1 » One day after it was reported by FOX 25 out of Boston that a Maybach Mercedes registered to New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was found abandoned on the median of a highway, the former Florida Gators player was released by the team. According to FOX 25, The OnStar representative from the car “told state police the driver of the care reported hitting a deer.” However, while an injured deer was not found near the scene, another car called in that it was rear ended at approximately the same time as the crash involving Spikes’s car. Spikes signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Patriots (with up to $1 million in incentives), returning to the team that drafted him after spending a season with the Buffalo Bills. His original tenure did not end well in New England, despite his close relationship with owner Bob Kraft, and his return to the franchise was a surprise. If this story sounds relatively familiar that is a vehicle belonging to former Miami Dolphins LB Channing Crowder was also abandoned on a highway in January 2008.
By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer
For the first time since 2012, No. 4 Florida Gators baseball is going back to Omaha, Nebraska, after earning a spot in the 2015 College World Series on Saturday night. Florida (49-16) overcame an early two-run deficit to earn an 11-4 victory over the Florida State Seminoles at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.
UF outscored FSU 24-9 over during the 2015 Gainesville Super Regionals, pulling off a 13-5 win on Friday night.
Freshman catcher JJ Schwarz (3/4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) led the way on offense for the Gators with two deep blasts to left field. Schwarz, Florida’s rookie phenom, owns a new school record with 18 home runs during his freshman campaign. Schwarz has hit a blazing hot 22-for-39 (.564) in postseason play, going 12-for-20 (.600) in five 2015 NCAA Tournament games. If Schwarz can keep his hot streak up next week in Omaha, UF will be tough to beat.
This year’s berth marks Florida’s ninth trip to the College World Series, its fourth in eight seasons under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan (2010-12). UF will face No. 5 Miami in opening-round action; the Gators took two-of-three games from the Canes in Gainesville from Feb. 20-22.
By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer
No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (48-16) opened the 2015 Gainesville Super Regional on Friday with a 13-5 thumping of the rival Florida State Seminoles (44-20). The Gators are now one win away from returning to the College World Series for the first time since 2012.
Florida scored early and often in the game. A four-run first inning for the Gators gave sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K) all the cushion he needed. Senior third baseman Josh Tobias (2/5, 3 RBI, R) and freshmen catcher Mike Rivera (1/3, 3 RBI, R) led UF, while freshman C JJ Schwarz (2/3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 RBI) hit the team’s only homer, a solo shot to deep left in the fifth inning. Schwarz is now batting 19-for-35 (.543) in postseason play.
Event: Gainesville Super Regional – 2015 NCAA Tournament
Location: McKethan Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 5,500]
Times: Friday – 7:30 p.m. | Saturday – 5 p.m. | Sunday – TBA
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
|(3/3) FLORIDA GATORS||(10/12) FSU SEMINOLES|
|Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan||Head Coach: Mike Martin|
|Record: 47-16||Record: 44-19|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Atlantic Coast|
Head-to-head in 2015: Florida State 2-1 in three meetings
The rout was on at McKethan Stadium on Sunday evening in the finals of the Gainesville Regional as No. 1 Florida Gators baseball (45-18) scored in four of the first five innings and advanced to the Super Regionals for the fourth-straight season with a 15-3 demolition of the No. 24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (38-26).
In addition to a 15-run performance from the Gators’ offense that included a pair of homers and multiple two-out RBIs, UF received a solid outing from junior left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson, who only had to pitch five innings but gave up just one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Florida immediately got on board in a big way, using a pair of two-RBI hits to take an early 4-0 lead on Georgia Tech in the first. Senior right fielder Preston Tucker and junior Mike Zunino got on via one-out walks and were brought home on a double down the right field line by senior centerfielder Daniel Pigott. Freshman second baseman Casey Turgeon was walked and joined Pigott on the bags; the duo each advanced a base when a pick-off attempt rolled into center and came around to score on a single up the middle by freshman left fielder Justin Shafer (1/4, 2 RBI).
The Gators wasted no time in increasing their already substantial lead, using a three-run homer by Zunino to jump ahead 7-0 in the bottom of the second. Florida once again had men on first and second with one out after Fontana singled up the middle and Tucker followed suit through the right side. Zunino then crushed the second pitch he saw to left-center, smacking his second bomb in as many games.
GT put a small dent in their deficit as LF Evan Martin hit a solo shot to left in the third, but Zunino quickly got UF’s seven-run advantage back with his school record-tying 17th career sacrifice fly to score Fontana from third base in the fourth inning.
It did not take long for the Gators to start piling on the runs again as Florida plated seven more in the fifth. After Turgeon doubled with one out and junior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (0/3, R, BB) joined him on base via a four-pitch walk, freshman third baseman Josh Tobias (1/3, 2 RBI, R) smacked a two-out, two-RBI double to clear the bags. He was brought home one batter later as Fontana (2/4, RBI, 3 R, BB, SB) singled through the left side to put the Gators ahead 11-1.
The onslaught did not stop there for Florida’s bats, however, as a single by Tucker (2/4, 3 R, BB) and wild pitch on a third strike to Zunino 1/3, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB) loaded the bags for Johnson, who was walked to score another run for the Gators. Pigott (2/4, 4 RBI, R, BB) followed with a two-RBI single, and Turgeon (2/3, RBI, 2 R, BB) joined the party with a single through the right side to plate Johnson (0/3, RBI, R, BB) and increase UF’s advantage to 15-1 through five innings.
Johnson’s outing came to an end after five innings. He was replaced in the sixth by freshman LHP Bobby Poyner (1.0 IP, H, ER, K), who gave up a solo homer to the second batter he faced, 3B Sam Dove, that reduced Florida’s lead to 15-2. The Gators used a combination of sophomore right-hander Karsten Whitson (1.0 IP, 2 K), freshman RHP Johnny Magliozzi (0.2 IP, H, ER), senior LHP Greg Larson (0.1 IP) and junior RHP Austin Maddox (1.0 IP, H, K) to close out the contest.
Florida will begin Super Regional action on Friday or Saturday at McKethan Stadium against the winner of the Raleigh Regional. Two-seed Vanderbilt has the upper hand with a 2-0 record in the double-elimination event and is in the process of playing one-seed North Carolina State (2-1) in the finals (as of press time).
Gators on the 2012 Gainesville All-Regional Team: Zunino, Tucker, Fontana, Crawford, Turgeon (most outstanding player)
1 » No. 2 Florida Gators baseball’s sophomore left-handed pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson will be active for the Super Regionals beginning on Friday. After missing the Gainesville Regional while recovering from a concussion suffered during the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament, Johnson feels fine and is raring to go, according to head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who spoke with reporters after practice on Wednesday. Sophomore first baseman/closer Austin Maddox, who sprained his foot in the first game of the Gainesville Regional, remains day-to-day.
2 » Florida women’s tennis head coach Ronald Thornqvist has been named the 2011 ITA National Coach of the Year. Thornqvist, who coached the No. 2 Gators to the 2011 NCAA Championship in May, led Florida to a 31-1 overall record and helped sophomore Lauren Embree reach the semifinals of the NCAA Individual Championships. This is Thornqvist’s first national coach of the year award.
3 » Florida freshman right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson was named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team, as selected by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper, on Wednesday. Posting an 8-0 record with a 2.42 ERA so far this season, Whitson was one of 20 freshmen starting pitchers who received the honor.
4 » According to The Gainesville Sun, the property purchased by Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is a 10.5-acre estate located in Reddick, FL right near I-75 worth $1.1 million. Currently on the land are a 4,041-square-foot house and 6,336-square-foot horse barn, undoubtedly a selling point for Weis’s wife Maura, an avid horse enthusiast and rider.
Something special happened for Gator Nation on Sunday. In a 10-hour period from approximately noon until 10 p.m., Florida Gators fans got the opportunity to watch their teams dominate in a fashion not normally seen at this stage of collegiate athletics.
Over the course of three games – two on the softball diamond and one on a baseball field – Florida defeated two of their rivals thrice, outscoring them, out-hustling them and outclassing them in a way possibly never seen before.
No. 4 Gators softball, which went head-to-head with the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide in a pair of win-or-go-home games in the 2011 Women’s College World Series, set numerous event records in a 16-2 dismantling early in the afternoon and added a few more in their 9-2 victory later that evening.
In between, No. 2 Florida baseball took on the Miami Hurricanes in the finals of the Gainesville Regional portion of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Gators routed the Canes 11-4 and moved on to host the Super Regionals.
Let’s take a look at what Florida accomplished on Sunday:
– The Gators outscored their opponents by a total margin of 36-8.
– A total of eight home runs were hit with sophomore right fielder Brittany Schutte connecting in both softball games.
– The teams combined for 34 RBI on 32 hits, record 15 walks and stole four bases.
– Pitchers vs. Florida had a combined 12.05 ERA. Alabama’s posted a 14.58 ERA, while Miami’s throwers allowed seven runs in their contest. Crimson Tide ace Kelsi Dunne registered a 36.67 ERA against the Gators, allowing 11 earned runs in 2.1 innings.
– Florida’s starting pitchers combined to allow a total of five earned runs while notching 18 strikeouts. They registered a 2.04 ERA as a group.
– Florida baseball swept their regional, going 3-0.
– Gators softball won their second and third elimination games of the event after defeating No. 7 California one day earlier.
– The 11 runs scored in the first inning of their opening game on Sunday were the most in any inning in WCWS history. The previous mark (nine, 2010) was held by UCLA in a victory against UF just one year ago.
– The Gators scored more runs on the Crimson Tide in one inning than they had given up in a single game all season. Their 16 total runs scored (through just three innings) are the most allowed in a single game by UA softball in school history.
– Florida tied the WCWS team record for homers in a game (four).
– The Gators’ 15 RBI are a WCWS single-game record.
– The 41 total runs scored by Florida so far in the WCWS are as many as every other team in the field combined. The total is currently the second-most in WCWS history.
– The Gators advanced to the WCWS Championship Series for the second time in the last three years and will once again face a Pac-10 opponent.
– Senior left fielder Kelsey Bruder set WCWS event record for most runs scored (nine).
– Schutte set UF’s single-season home run record with her 21st & 22nd bombs.
Squaring off against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks just a week after taking down the No. 14 UCLA Bruins in regional action, No. 3 Florida Gators softball jumped out to a hot start and held on for an impressive run-rule victory. On the back of a pair of two-run homers by sophomore right fielder Brittany Schutte, Florida (51-10) defeated Oregon (42-15) 9-1 in five innings to open the three-game 2011 NCAA Super Regionals at Pressly Softball Stadium in Gainesville, FL.
Schutte (2-2, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB) hit her homers in the first and third inning, giving the Gators a quick 5-1 advantage. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (19-2) got the start and played well but was still pulled after striking out three and allowing one earned run on two hits in three innings.
She was replaced by freshman RHP Hannah Rogers, who tossed the final two innings of the game and struck out three during her appearance. Ending Rogers’s outing at two innings was Florida’s offense, which continued piling on runs.
Freshman shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (0-1, R, BB) was hit by a pitch, advanced to second via a sacrifice bunt and scored on two wild pitches in the fourth. The Gators rallied to get the bases loaded in the fifth, allowing senior first baseman Megan Bush’s (1-3, 2 RBI) infield single to score two putting Florida one run away from ending the game. Coyle was walked to load the bases, and a single by the next batter, senior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (1-2, RBI), scored Schutte from third and gave the Gators the victory.
Also contributing for Florida offensively was senior left fielder Kelsey Bruder (2-2, RBI, 3 R, BB), who plated a base runner in the first and crossed the plate three times. The Gators left three runners on base at the contest’s conclusion.
Friday’s game was not without its interesting moments. The start was pushed back to bad weather in the area, a short rain/hail delay occurred during the contest and a long foul ball from Schutte in the bottom of the first actually broke the window of a car driving by.
Florida and Oregon will square off in game two of the Super Regionals on Saturday at noon. The Gators are one victory away from advancing to the 2011 Women’s College World Series for the fourth-straight season.