson, senior Calvin Smith and freshman Tony McQuay won the 4×400-meter relay.

Demps became the Gators’ first SEC Champion in the men’s 100-meter dash since 2000, while Taylor carried the same honor in men’s triple jump for the first time since 1976. Horn’s decathalon score of 7,652 was a career-high and second-best in school history. He is the ninth person in conference history to win the title back-to-back and first since 1974. Horn is also the only Florida track & field athlete to win an SEC decathalon title.

Florida’s No. 10 women’s team, which finished second in their respective event to the No. 2 LSU Tigers (which won their third SEC Championship in the last four years), posted a total team score of 107.5 points. Like the men, the women raked in the individual titles and captured five all-together.

Senior distance runner Charlotte Browning defended her 2009 SEC Championship in the 1,500-meter run, senior Mariam Kevkhishvili won the shot put, senior Evelin Dekkers took home the javelin event and senior Shara Proctor was victorious in both the long jump and triple jump.

Browning’s 1,500-meter run time of 4:13.96 was her career-best and the second-fastest time in school history. Even more impressive were the victories by Kevkhishvili in the shot put and Proctor in the triple jump – each woman won the SEC title for her third time in her respective event.

The Gators will now close the season beginning May 27-29 with the NCAA East Preliminary Round, which can earn them a berth in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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FOUR BITS: Baseball’s wins, tennis, Horn, Proctor

1 » No. 4/5 Florida Gators baseball (36-12, 19-7 SEC) took a pair of 4-3 victories from the Georgia Bulldogs (14-35, 3-21 SEC) over the weekend in their final home series at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL for the 2010 season. Friday night, freshman catcher Mike Zunino won the game for the Gators with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore Alex Panteliodis earned the start but was pulled after giving up three earned run in five innings; classmate Greg Larson (3-1) came on to finish out the game, shutting the Bulldogs out the rest of the way while striking out three. Freshman designated hitter Brian Johnson (2-4) pulled in an RBI to go along with the two Zunino added over the course of the evening.

2 » Looking to capitalize Saturday, Florida won in similar fashion. Sophomore catcher Ben McMahan led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to break the 3-3 tie and help his team edge Georgia. Sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (2-4, one run) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (1-4, two runs, RBI) led the way for the Gators offensively, with junior Kevin Chapman (3-0) picking up the relief win in 1.2 innings of work. Freshman Hudson Randall started the game, tossing 5.2 solid innings with five strikeouts and two earned runs.

Florida is tied with South Carolina atop the Southeastern Conference standings but has two more games to play (Sun. vs. Georgia, Tues. vs. North Florida) before traveling to Columbia, SC, for a three-game SEC-deciding series to close the regular season.

3 » Like it’s women’s counterpart, No. 6 men’s tennis (20-4) – which also holds the sixth seed in the event – swept the South Carolina State Huskies (11-11) 4-0 in first-round action in the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL, on Saturday. The No. 8 doubles pair of junior Alexandre Lacroix and redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau took their doubles match; No. 7 Lacroix also won his singles contest, as did Benneteau and the rest of UF’s squad. Second-round action continues Sunday.

4 » Gators sophomore decathlete Gray Horn and senior jumper Shara Proctor each defended their titles, taking home the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championships in the decathalon and long jump, respectively. Competing at Tom Black Track in Knoxville, TN, Horn turned in a career-high 7,652 – the second-best decathalon score in UF history. He is the ninth person in conference history to win the title back-to-back and first since 1974. Horn is also the only Florida track & field athlete to win an SEC decathalon title. Similarly, Proctor won her second-straight title on the same track and became just the sixth multiple winner of the event with a victorious jump of 6.69m/21-11.50 (+1.4) – the best of her college career.

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FOUR BITS: Baker, The Bowerman, Tebow, Nike

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker, most recently waived/injured by the NFL‘s Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 6, 2009, has signed on with the Jacksonville Sharks of the newly revamped AFL. The Sharks are one of two new franchises being introduced to the league this year, and Baker joins fellow Gators cornerback Dee Webb on the team. The Sharks are 1-0 already this season with a 54-38 victory over the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz last week.

2 » Each year, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association hands out The Bowerman award which recognizes the most outstanding collegiate men’s and women’s track & field athlete. Three current Florida student-athletes are on The Bowerman’s watch list as of April 7: women’s senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili, men’s freshman sprinter Jeff Demps (new addition) and men’s sophomore jumper Christian Taylor. The Gators also boast women’s senior jumper Shara Proctor and women’s junior/senior distance runner Charlotte Browning as honorable mentions at this time. The award will not be handed out until December.

3 » Sourcing NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt, Jerry McDoanld of InsideBayArea.com says the Oakland Raiders have a high level of interest in former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. According to Brandt’s story, Tebow was asked by the Raiders’ coaching staff to break down a play. He replied, “This is how it’s called with Florida, this is how it’s called with your organization and this is how it’s called with West coast teams.” Brandt went on to say, “I think that when you get a quarterback and he reacts that quickly, you know that the guy is not only pretty smart, but he does have that mental quickness to adjust very fast.”

4 » Apparel and shoe company Nike has officially announced its partnership with Tebow. Click the link below to read the full press release.
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baker, The Bowerman, Tebow, Nike

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Florida Gators set to hold second Pro Scout Day

The Florida Gators will host their second Pro Scout Day for football players who have decided to enter the 2010 NFL Draft on Wed., April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Though more than 15 players – including quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez – participated in the first Pro Day on March 17, only a handful will be present to work out for NFL team representatives this time.

Among those who will make themselves available for evaluation, according to CBS Sports, are defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis, kick returner Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.

Cunningham was unable to participate the first time around due to an injured shoulder, but teams are interested in taking a look at him in order to determine whether he would fit best as a 4-3 DE or perhaps even an outside linebacker in the 3-4.

The Swamp will once again be open and fans can enter through Gate 2. However, unless the University of Florida states otherwise, do not expect concession stands (or perhaps even restrooms) to be open or any other special things to be done on-site.

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FOUR BITS: Top 100, bracketology, SEC loss, track

1 » ESPN college football analyst Joe Schad took some time out to compile a 2010 Top 100 College Football Stars list featuring names you need to know going into next season. Among his 100, Schad listed four Florida Gators: redshirt sophomore quarterback John Brantley (19), freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (54), sophomore cornerback Janoris Jenkins (77) and redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey (88). Brantley was his eighth of 29 QBs, Debose was his eighth of 15 WRs, Jenkins was seventh of 10 DBs and Rainey was 19th of 21 RBs.

2 » Also from ESPN, bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has released his latest edition, and Florida remains a part of the projection. Lunardi has the Gators even after a close home loss to the No. 13/19 Vanderbilt Commodores Tuesday. He lists Florida as a No. 11 seed squaring off against the No. 6-seed Baylor Bears in first-round action in Buffalo, NY.

3 » Competing in 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament first-round action Thursday, the No. 7-seed Gators women’s basketball team (14-16) fell 74-61 to the No. 10-seed Auburn Tigers (15-15). Senior guard Steffi Sorensen led the team with 14 points (12 in the first half), while senior forward Sharielle Smith contributed 11 points.

4 » Three members of Florida’s women’s track and field team were awarded end-of-season honors from the SEC Thursday. Head coach Mike Holloway was named Women’s Coach of the Year, senior jumper Shara Proctor won Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and sprinter Lanie Whittaker shared Women’s Freshman Runner of the Year. The ladies won the 2010 SEC Indoor Championship on Feb. 28.

Bubble Watch » Richmond (23-7), which beat the Gators 56-53 on Dec. 19, took down Dayton (19-10) 60-56. Dayton was on bubble and is now considered out of the running.

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SIX BITS: SEC titles, softball sweep, gymnastics

1 » No. 3 Florida Gators women’s track and field won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championship Sunday, its first since the 2004 season. Scoring 110 total points, the team was led by junior Charlotte Browning and senior Shara Proctor, who were named co-winners of the Cliff Harper Trophy for the SEC’s high-points scorer. The men’s team finished second at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, AR, as the home team Arkansas Razorbacks beat them out for the men’s crown 123-119. Both the women’s and men’s teams also captured numerous individual SEC titles over the weekend.

2 » No. 3/11 Gators softball (12-1) swept the Northwestern State Lady Demons (8-5) 15-0, 5-0 and 10-1 over the weekend at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Sophomore outfielder Michelle Moultrie powered Florida’s offense by going 5-8 (.625) with a double, triple, home run and six RBI, while junior OF Kelsey Bruder joined her with similar 5-8 performance for four runs, two homers, six RBI and 11 total bases. Junior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (10-1) won each game of the series, striking out a combined 13 and only allowing three walks.

Read four more BITS on gymnastics, lacrosse, men’s tennis and Senior Day…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: SEC titles, softball sweep, gymnastics

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