Sunday, February 23, 2014

UF Baseball: #20 Florida Holds Off #17 Miami's Bid For A Sweep

Thanks to WatchESPN again, I was able to watch the final game of the three game series between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes. The Gators jumped on Hurricane starter Andrew Suarez in the first inning as they scored four runs on six hits. The Gators struck again in the fourth inning as they took advantage of some Hurricane errors to add two more runs. Florida's early scoring proved to be enough to edge out a close 6-4 win and avoid the sweep.

Junior Karsten Whitson, a former first round pick by the Padres who turned down $2.1 million dollars to play college ball instead and then got hurt (you will most likely hear this before every one of his starts this year), toed the rubber for the Florida Gators. In just three innings of work, Whitson struck out one and allowed two earned runs on 54 pitches to earn a no decision. After Whitson's departure, the Gators went with the same plan as last night as they used SIX pitchers to finish this game. Out of all these pitchers, it was freshman A.J. Puk who received the win as he came in after Whitson while the Gators had the lead. Eric Hanhold received the save for the Gators after closing out a wild ninth inning. I'll talk more about this later in the article.

The Florida bats set the tone early in this game as four players had two hits today and Taylor Gushue extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single in the first inning. The Gators didn't need much offensive production after their big first inning, but they were glad to take two more runs as a result of two Miami throwing errors in the fourth inning. However, these would not be the only errors that affected the game.

Cue the bottom of the ninth! With one out and two strikes on Miami hitter Garrett Kennedy, Ryan Harris's potential strike three fastball was instead called ball two. Harris ended up walking Kennedy and giving up a hit to shortstop Alex Hernandez. Instead of two out and no one on, it was one out and two runners on. Danny Young came in for Harris and was set to face pinch hitter Sebastian Diaz. This is when the second blown call of the game occurred. Diaz smoked a 1-1 pitch down the line and I thought the ball was fair and this game was going to be tied. The umpires ruled that the ball was foul however, and Young ended up striking out Diaz. Eric Hanhold was called upon to get the final out, and the junior delivered by inducing a game ending fly out to centerfield. I'll always wonder if that ball was indeed foul, considering WatchESPN only showed one replay from one angle and then decided to never revisit the subject again.

The Florida Gators (5-3) return to Gainesville and are set to take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Miami Hurricanes (4-3) will play a one game exhibition against the Miami Marlins (0-0) in Jupiter on Wednesday before heading to Tallahassee for a three game series against the Florida State Seminoles (6-0).

*Stats accredited to

UF Baseball: #20 Florida vs #17 Miami

Through the power of WatchESPN, I was able to catch the Florida Gator baseball game against the Miami Hurricanes down in Coral Gables. The #20 Florida Gators lost their series against the #17 Miami Hurricanes tonight as they dropped Game 2 by a score of 5-2. The Gators had one bad inning, which happened to be the seventh. With two on and nobody out, Hurricane freshman Zack Collins blasted a three run home run off of the first pitch thrown to him by sophomore reliever Danny Young. Collins' home run was his first collegiate hit and put an end to his 0-17 skid. I knew about Collins beforehand because he played at American Heritage with Gator freshman pitcher Shaun Anderson. He was drafted in the 27th round by the Cincinnati Reds but decided to attend Miami instead. Obviously, that decision proved to be a good one for him on this night.

In his second start, freshman Brett Morales went four innings and pitched much better this time around. He gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out two and walking two on 74 pitches. Morales received a no decision and after his departure the Gators used SIX relievers! Combined, the bullpen allowed three runs on three hits, walked two, and struck out four. Out of all the pitchers, I was very excited to see freshman Frank Rubio get into the game. Frank lives in the room right across from me in the dorms at UF and I chat with him occasionally when I see him in the hallway. When he entered the game for his first collegiate pitching appearance, I couldn't help but shout in excitement. In his one inning of work, Rubio (who came in with a 2-0 count on the batter and a runner on first base) needed only six pitches to retire the Hurricane hitters. He gave up no runs and kept the Hurricane lead at three before being pulled for fellow freshman Tyler Deel in the eighth inning.

Jordan Shafer's bases loaded single and Ryan Larson's sacrifice fly accounted for the only two Gator runs on the night. Florida left a total of eight runners on base and could not touch the Miami bullpen once starting lefty Bryan Radziewski exited the game with two outs in the sixth. This game could have potentially been a lot different if one small mental mistake had not been made. With junior Braden Mattson at the plate and runners on second and third with two outs, sophomore Richie Martin took an over aggressive secondary from third base and got picked off by Radwieski to end the fourth inning. I could not believe my eyes! The fact that a lefty stepped off the rubber and picked off Martin at third base was astonishing to me because I thought it was virtually impossible to get picked off at third base. Martin's mistake proved to be a big one as Mattson would hit a leadoff double the very next inning. This was definitely not the reason the Gators lost, as a hypothetical one run Gator lead would have meant nothing after the Collins' home run.

The Gators (4-3) will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow as junior Karsten Whitson (0-0) looks to get his first win of the season. The Hurricanes (4-2) will counter with lefty redshirt sophomore Andrew Suarez (1-0). Game time is at 1 p.m. After tomorrow, 12 of the next 13 games will be at home for the Gators.

*Stats accredited to

Friday, February 21, 2014

UF Lacrosse: #7 Florida vs James Madison

The weather was perfect this time around as I attended my second UF lacrosse game of the year against the James Madison Dukes. Similar to the Jacksonville game, the Gators went down early when JMU scored first, but then the #7 Gators piled on goal after goal and took a 16-3 lead into the half. The Gator offense then cooled down in the second half as they won handily by a score of 21-8.

Offensively, junior midfielder Shannon Gilroy and sophomore attacker Carly Ross led the team with five goals a piece. The offensive production from these two alone would have been enough to beat JMU! Gilroy also did a good job distributing the ball as she tallied three assists on the night. The Gators took 31 shots compared to JMU's 17. It's no surprise the Gators scored 21 goals this game when their taking nearly double the amount of shots on goal as their opponent. I have noticed that the Gators score early and often, which by no means is a bad thing as most games are over by the half. Scoring has been no problem for the Gators over the course of these last three games (Jacksonville, High Point, James Madison) as they have outscored their opposition 60-23.

Things should be no different on Sunday as the #7 Gators face a Cincinnati team that lost its first game of the season to #15 Notre Dame by a score of 25-1. This game will be at home and will start bright and early at 11:30 a.m. For JMU, the only positives for them leaving this game is that they managed to tie the Gators in second half scoring with five goals. Now 1-1 on the season, the Dukes will look to get back on track as they face the Jacksonville Dolphins on the road at 10:30 a.m. It will be interesting to see how these former UF opponents fair against each other. I expect it to be a competitive game.

*Stats accredited to

Thursday, February 20, 2014

UF Softball: #1 Florida vs Jacksonville

While most UF students went to the basketball game against Auburn (the Gators won a close one), I decided to head out to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium to watch the #1 softball team in action. The #1 Gators were taking on the Jacksonville Dolphins in their home opener. I've come to learn that the Gators love to play Jacksonville regardless of the sport. The top ranked Gators took care of business and defeated Jacksonville 6-0.

I left this game with one name ingrained in my mind: Lauren Haeger. The junior pitcher threw a complete game shutout while striking out seven Dolphins to go 4-0 on the season. She also contributed offensively with a two run home run in the bottom of the fifth that broke this game open. Haeger's dominant pitching performance and her deep shot of a home run were more than enough to make her my MVP of this game. Haeger wasn't the only one who played well however. Freshman outfielder Justine MCLean had two hits and scored on Haeger's home run. Sophomore infielder Taylore Fuller also hit one out of the yard as she had two hits on the night.

The #1 Gators are now 12-0 heading into the Lipton Invitational that they will be hosting here in Gainesville. They are set to take on Troy (4-5-1) and Indiana (1-9) on Friday and Saturday, then Coastal Carolina (5-1) and Georgia Southern (6-3) on Sunday. The Dolphins (5-5) will head back to Jacksonville for their JU Wingate by Wyndham Tournament where they will play UIC (1-9) and Mount St. Mary's (0-0) on Friday, Southern Illinois (4-5) and Savannah State (3-6) on Saturday, and Bethune-Cookman (1-9) and Savannah State (3-6) on Sunday.

*Stats accredited to

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

UF Baseball: #20 Florida vs UCF

Last night, the UCF Knights came to town to play the #20 Florida Gators for one game. Due to prior commitments and meetings I had to attend to during the evening, I was only able to catch the sixth and seventh innings of the game. When I got there it was 1-1 in the sixth inning with the bases full of Gators and two outs. Unfortunately, the Gators could not capitalize on this opportunity as UCF's pitching induced a ground ball to get out of the jam. Sophomore Danny Young made quick work of the Knights in the top of the seventh inning with the only threat being a deep fly ball hit by Knights DH Erik Barber.

In the bottom of the frame, freshman Buddy Reed drew a walk on four pitches and was then moved over by a bunt by junior Josh Tobias. With one out, sophomore Richie Martin drew a walk which brought junior Casey Turgeon to the plate. After working the count to 3-2, Turgeon smoked a ball to third base. Knights third baseman, Kam Gellinger, fielded the ball, tagged third, and fired the ball to first in an attempt to complete the double play and get out of the inning. But Turgeon's hustle allowed him to just beat out the throw and it was first and second with two outs. Up next was the dangerous Taylor Gushue, who had already hit a home run way back in the first inning. Gushue kept the ball in the yard this time, in fact he didn't even need to hit it, as the junior drew a walk to load the bases. It was now Zach Powers time to shine and the junior delivered with a four pitch walk.

After the Gators took the lead, junior Braden Mattson provided some insurance runs as he hit a two run single. It was at that point that I had to leave due to my intramural football game at 10 p.m. on the other side of campus. After I left, the Gators tacked on one more run on a Jordan Shafer single. The junior class did a great job at bringing home the runs for the Gators in this game. Walks played a big role in the rally as four Gators were issued free passes during the seventh inning.  Giving up four runs this late in the game proved too much for the Knights to overcome and they went down without much of a fight to end the game.

True freshman Logan Shore was the starting pitcher in the contest and was very impressive. He gave up just one run over 5.1 innings and struck out four batters but was given a no decision. Danny Young received the win as the lefty pitched 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and struck out two batters. Braden Mattson is my offensive MVP for this game as he had two hits and came up clutch in the seventh inning with two RBI's to break the game open.

The Gators (3-1) are back on the diamond tonight as they take on the UNF Ospreys (2-1) at 7 p.m. The Knights, now 3-1 themselves after losing to the Gators, head back to Orlando to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (2-2) at 7 p.m. on February 21.

*Stats accredited to

Saturday, February 15, 2014

UF Baseball: #21 Florida vs Maryland Game 2

In Game 2 of their three game series against the Maryland Terrapins, the #21 Gators lost by a score of 9-7. Freshman Brett Morales made his first ever collegiate start in today's game. It did not go as well as he probably expected as he gave up five earned runs and pitched only 3 and 1/3 innings. Morales's shaky start forced the Gators to use a total of six pitchers on the day. All but one Gator reliever gave up a run in his appearance.

The Gator offense was quiet for most of the day until their bats finally came alive for seven runs in the late innings of the game. However, their attempt at a comeback fell just short as the bullpen gave up three more runs in the final three innings. My offensive standouts for today's game are freshman Buddy Reed and junior Taylor Gushue. Reed notched the first two RBI's of his Gator career today and Gushue had another two hit game. What I noticed today was all the missed opportunities that the Gators had with runners on base. A total of eight Gators were stranded on base today.

Today was just not the Gators day as they went down early and could not stop Maryland from scoring. By the time the Gator bats caught fire, the deficit had become too great to overcome. The Gators will look to bounce back and take the series tomorrow as they give the ball to redshirt junior Karsten Whitson (0-0) in the rubber game.

*Stats accredited to

UF Baseball: #21 Florida vs Maryland Game 1

The #21 Gators opened up their 100th baseball season with a three game home stand against the Maryland Terrapins. Former Gator player and current Baltimore Oriole Matt Laporta received the honor of throwing out the first pitch. Behind great pitching and one big inning, the Gators took Game 1 tonight by a score of 4-0.

Gator pitching was phenomenal in the opening game as they held the Terrapins to no runs on just three hits. Junior Bobby Poyner was on the mound for Game 1. The lefty fell into some trouble with a bases loaded jam in the second inning, but he pitched his way out of it by striking out the side. From there, Poyner cruised. He pitched 5 and 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out five batters to earn his first win of the year. He was relieved by fellow junior Ryan Harris. The righty pitched 1 and 1/3 scoreless innings while recording one strike out. Sophomore lefty Danny Young replaced Harris in the eighth to finish the game. He struck out the final batter on rout to his first save of the year. It is also worth noting that Maryland did not get a single hit once Poyner exited the game.

Offensively, the Gators did most of their scoring in the third inning. After loading the bases, two Gators came in to score after a throwing error by the Terrapins on a chopper hit by freshman Ryan Larson. They tacked on one more when junior Taylor Gushue singled home Richie Martin with a hit up the middle. Gushue scored Martin again with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Gushue led the team with two RBI's on the night to go along with his two hits. Richie Martin was the only other Gator with two hits. The bottom of the Gator lineup did a good job at getting on base, which in turn set up many RBI opportunities for the top of the order.

The Gators will take the field at 4 p.m. tomorrow for Game 2 against Maryland. True freshman Brett Morales (0-0) is scheduled to take the mound for the Gators in his first collegiate start ever.

*Stats accredited to

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

UF Lacrosse: #4 Florida vs Jacksonville

On a cold, rainy Wednesday, the Florida Gators' lacrosse team took the field for their 2014 home opener. The weather deterred many fans from coming out as only 276 were were in attendance tonight. Coming off of a 20-8 loss to #1 North Carolina, the #4 Gators came to play as they routed the Jacksonville Dolphins by a score of 21-5 to notch their first victory of the season. This game was over at the half when the Gators led 14-3. Jacksonville actually scored first, but from there it was all the orange and blue.

Junior Shannon Gilroy led the way offensively for the Gators with seven goals. Sophomore Lauren Lea was the leader in assists with two. The Gators had the ball most of the game as they won 20 draws to Jacksonville's eight. They also beat the Dolphins in the turnover battle, only losing the ball 11 times compared to Jacksonville's 14. For the Dolphins, Sophomore Kelsey Wiglesworh was the leading scorer as she scored two goals in the contest. Senior Morgan Derner led the team in assists with two.

It was great getting to witness the dominance of Gator lacrosse first hand as they overwhelmed Jacksonville for most of the night. The Gators' next game will be at home against the High Point Panthers at 1 p.m. this upcoming Saturday. The Jacksonville Dolphins will look to bounce back from this drubbing as they head home to take on Colorado at 12 p.m. on Saturday as well.

*Stats accredited to

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Men's Basketball: #3 Florida vs Texas A&M

The #3 Gators throttled the Texas A&M Aggies by a score of 69-36 to keep their home winning streak alive and well. The closest it would be was a 15-12 Gator lead with 9:04 to play in the first half. Then, the Gators never looked back as they showed once again why they are one of the best teams in college basketball.

The scoring leader today was sophomore Michael Frazier II, who had 21 points on the day. He made just three three pointers as the Gators shot .200 from beyond the arc. Senior Scottie Wilbekin was the only other player to hit on his three point attempts as nailed two of them. Besides Frazier, redshirt sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith was the only other Gator in double digits with 11 points. Seniors Will Yeguete (10) and Patric Young (14) dominated the boards as they combined for 24 rebounds. Young's 14 rebounds were a career high and he came a mere point away from recording a double double. In the dunking category, both Young and Finney-Smith brought the crowd to its feet with monster slam dunks.

Defensively, the Gators shut down the Aggies by holding them to less than 40 points in the entire game. Young and Finney-Smith had two blocks a piece and freshman Kasey Hill contributed with two steals.

The Gators remain unbeaten in SEC play and are set to do battle with Missouri on Tuesday in the O-Dome at 9 p.m. Texas A&M will try to shake off this demoralizing loss as they head back home to take on Mississippi State on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

*Stats accredited to