FOUR BITS: David Lee, baseball, softball, lacrosse

1 » Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee, now in the middle of an excellent career in the NBA with the New York Knicks, scored a season-high 37 points along with 20 rebounds and 10 assists Friday night for his first career triple-double. Though New York fell to the Golden State Warriors on the road, Lee made NBA history by becoming the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to go 30-20-10 in points, rebounds and assists, respectively. Lee will be a free agent this summer, and it appears unlikely that he will return to the Knicks due to their decision to go after “bigger” names.

2 » Following a victory in their first game of the series, No. 8/11 Gators baseball (20-6, 6-2 SEC) clinched its weekend series against the No. 20/17 Vanderbilt Commodores (23-6, 4-4 SEC) with a 7-3 win Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Freshman starter Brian Johnson (3-1) controlled the entire game, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball while going 3-3 from the plate with a run. Senior outfielder Matt den Dekker went 2-4 with two runs, and sophomore OF Daniel Pigott nabbed three RBI with a two-run homer in the second inning. Game three of the series is currently underway (as of press time).

Read about softball’s doubleheader and lacrosse’s landmark victory after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: David Lee, baseball, softball, lacrosse

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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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SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

1 » Five-star 2011 guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) looked to be heading anywhere but the University of Florida, after a report surfaced last week that the Florida Gators have decided to stop pursuing him and move on. Whether you believe that to be the case or you think Knight has already made up his mind to play for the Kentucky Wildcats is no matter – Knight has told The Miami Herald that he has not made a decision yet. “I still have an offer [from Florida],” Knight said. “They’re not not recruiting me. They’re just trying to make sure they get a point guard before the signing period is over. […] I don’t feel anything wrong with [that decision]. It’s smart. As a head coach, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket and not end up with anything. They just don’t feel as strongly as they did before. Since they’re the hometown school, they thought I would have signed early or something of that nature. I’m not exactly sure.”

2 » Though Gators men’s swimming failed to match the women’s team with a 2010 National Championship, the team did finish in fifth at this year’s event and is the backbone of the 2010 Division I National Men’s Swimmer of the Year, junior Conor Dwyer. The Texas Longhorns ended up winning the event even as 11 Florida swimmers earned 38 All-America performances while simultaneously shattering two school records. Dwyer picked up seven honors of his own along with two national titles in the 500- and 200-yard freestyles. Read more about the event.

3 » No. 2/5 Florida baseball (18-5, 4-2 SEC) succeeded in ending its two-game road losing streak with a dominating 13-1 victory Sunday against the No. 17/19 Ole Miss Rebels (19-6, 4-2 SEC). After falling 3-2 in a tight first game and being trounced in the second game 15-3, the Gators rebounded with three RBI apiece from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (2-4, two runs) and sophomore outfielder Daniel Pigott (1-4) as well as 5.1 solid innings from freshman starter Brian Johnson (2-1). Johnson did not allow a single earned run in the outing.

Catch up on No. 6/13 softball, No. 4 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

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Brombacher pitches perfect game as UF rolls USF

Junior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (17-3) threw No. 6/13 Florida Gators softball’s first perfect game in six years to lead her team to a 10-0 victory over the South Florida Bulls (14-15) on Thursday afternoon at home in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Brombacher’s five perfect innings included five strikeouts but was not without drama. In the bottom of the fifth, Bulls third baseman Alison Savarese hit a line drive back at Brombacher. She was able to grab the ball with her glove and make the throw to first before retiring the next two batters on a pop out and ground out, respectively.

“I realized it right before the last pitch,” Brombacher said. “I was like ‘Wait, no one has gotten a hit yet,’ and then [Cat Olnick] hit it and I was like, ‘Please catch it.’ I didn’t realize it was a perfect game until she stepped on the bag.”

Senior designated player Francesca Enea backed up her pitcher by hitting a home run of each of her two plate appearance while tallying three RBI. Enea continues her climb up the Southeastern Conference’s career home run and RBI lists. She is second all-time in homers (54) and fourth in RBI (195).

The Gators (21-3) are set to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in a weekend road series beginning with a doubleheader on Sat., March 27. The first game will air live on ESPN2.

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FOUR BITS: Henne, Grossman, Augenstein, wins

1 » Miami Dolphins and former Michigan Wolverines quarterback Chad Henne, who defeated former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in his final college game – the 2008 Capital One Bowl – claims the two-time National Champion and Heisman Trophy winner will not be successful in the NFL. “My judgment is that he’s not an NFL quarterback,” Henne said during an interview on WQAM in Miami, FL. “I’ll leave it at that.” As a Dolphins fan it pains me to say this, but some would argue whether or not Henne fits that distinction himself. You can listen to the interview here.

2 » Two roster moves affecting former Gators occurred Wednesday as QB Rex Grossman signed a free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Bryan Augenstein was optioned by his team to Triple-A Reno. Grossman will team up with new Redskins head coach and former Florida offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan as well as his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who coached Grossman last season with the Houston Texans.

3 » Still rolling through the 2010 season is the No. 6/13 Gators softball team (20-3, 4-1 SEC), which defeated the Auburn Tigers (15-9, 2-3 SEC) 7-0 and 5-4 in a doubleheader Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior Stephanie Brombacher tossed both games, extending her record to 16-3 by picking up two victories. Junior outfielder Kelsey Bruder supported her with a combined 3-6 performance including two home runs and a game-winning double in the second game – a come-from-behind victory.

4 » Led by a six-goal and four-assist performance by freshman attacker Ashley Bruns, Florida lacrosse (4-3) took down the Marist Red Foxes (2-3) 22-3 Wednesday evening at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The Gators outshot their opponent 37-10, only allowing three shots the entire second half.

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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: Townsend, Munroe, Iditarod, honors

1 » 2011 linebacker recruit Lateek Townsend recently told his hometown newspaper, The State, that he is strongly considering leaving home and playing for the Florida Gators after his senior season of high school. “I’m thinking Florida highly,” he said. “That’s a winning program, so things must be done right. I’m going down there soon for an unofficial visit. I’ve not seen the campus yet. I put them up there with Clemson [his leader] and South Carolina.”

2 » Mark Wheeler of Rivals is reporting that Gators redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe was denied a sixth year of eligibility and a medical redshirt by the NCAA last week. Munroe, who has suffered with injuries throughout his college career, was hoping to get a redshirt exception after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament for the second time. Munroe has appeared in 28 games in his Florida career, collecting 43 total tackles while playing a role on defense and special teams. He had a career-high six tackles in the SEC Championship against the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2006. He will appeal the ruling.

3 » University of Florida alumnus Tom Thurston is competing in the Iditarod this year, and The Gainesville Sun put together a nice profile piece on the former student. Thurston hopes for a top-30 finish in the annual event.

4 » Gators senior outfielder Francesca Enea was the recipient of SEC Player of the Week honors Monday. Smacking four home runs (three grand slams) this week, Enea is now second all-time in the SEC record book with 51 homers. Also honored this week is Florida freshman lacrosse player Ashley Bruns, who brought home the American Lacrosse Conference‘s Rookie of the Week for scoring five goals in one half of competition. It is the second-straight week a Gators lacrosse player has won the honor. Last but not least, the 2009 SEC Champion UF women’s cross country team was named the USTFCAAA All-Academic Team of the year with a combined 3.56 GPA.

Bubble Watch » The unranked Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-5, 11-3 WCC) defeated the No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-6, 12-2 WCC) 81-62 Monday to earn the WCC Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Two teams are now guaranteed to represent the WCC instead of one (Gonzaga), taking away an at-large bid.

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