Sunday, May 31, 2015

Softball: Gators Walk Off Into WCWS Finals

After seven hard fought innings, the score between the #4 Auburn Tigers and the #1 Florida Gators remained tied. After holding Auburn in the top of the eighth, the Gators utilized three walks to load the bases with just one out. A return trip to the WCWS Finals was now just 60 feet away. True freshman Kayli Kvistad strode to the plate and smacked a 1-1 pitch to center field.

The ball was caught and senior pinch runner, Francesca Martinez, took off towards the plate. Auburn center fielder, Morgan Estell, threw a rocket to the plate to gun down Martinez and end the inning. The Gator celebration would have to wait just a little longer.

After Auburn stranded runners on first and second to end the top of the ninth, the bottom of the Florida lineup went to work in the bottom of the inning. Junior Aubree Munro walked and was thrown out at second on sophomore Justine McLean's sacrifice bunt attempt. Now representing the winning run at first, McLean took second base on a wild pitch to Kelsey Stewart. The junior SEC Player of the Year, however, would not be the hero as she popped up to shortstop for the second out of the inning.

The game now rested in the hands of true freshman Nicole Dewitt, who was 0-4 up to that point. The lefty settled in the box and hit the second pitch she saw into shallow left field. It dropped in for a base hit and McLean raced around third base and headed for home as Auburn left fielder, Tiffany Howard, fielded the ball and threw it to the plate. McLean slid into home and beat the throw to score the game winning run! The Gators stormed the field to mob both her and the hero in young Dewitt.

Great teams always find ways to win and it was no different for the defending National Champions. Until Dewitt's walk off hit, the last Gator run had come in the fourth inning off of a Taylore Fuller solo home run in the fourth inning that tied the game at two a piece. After that the Gator offense went dry until the ninth.

Pitching and defense carried the Gators today as senior Lauren Haeger threw all nine innings and gave up two runs on 11 hits with six strike outs. She had tremendous support from her defense today as junior outfielder Kirsti Merritt threw out two Auburn runners at the plate! The rest of the Gator defense was a tad shaky this game as they made two errors after committing none in their first two WCWS games. Florida will need to clean this up to take home a second consecutive National Championship.

After such an exhilarating victory, the #1 Florida Gators (58-6) will need to turn right around and get refocused as they will be playing the #3 Michigan Wolverines (59-6) in the WCWS Finals. Michigan has had a phenomenal season and cruised through the WCWS in the similar fashion that Florida has.
This will be an exciting series to watch and the first game will be Monday, June 1st, at 8 p.m. It can been seen on ESPN2.

As a side note, Florida and Michigan faced each other twice in the regular season. They first squared off in the opening game of the season, with the Gators winning 2-1 in Gainesville. They then met again in Gainesville on March 5, with the Gators winning this game 7-4.

For the Auburn Tigers, they conclude a fantastic season at 56-11. They were the SEC Conference Champions and missed out on the regular season title by just a game to Florida. Their program is heading in the right direction and there is a good chance Auburn will be back in Oklahoma City next season!

Joining Auburn on the trip home are the LSU Tigers, who were eliminated by Michigan. They finish the season 51-14 and will most likely be back in Oklahoma City next season as well.

*All stats accredited to &

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Softball: Gators 2-0 in 2015 WCWS Play

The #1 Florida Gator softball team has looked magnificent as the defending National Champions after defeating #8 Tennessee 7-2 and #5 LSU 4-0 to put themselves just one win away from consecutive WCWS Finals. Senior pitcher Lauren Haeger has been an absolute offensive beast for the Gators as the USA Softball National Player of the Year has hit a home run in both games and currently is batting .600 in the WCWS with three hits, three RBI’s, and three runs scored.

On the mound, Haeger has been lights out as she has gone the distance both times for a total of just two earned runs, six hits, and eight strike outs. She threw a one-hitter against Tennessee in Game 1 and shut out LSU in Game 2. Haeger is also the only collegiate softball player to have 70 wins and 70 home runs. The only other player to share this distinction with her is the legendary Babe Ruth. Haeger has been on a tear this postseason and it looks like she could be remembered as one of the greatest softball players of all-time when it is all said and done.

It has not just been all Haeger, however. The entire Gator team is playing at a high level right now. Against Tennessee, junior second baseman Kelsey Stewart notched two hits while freshman Kayli Kvistad plated two runs. Just recently against LSU, junior outfielder Kirsti Merritt went 3-3 out of the four-hole with a home run. Merritt’s solid day at the plate was complemented by junior catcher Aubree Munro and freshman infielder Nicole Dewitt, who both notched two hits a piece with Dewitt scoring two runs.

The Florida Gators are running on all cylinders and look just absolutely unbeatable. I said it before in my predictions article and I will boldly say it again: Nobody is beating this team! The Gators know how to win, and their experience is showing on the biggest of softball’s stages.

*All stats accredited to

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 College World Series Predictions

Happy Memorial Day everybody! Today, the 64-team field was released for the 2015 Men's College World Series. The eight national seeds for the tournament are: #1 UCLA, #2 LSU, #3 Louisville, #4 Florida, #5 Miami, #6 Illinois, #7 TCU, and #8 Missouri State.

As I did last week with softball, I am going to again predict which teams I believe will advance out of each region and in the process I hope to correctly pick the National Champion for the 2015 baseball season! Without further adieu, let us begin!


Los Angeles Regional
#1 UCLA (42-14)
Bakersfield (36-22-1)
Maryland (39-21)
Mississippi (30-26)

Winner: #1 UCLA over Mississippi in regional final

Why: UCLA won the PAC-12 this year and is the #1 overall seed in the tournament. With a team that I have heard is better than the one that won it all in 2013, they should steamroll into Super Regionals.

Lake Elsinore Regional
UC Santa Barbara (40-15-1)
San Diego State (40-21)
Virginia (34-22)
USC (37-19)

Winner: Virginia over UC Santa Barbara in regional final

Why: The Virginia Cavaliers finished second in the ACC Coastal division and went 1-3 in the ACC Tournament. Despite their record and lackluster postseason performance, the Cavs still have a majority of the players who helped them make it to the College World Series Finals. If Virginia has the "unfinished business" mentality, then they will punch a ticket to Super Regionals to get one step closer to a return trip to Omaha.

Stillwater Regional
Oklahoma State (37-18)
St. John's (39-14)
Oral Roberts (41-14)
Arkansas (35-22)

Winner: Oklahoma State over Oral Roberts in regional final

Why: Oklahoma State finished second in both the Big 12 regular season standings as well as the conference tournament. The support of the home crowd should help the Cowboys advance to Super Regionals.

Springfield Regional
#8 Missouri State (45-10)
Canisius (34-28)
Oregon (37-23)
Iowa (39-16)

Winner: #8 Missouri State over Iowa in regional final

Why: Currently on a 16-game win streak and Mountain Valley Conference Champions, Missouri State has been a powerhouse this year. This would not be the first time that MSU faced Iowa as the Bears and Hawkeyes hooked up earlier in Springfield this year on February 21st with Iowa winning 6-5. MSU will get revenge this time around on route to Super Regionals.

Coral Gables Regional
#5 Miami (44-14)
FIU (29-29)
Columbia (31-15)
East Carolina (40-20)

Winner: #5 Miami over Eastern Carolina in regional final

Why: The Miami Hurricanes won the ACC Coastal division and went 2-1 in the ACC Tournament. After watching the Hurricanes in person when they came up to play the Gators, I can confidently say that this is a good team right here. They should easily beat these teams in their home regional.

Dallas Regional
Dallas Baptist (43-13)
VCU (37-22)
Texas (30-25)
Oregon State (38-16-1)

Winner: Dallas Baptist over Oregon State in regional final

Why: Dallas Baptist has been an upstart sensation this year as they finished the regular season #12 in the Top 25 polls. In a tight battle with a solid Oregon State team, the Patriots will prevail to second ever Super Regional in school history.

Tallahassee Regional
Florida State (41-19)
Mercer (35-21)
Auburn (35-24)
Charleston (43-13)

Winner: Florida State over Charleston in regional final

Why: Florida State just barely missed out on earning a national seed. They will carry this motivation into regional play as they down a Charleston team that reached Super Regionals last year.

Gainesville Regional
#4 Florida (44-16)
Florida A&M (23-23)
South Florida (33-24-1)
Florida Atlantic (40-17)

Winner: #4 Florida over Florida Atlantic in regional final

Why: It has been a joy watching the Florida Gators over the course of the 2015 season. They should have no problem with any of the teams in their home region as they have beaten them all at one point this year.

Baton Rouge Regional
#2 LSU (48-10)
Lehigh (25-29)
Tulane (34-23)
UNCW (39-16)

Winner: #2 LSU over UNCW in regional final

Why: The LSU Tigers lost a heartbreaker to the Florida Gators in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and every team in their region will feel the Tigers' wrath.

Houston Regional
Houston (42-18)
Houston Baptist (28-25)
UL-Lafayette (39-21)
Rice (35-20)

Winner: Houston over UL-Lafayette in regional final

Why: Houston won the American Athletic Conference regular season title and will utilize their home field advantage to defeat a feisty Ragin' Cajun team.

College Station Regional
Texas A&M (45-12)
Texas Southern (31-17)
California (34-19)
Coastal Carolina (38-19)

Winner: Texas A&M over Coastal Carolina in regional final

Why: I have been a low-key TAMU bandwagoner all season after what has been a tremendous turnaround. They won 24 straight games to open the season and will continue their miraculous run with a solid win over Coastal Carolina to advance to Super Regionals.

Fort Worth Regional
#7 TCU (43-11)
Sacred Heart (23-30-1)
Stony Brook (34-14-1)
NC State (34-21)

Winner: #7 TCU over NC State in regional final

Why: The Big 12 regular season champions, TCU has been a great team all year and will defeat a talented NC State on route to another Super Regional.

Champaign Regional
#6 Illinois (47-8-1)
Ohio (36-19)
Wright State (41-15)
Notre Dame (36-21)

Winner: #6 Illinois over Notre Dame in regional final

Why: Illinois has been a splendid surprise this year as they won the Big 10 regular season title and posted a 25-game winning streak that ended in the Big 10 Tournament. Their matchup with Notre Dame in the regional final will be an epic one that ends with the Fighting Illini advancing to Super Regionals.

Nashville Regional
Vanderbilt (42-19)
Lipscomb (39-18)
Indiana (34-22)
Radford (43-14)

Winner: Vanderbilt over Radford in regional final

Why: I have much respect for the fact that Vanderbilt is the defending National Champion. Despite falling in the SEC Championship to the Florida Gators, Vandy has a solid team that will bulldoze through this region.

Fullerton Regional
Cal State Fullerton (34-22)
Pepperdine (30-27)
Clemson (32-27)
Arizona State (34-21)

Winner: Cal State Fullerton over Arizona State in regional final

Why: Cal State Fullerton won the Big West conference and has always been a name stake in college baseball. They will defeat a decent Arizona State team to advance to Super Regionals.  

Louisville Regional
#3 Louisville (43-16)
Morehead State (38-20)
Michigan (37-23)
Bradley (35-19)

Winner: #3 Louisville over Michigan in regional final

Why: Louisville showed what they were made of in their first year in the ACC as they went 25-5 in conference play and finished first in the ACC Atlantic standings. The Cardinals will live up to the high expectations placed on them as they will take care of business as both a national seed and regional host to advance to Super Regionals.

Super Regionals
Now that I have predicted the regional winners, it is now on to the Super Regionals! Keep in mind that a team just needs to win two out of three games to advance to the College World Series!

Los Angeles Super Regional
#1 UCLA vs Virginia

Winner: #1 UCLA

Why: In a matchup between the 2013 winner and the 2014 runner-up, the UCLA Bruins will emerge victorious due to their superior lineup and pitching.

Springfield Super Regional
#8 Missouri State vs Oklahoma State

Winner: #8 Missouri State

Why: Missouri State will show the country why they deserved their national seed when they defeat the Oklahoma State Cowboys to reach the second College World Series in school history

Miami Super Regional
#5 Miami vs Dallas Baptist

Winner: #5 Miami

Why: Miami will return to the College World Series for the first time since 2008 as they put an end to Dallas Baptist's extraordinary season.

Gainesville Super Regional
#4 Florida vs Florida State

Winner: #4 Florida

Why: Florida may have lost the regular series to Florida State this season, but the home field advantage will prove vital as the Gators pull out the win in three games. It is also worth noting that Florida's only win against FSU this year came in Gainesville (a 14-8 slugfest).

Baton Rouge Super Regional
#2 LSU vs Houston

Winner: #2 LSU

Why: LSU will rip through Houston at home to advance to yet another College World Series in the Tigers' storied baseball history.

Fort Worth Super Regional
#7 TCU vs Texas A&M

Winner: Texas A&M

Why: This is a tough one for me to pick, but my heart has been with Texas A&M all year. TCU is GOOD, but I believe playing and succeeding in the SEC gives the Aggies a good chance to beat the Horned Frogs and advance to Omaha for the first time since 2011.

Champaign Super Regional
#6 Illinois vs Vanderbilt

Winner: #6 Illinois

Why: Illinois will continue their incredible season as they defeat the defending National Champions to advance to the first ever College World Series in school history.

Louisville Super Regional
#3 Louisville vs Cal State Fullerton

Winner: #3 Louisville

Why: Louisville is a great team and will handle Cal State Fullerton easily as the Cardinals return to Omaha.

If my picks stay true like they did for softball, let's see how the College World Series would turn out!

College World Series First Round
#1 UCLA vs #8 Missouri State

Winner: #1 UCLA

Why: The butterflies and excitement of playing in their first College World Series game in 12 years will get to the Missouri State Bears as UCLA beats them in the first game of the opening round.

#4 Florida vs #5 Miami

Winner: #4 Florida

Why: Florida was able to take two of three from the Hurricanes in Gainesville, and they will continue this trend as ace Logan Shore throws a gem behind solid run support from the Gator offense.

#2 LSU vs Texas A&M

Winner: Texas A&M

Why: Texas A&M won just one of three games against LSU in Baton Rouge. In Omaha, however, things will shape up differently as the Aggies upset another national seed to keep their dream season going.

#3 Louisville vs #6 Illinois

Winner: #3 Louisville

Why: In what will be a classic game, Louisville will outlast Illinois to propel themselves into the winner's bracket.

Elimination Games
#8 Missouri State vs #5 Miami

Winner: #8 Missouri State

Why: With both teams' backs against the wall, Missouri State will compose themselves the second time around and eliminate Miami to stay alive.

#2 LSU vs #6 Illinois

Winner: #2 LSU

Why: LSU will come out of the gate determined after dropping their first game to Texas A&M. Illinois will battle them to the very end, but the Tigers will ultimately prevail and end Illinois's season.

End Result: #5 Miami & #6 Illinois ELIMINATED

Second Round
#1 UCLA vs #4 Florida

Winner: #1 UCLA

Why: Florida's pitching will run into some problems against an explosive UCLA lineup while the Gator offense will also struggle trying to figure out the Bruins' pitching.

#3 Louisville vs Texas A&M

Winner: #3 Louisville

Why: The Aggies' upsets will stop here as Louisville sends them to the loser's bracket after a hard-fought game by both sides.

Second Round Elimination Games
Texas A&M vs #8 Missouri State

Winner: Texas A&M 

Why: The Aggies will keep their upset mojo alive as they knock off another national seed and send Missouri State packing.

#4 Florida vs #2 LSU

Winner: #2 LSU

Why: Running into LSU once again, Florida will not have any late-game heroics in them this time around as the Tigers will get the last laugh and knock the Gators out of the College World Series.

End Result: #4 Florida & #8 Missouri State ELIMINATED

CWS Semifinals
#1 UCLA vs Texas A&M

Winner: #1 UCLA

Why: Texas A&M's luck finally runs out as the Bruins continue their dominant College World Series run with another victory that sends them to the Finals!

#2 LSU vs #3 Louisville

Winner: #3 Louisville

Why: Beating Louisville twice is a tough task, and I do not think LSU has it in them to defeat the Cardinals in a doubleheader. Louisville advance to its first ever College World Series Finals!

CWS Finals
#1 UCLA vs #3 Louisville

Winner: #1 UCLA

Why: UCLA will solidify their postseason run with a two-game sweep over the Louisville Cardinals to win their second National Championship in school history.

National Champion:

UCLA Bruins!

So there it is, the UCLA Bruins will win it all according to my predictions. Now anything can happen in the game of baseball, so it will be interesting to see just how accurate my predictions are.

Hopefully, I can keep my hot streak going as I correctly predicted all eight teams who made it to the Women's College World Series! Anyways, there is going to be some great baseball being played in the upcoming week, and I cannot wait to watch it! Good luck to everybody!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Gator Softball: #1 Gators Sweep Kentucky to Punch Ticket to the 2015 WCWS

The Florida Gator softball team is heading back to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City to defend their title after blanking Kentucky 1-0 in Gainesville this past Sunday. This will be the Gators seventh WCWS appearance in school history.

After getting dominated 7-0 in Game 1, Kentucky came to play in Game 2 as the Wildcats held the #1 Gators scoreless as well as hitless until the fourth inning. With two outs and runners on first and third, sophomore Justine McLean came to the plate.

After working the count full to 3-2, McLean hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop. It looked like it would be the third out of the inning, but Kentucky shortstop Christian Stokes misplayed it and Taylore Fuller was able to score from third. It was ruled a hit and the Gators had finally scratched a run across in this pitchers' duel.

One run was all senior Lauren Haeger would need as she pitched an absolute gem! She threw a complete game shutout on just three hits while striking out five Wildcats. In the process she notched her 28th win of the year.

Now back in Omaha, it is time for the Gators (55-6) to keep doing damage as I predicted them to repeat as National Champions. They are set to face SEC rival Tennessee (47-15) on May 28th at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN. This will be an intriguing matchup as the Lady Vols knocked the Gators out of the SEC Tournament in early May. It should be a great game to watch!

*All stats accredited to &

2015 SEC Championship: Florida Downs Vanderbilt for 7th SEC Tournament Championship

It is all cheers in Gainesville after the #4 seeded Florida Gators defeated the #2 seeded Vanderbilt Commodores 7-3 for the program's seventh SEC Tournament Championship this past Sunday. It took nearly six hours due to weather delays, but a little after 11 p.m. Eastern Time first baseman Peter Alonso fielded a ground ball and stepped on first base to clinch the Gators' first tournament title since 2011.

The bullpen was once again a major factor as starter Eric Hanhold went 2.1 innings. He threw a total of 40 pitches while striking out one of 11 batters and giving up two earned runs. After Hanhold's exit, the combined relief effort of Aaron Rhodes, Danny Young, Shaun Anderson, and Kirby Snead would allow just one more Vanderbilt run.

Rhodes allowed the one run in 1.1 innings as he faced seven batters and struck out three of them. Young picked up the win and worked a solid 3.1 innings as he also struck out three of the 12 batters he faced. Anderson struck out the only batter he faced before Snead came in and struck out three of his seven batters on route to closing the game out. In total, the bullpen combined for a dominating 10-strikeout performance!

I said in my previous article that the Gators needed their starter to eat up innings if they wanted to beat Vandy, but I was proven wrong today. However, I still believe that it helps the bullpen out tremendously if a Gator starter can AT LEAST go five innings. Regardless, a win is a win and I will gladly accept this one.

Offensively, the Gators banged out 14 hits against the Commodores! Harrison Bader, batting out of the leadoff spot for just the ninth time in his career due to Dalton Guthrie's wrist injury, kicked off the Gator scoring early as he smashed a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a leadoff home run. This would be his only hit of the game, but it was huge as it provided the offensive spark that Florida needed to take home the SEC crown.

Four Gators had two hits. They were senior Josh Tobias, sophomore Peter Alonso, freshman JJ Schwarz, and freshman Jeremy Vasquez. Of those four, Tobias and Alonso had one RBI a piece while Vazquez had two RBIs to lead the team on the day.

The final offensive standout I would like to recognize is Buddy Reed, who broke out and notched three hits in the game. The sophomore center fielder made good use of his time on the bases as he stole his 17th bag and scored two runs. He and Bader were the only two Gators to score twice in the game.

The weather may have been ugly but the result was pretty. The Florida Gators are SEC Champions! After barely missing out on an SEC East title by just a single game to Vandy, Florida got the ultimate revenge! I remember watching the Gators lose a shocker to Arkansas and being so mad that they had to fight through the loser's bracket to even get to this spot. This team showed fight and resolve though, and after downing Auburn, Arkansas, and LSU, the stage was set for an epic title game duel against Vandy.

Great offense and a dynamic bullpen performance were the two main reasons why the Gators are SEC Champions. If they now desire to be NATIONAL Champions, Florida will need these facets to keep clicking in addition to their starters pitching longer outings and the defense making the routine plays. The Gators have a makeup of a National Championship team, and tomorrow I will give my opinion on how far they go when the 64-team field is announced on Memorial Day for the National Tournament.

Congrats to the Florida Gator baseball team! 2015 SEC Tournament Champions! Go Gators!

*All stats accredited to

2015 SEC Tournament: Gators Top #1 Tigers in Semifinals

The #4 seeded Florida Gator baseball team is on their way to their second consecutive SEC Championship after defeating the #1 seeded LSU Tigers in a nail biter yesterday.

LSU did the scoring early as second baseman Jared Foster singled home Andrew Stevenson to give the Tigers a 1-0 advantage in the second inning. It would stay this way until the Gators broke through in the eighth inning. Senior third baseman Josh Tobias led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on sophomore Peter Alonso’s walk. With two men on and no one out, the hot hitting freshman JJ Schwarz came up and smoked a double into left field to score Tobias and knot the game up at one a piece.

In the top of the ninth inning with the score still 1-1, freshman catcher Mike Rivera came to bat. Down 1-2 in the count, Rivera smashed the biggest home run of his young Gator career to left field to give the Gators a 2-1 lead over the #1 team in the country!

In the bottom of the ninth, closer Taylor Lewis worked a perfect ninth to seal the win and avenge last year’s loss to LSU in the 2014 SEC Championship. Lewis was a workhorse out of the bullpen as he allowed just one hit in 4.1 scoreless innings and retired 12 of the 14 LSU batters he faced. Florida’s starter, freshman Alex Faedo, was pulled after just 2.2 innings after giving up 1 run on 6 hits. His pitch count was at 56 before sophomore Kirby Snead was brought in to relieve him. Snead would throw two innings of scoreless relief and strike out three batters before handing it over to Lewis for the rest of the game.

From the offensive side of this pitcher’s duel, there were some bright spots for the Gators. Junior left fielder Harrison Bader, potentially playing in his final SEC Tournament, went 3 for 4 while JJ Schwarz went 2 for 4 with an RBI. The big hit of the day of course, goes to Mike Rivera with his clutch homer in the ninth.

What occurred in yesterday’s game was very ironic to me, as just a year ago it was LSU who used a late home run to beat Florida in the SEC Championship. Now, with the tables turned, the Gators will need to find a way to break through and take home their first SEC Championship since 2011.

As has been the case for most of the season, the Florida Gators (43-16) had to rely on their bullpen since the starting pitcher could not work deep into the game. It was enough to beat LSU, but the Gators are going to need a solid performance from their starter in the championship if they want to beat Vanderbilt (42-18).

The Commodores present a tough matchup as they won the SEC East by just one game over the Gators and are the defending National Champions. They also romped the powerful Texas A&M Aggies 12-3 to advance to the championship game. Florida definitely has a chance, however, as they took two of three games on the road against the Commodores just a few weeks ago. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2. It is very fitting that these two will be duking it out to determine who rules the SEC!

*All stats accredited to

Friday, May 15, 2015

Meet Josh Grady

The Gator QB competition has now had another wrench thrown in it with the addition of Josh Grady from Vanderbilt. Who is Josh Grady? What does he bring to the table? Can he legitimately compete for the starting quarterback position? I cannot answer all these questions, but I can give you a good idea of what to expect with Grady now as a Gator.

The Florida Gators already had five quarterbacks after Skyler Mornhinweg left for Columbia and before Josh Grady transferred over. The five remaining UF QBs pre-Grady were:
  • Will Grier (redshirt freshman)
  • Treon Harris (sophomore)
  • Jacob Guy (redshirt junior)
  • Brian Fallace (redshirt freshman)
  • Anderson Proctor (redshirt sophomore)
Out of these five, the battle for starting QB is really between Will Grier, Jacob Guy, and Treon Harris. So where does Josh Grady come into play now? Well let me give you a little history lesson on Mr. Grady.

Josh Grady was a two-star prospect out of Seffner, Florida, in the 2011 recruiting class. He signed with the Vanderbilt Commodores and did not see action until his second year in college. As a redshirt freshman playing WIDE RECEIVER, he caught seven balls for 89 yards (long of 32) with six rushes for 23 yards.

When he was in at QB for his redshirt sophomore season in 2013, Grady completed 3 of 6 passes for 27 yards vs Texas A&M, Austin Peay, & UAB before getting injured and missing the whole season. In 2014, Grady appeared in eight games and did not record a single reception.

So as it looks, the Gators have received a player who is more of a wide receiver than an actual quarterback. Needless to say I am disappointed. I will try and stay positive though. Maybe he is an amazing wide receiver who can serve as a complement to Demarcus Robinson!

If all else fails, Grady will at least boost team G.P.A. as he made the 2011-12 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll and the 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll. 

*All stats accredited to

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Top 5 Florida Marlins Playoff Moments

Playing the sport of baseball for 12 years of my life, it was not hard for me to fall in love with the Florida (now Miami) Marlins at an early age. Now I know they have not been the best team in recent years, but I am happy to say that I was alive during both their World Series runs in 1997 and 2003.

Making the playoffs only twice in franchise history as a wild card team both times, the Marlins are 2/2 when it comes to winning in October. To celebrate these two marvelous postseasons, I thought it would be entertaining to write about my top five playoff moments for the franchise. Without further adieu, let us look at the greatest moments in Florida Marlins playoff history!

#5 Pudge Holds On

Image result for pudge rodriguez 2003 nlds

The year was 2003 and the Florida Marlins were leading the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the National League Divisional Series. The Marlins had a 2-1 series lead, and just needed to close this game out at home to get to the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. 

With two outs in the top of the ninth and the Marlins up 7-6 , Giants outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds strode to the plate with J.T. Snow representing the tying run on second base. Against Marlins closer Ugueth Urbina, Hammonds hit the first pitch he saw into left field.

The ball dropped in front of left fielder Jeff Conine, and Snow was rounding third as Conine threw a bullet towards home plate. Catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was waiting for the throw and caught it just seconds before Snow reached the plate. In a last ditch effort to tie the game, Snow lowered his shoulder and plowed into Rodriguez at the plate.

Pudge took the hit and fell onto the ground with the ball still in his hand. Snow was out and the Florida Marlins were going to the NLCS! Urbina and a few other teammates gave Pudge no time to catch his breath as they mobbed him while he still lied on the ground. When he arose to his feet, Pudge showed the ball to the fans to let them all know that they had a brick wall catching behind the plate.

#4 Bartman Reaches Out
Image result for steve bartman
(Dark sweatshirt in middle)

After reaching the National League Championship Series, the Florida Marlins quickly went down three games to one in the series to the Chicago Cubs. One more win and the Chicago Cubs would break a 95-year World Series drought!

After Josh Beckett out-dueled Carlos Zambrano in Game 5 in Miami to send the series back to Chicago, the Marlins still had a tall hill to climb. Down 3-0 in the eighth inning with Mark Prior throwing an absolute gem, the Fish looked dead in the water. With one out and Juan Pierre on second base, Luis Castillo fouled a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. Left fielder Moises Alou ran over towards the stands and looked like he had a good chance to catch the ball.

However, a fan named Steve Bartman reached his hands out and interfered with Alou's potential catch. Alou slammed his glove down in frustration and Cubs fans did not make a big deal of the incident at that point. Castillo drew a walk on a wild pitch that allowed Pierre to reach third base. With runners on third and first, Pudge Rodriguez lined a single into left field to score Pierre and make it 3-1.

Runners were on first and second now as rookie Miguel Cabrera dug into the box. He hit a bouncing ball to shortstop Alex Gonzalez that Gonzalez could have at least thrown to second base for the second out (a double play was out of the question due to the nature of the hit and Cabrera's speed). Gonzalez, however, bobbled the ball and everyone was safe. 

Now with the bases loaded, first baseman Derek Lee came up and smoked the first pitch he saw down the line for a double. The game was now tied at three all with Cabrera on third and Lee on second. Prior was removed from the game for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. The next batter, Mike Lowell, would be walked to load the bases.

With the bases loaded again, Jeff Conine came up and hit a sac-fly to right field to score Cabrera and give the Marlins the lead! With two outs now, Todd Hollandsworth was walked to load the bases for the THIRD time in the inning and bring up Mike Mordecai. With the count 2-1, Mordecai unloaded on a fastball down the middle to clear the bases and stretch the lead to 7-3. He would subsequently score on a Juan Pierre single to push the lead to 8-3.

The Cubs' momentum was gone and Game 6 went to the Marlins. After such an exhilarating comeback win, the Marlins knew that the series was theirs to win. They came out in Game 7 behind a solid outing from starter Brad Penny to win the game 9-6 and advance to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.

Cubs fans want to blame Bartman for this loss, but doing so is completely irrational. Alex Gonzalez bobbled a ball and used an outfield glove in the infield. There was a Game 7 the very next day that the Cubs were winning at one point. Dusty Baker could have taken Prior out sooner. This list could go on and on. 

The bottom line is that there were many factors that contributed to the Game 6 loss. To blame a fan who simply wanted to catch a foul ball (which is every baseball fan's dream) is a testament to just how much a history of constant losing can affect a fan base.

#3 Alex Gonzalez Goes Yard
Image result for alex gonzalez 2003 world series

After surviving a wild NLCS, the Marlins were set to do battle with the fearsome and highly favorited New York Yankees. Not many people gave the Marlins a chance to win even a game in the World Series.

Down 2-1 in the series with Game 4 set in Miami, the Marlins knew that this game would be a key turning point in the series. After Ugueth Urbina blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning, extra innings would be needed to decide a winner in this pivotal game.

The stage was set for shortstop Alex Gonzalez. In the bottom of the 12th inning with the count 3-2, Gonzalez drilled a line drive walk off home run that barely cleared the left field fence to give the Marlins a 4-3 win and knot the series up at two games. The Marlins would win Game 5 and set the stage for the No. 2 moment on my list.

#2 Beckett Shuts Down the Yanks
Image result for josh beckett 2003 world series

In Game 6 of the 2003 World Series, the underdog Florida Marlins entered Yankee Stadium just one win away from their second ever World Series title. On the mound was 23-year-old Josh Beckett working off of three days of rest.

What ensued is regarded as one of the greatest pitching performances in franchise history. Beckett struck out nine Yankees as he threw a complete game shutout to win the World Series for the Marlins. He even took matters into his own hands for the final out as he fielded a slow roller and tagged out batter Jorge Posada to secure the 2-0 victory and the championship! I will never forget celebrating after Beckett made this final out!

Beckett would be named World Series MVP for going 1-1 in the World Series while giving up 2 earned runs in over 16 1⁄3 innings pitched and notching 19 strikeouts.

#1 Edgar Renteria Walks Off
Image result for edgar renteria 1997 world series

Coming in at No.1 is one of the greatest World Series moments in baseball history. After being established in 1993, the Florida Marlins quickly found themselves in the 1997 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland had not won a World Series since 1948 and was looking to end a drought of its own against this upstart team from Miami.

It was an epic series as the Marlins and Indians exchanged wins to set up a winner-take-all Game 7 in Miami. After rallying to tie the game 2-2 with a sac-fly in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Marlins and Indians would play deep into the night to determine the champion of the 1997 season.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, a young Edgar Renteria came to bat with two outs and the bases loaded. The World Series-winning run was just 90 feet away! After being fooled by a curveball on the first pitch, Renteria buckled down and hit the exact same pitch up the middle to end the game and bring the Marlins their first World Series title in franchise history!

Renteria had not just immortalized himself in Marlins' lore, but in baseball lore as well! It was a fitting ending to what had been an incredible game.

I hope you enjoyed this Top 5 article! Obviously the Marlins have been pretty mediocre since winning these two World Series, so it is good to go back and reminisce on how good the franchise once was. It is these moments that make me proud to be a Marlins fan and give me hope that the Fish may reach the promise land again some day.

*All stats accredited to

*All photos accredited to,,,, &