Florida Gators baseball wins SEC Tournament, earns No. 4 seed in 2015 NCAA Tournament

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 seed Florida Gators baseball (44-16) rebounded from an early loss to win four straight games and capture the 2015 SEC Tournament Championship. Florida defeated the No. 2 seed Vanderbilt Commodores 7-3 on Sunday in Hoover, Alabama, to clinch its seventh SEC Tournament title, first since 2011.

On Monday, the Gators were awarded the No. 4 overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. As such, Florida will host the Gainesville Regional and would host a Super Regional should it advance past the opening portion of the event. UF will host Florida Atlantic, South Florida and Florida A&M in regional play and would match up with the winner of the Tallahassee Regional (hosted by Florida State).

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Graduate transfer QB Everett Golson visited Florida Gators on Tuesday, per reports

Quarterback Everett Golson, a graduate transfer from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who is still searching for his potential destination, visited the Florida Gators on Tuesday, according to multiple reports including one from Andy Staples of SI.com.

Florida, which has scholarships available and a thin quarterback depth chart, has been considering adding a signal caller this offseason.

Golson reportedly has a list of 10 schools he is interested in attending. That list includes Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and UCLA, according to ESPN.com, with the Seminoles supposedly being the favorite for his services after the two parties met on Monday.

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Takeaways: Resilient Florida Gators baseball tops Vanderbilt, aims for national seed

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 9 Florida Gators baseball (38-14, 17-10 SEC) trailed the Vanderbilt Commodores by three runs through seven innings in the rubber match of a pivotal series on Saturday when the team huddled around coach Kevin O’Sullivan in the dugout. Whatever O’Sullivan told his team, it worked. Florida finished the game with five-unanswered runs to post a 9-7 win in extra innings and take the series 2-1.

UF remains in play for a first-place finish in the SEC. When Sunday’s conference games concluded, the Gators were three losses behind first-place LSU. Vanderbilt also holds a one-game lead on Florida in the SEC East going into the final weekend. The Gators are currently fourth overall in the SEC and can keep themselves alive for a first-round bye in the 2015 SEC Tournament if it remains in that position or makes a gain over the final week of the season.

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Takeaways: Florida Gators baseball looks to make a move as postseason approaches

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 9 Florida Gators baseball (36-13, 15-9 SEC) went 3-1 in its recent four-game stretch against the Georgia Bulldogs and South Florida Bulls.

On paper, it should have been an easy sweep for the Gators, but the Bulldogs (22-25, 7-16 SEC) put up a fight until the final out. UGA shocked UF with an 11-1 upset win in the Friday’s opener. Runs were scarce in game two, but Florida managed to edge Georgia 3-2 and even the series. In Sunday’s finale, sophomore right fielder Ryan Larson hit a three-run double that lifted the Gators to a 7-4 victory for the series win. UF then topped USF 5-1 Tuesday night in Gainesville to close out the nonconference schedule.

Here are five takeaways from the past week of Florida baseball:

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The Fastbreak: Florida edges Vanderbilt 50-47

The Florida Gators avoided losing five-straight games for the first time since 1997-98 by pulling out a hard-fought 50-47 victory against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida (13-13, 6-7 SEC) played the game short-handed yet still managed to get revenge on Vanderbilt (14-12, 4-9 SEC), which upset the Gators on the road two weeks ago.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Wednesday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: Vanderbilt forward James Siakam pieced together a personal 5-0 run – including a spin move dunk and old-school three-point play – to put the visitors on top 45-44 with 1:24 to play. The teams traded buckets, and Florida sophomore point guard Kasey Hill had an opportunity at the line to give his team back the lead but missed both free throws. Following a missed VU attempt from the charity stripe, UF got consecutive offensive possessions after a missed three from freshman forward Devin Robinson was deflected out of bounds. That is when Hill drove into the lane only to find Robinson for a go-ahead dunk. Two free throws from freshman PG Chris Chiozza iced the victory for the home team.

“I was proud. I could see Kasey fighting it. I could just see his body language was not good after the two free throws. I watched him, and I think he tried to gather and regroup himself. And I’m glad he did that; he kept himself in the game,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought our guys competed and battled. It’s just that, you know, offensively it is an absolute struggle – a struggle.”

Significant stretch: Struggling to score and trailing by six, the Gators suddenly retook the lead against the Commodores thanks to an 13-0 run that included a five-point trip. Redshirt junior guard Eli Carter made a basket, missed the and-one opportunity, grabbed the rebound and registered an assist as junior F Alex Murphy drained a three. UF led by a game-high seven points with six minutes to play as VU went scoreless for 6:14 and without a field goal for 8:31.

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Florida Gators F Dorian Finney-Smith suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules

Updated on Thursday at 1 a.m.

The Florida Gators announced just over one hour before tip-off on Wednesday that redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s second-leading scorer, has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Finney-Smith sat out Wednesday night’s contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores and will at least miss one more game on Saturday.

“He’s suspended. I’m not playing him against LSU. I’m going to revisit it again on Monday,” head coach Billy Donovan said after Wednesday’s game.

Finney-Smith, the 2014 SEC Sixth Man of the Year, is not only Florida’s best active scorer but also its leading rebounder, accounting for 12.9 points and 5.8 boards per game. He also shoots a team-high 47.5 percent from the field among starters.

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt ‘Dores – Inconsistency hampering improvement

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 12,989]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Mike Morgan, Barry Booker)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 134/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record: 12-13 (5-7 SEC) Record: 14-11 (4-8 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -5 | O/U 124.5

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Fastbreak: Florida embarassed 67-61 at Vanderbilt

Any progress the Florida Gators (12-10, 5-4 SEC) thought they made was diminished by their performance on Tuesday in a 66-51 wire-to-wire defeat at the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores (12-10, 2-7 SEC). Florida started slow at Memorial Gym in Nashville Tennessee, and though it picked up its game at times in the second half, the Gators’ constant stream of miscues once gain led to its ultimate downfall as the final buzzer sounded.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s action with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida junior guard Michael Frazier II missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with six minutes to play, only to see Vanderbilt’s Riley LaChance respond with a dagger trey seconds later that increased VU’s lead to 57-51. The Gators then put themselves in an even deeper hole as redshirt junior G Eli Carter fouled Wade Baldwin IV on a forced missed three, letting the Commodores jump ahead 60-51 with 4:44 remaining. UF did cut its deficit to five multiple times down the stretch but was never able to take advantage due to miscues and consistent fouling.

Prominent player: Frazier went the first 16:10 of the game without scoring a point but posted 16 of Florida’s 19 points on 4-for-5 shooting during a stretch that lasted seven minutes spanning the half. He finished with a game-high 21 points, hitting 4-of-6 threes and all five of his free throws to go along with five boards.

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