UF Roundup: Gators host LSU

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FILE — Florida's Head Coach Tim Walton, the Gator dugout, and Gator fans all cheer as Florida's Nicole DeWitt headed for home to win. [Cyndi Chambers/Corresponde­nt/Gainesville Sun]

It’s another matchup of highly ranked college softball teams at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, where No. 5 Florida will entertain No. 14 LSU starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. All three games will be televised, Friday on the SEC Network, while ESPN2 will handle both Saturday and Sunday noon games.

The Gators (42-7, 15-3 SEC) will hold their Senior Day recognition prior to the game against the Tigers (36-11, 9-8) on Saturday.

Florida enters this weekend’s series after taking the final game of the 2018 Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown against No. 8 Florida State on Wednesday, 5-1. Amanda Lorenz, week’s SEC Player of the Week, leads the Gators with a .636 batting average along with a 1.455 slugging and .714 on base percentage. In the series opener against Mississippi State, she went 4-for-4 and was a double shy of the cycle then blasted her second grand slam of the season in game.

MEN’S GOLF

Gators move up to 8th

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The Gators enter the final day of stroke play in match play position as they jumped up four spots on the leaderboard.

Florida was one of just four teams to card a round under par Thursday boosting them into eighth place.

In total, the Gators poured in 16 birdies on the day to help improve their team score by 15 strokes from day one (571 +11). Florida was also able to minimize its mistakes on day two as four players finished even par or better, the only team in the field to do so.

“They are determined,” UF coach JC Deacon said of his team. “They are really good players and I know they don’t want the SEC year to end like that. today was a nice step and we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Hopefully, it is going to be a long week for us, but today was a great first step.”

Once again, the Gators were paced by Andy Zhang who shot a team best 70 (-2) boosting him 11 spots into a tie for seventh. Zhang will enter the final day four shots off leader Cecil Wegener of Ole Miss.

In front of him on the course, John Axelsen, Gordon Neale and Alejandro Tosti all fired even par rounds. All three moved up at least 10 spots on the leaderboard with Tosti making the biggest leap of 17 spots.

“Great players find a way to play well on the biggest days and we have a bunch of great players,” Deacon said.

LSU (557 -3) had three players shoot par or better in the second round as the Tigers moved to the top of the team leaderboard.

MEN’S TENNIS

Gators in quarterfinals

The Florida men’s tennis team will begin their quest for an SEC Tournament title Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The third seed Gators (15-8) will play sixth-seeded Vanderbilt (17-7) at 1 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals.

Florida has controlled this series with a 42-9-1 overall record, including a 4-3 win March 18 in Nashville. Florida is 9-1 against Vanderbilt in the last 10 meetings.