Gator pitcher pulls a fast one

Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 12:21 a.m.

Justin Hoyman has turned up the heat. The Gators can't wait to see how hot he gets.

Hoyman, the Gators' ace right-handed pitcher, returns for his junior season with a new fastball. Hoyman said he has increased his velocity "a pretty good bit" and has been hitting 94 miles-per-hourmph on the radar gun lately. Last year, he was rarely clocked over 92.

But what Hoyman is really excited about is the 25 pounds of muscle he's added to his frame. At 6-foot-2, Hoyman now weighs close to 200 pounds. He says the added muscle will help with his durability. Last year, Hoyman was 8-6 with an 3.31 ERA while pitching a team-high 111 innings in 16 starts. He seemed to wear down a bit, though, as the season wore on.

"I think (the weight) is going to help my durability," Hoyman said. "Last year, I had a couple of complete games, then when I got into the SEC, by the sixth inning, I would lose some steam."

Said junior outfielder Ben Harrison: "It looks like he's improved a lot since last year. I think he's real excited."

Florida held its first team practice last Friday and will open the season Feb. 7 when Gardner-Webb visits for a two-game series.

  • WOMEN'S HOOPS: Three new teams cracked the women's basketball Top 25 Monday. Florida wasn't won of them. Despite a 61-56 win over South Carolina Thursday, the Gators moved just one spot closer to cracking the Top 25. With 38 votes, Florida is four spots from No. 25 Nebraska.

    The Gators will host Alabama at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Crimson Tide have lost three straight.

  • GYMNASTICS: Florida's gymnastics team fell one spot in the polls Monday despite recording the second-highest score in team history Friday. Florida is now ranked fourth in the country, with an average score of 197.225.

    Alabama (197.150) is ranked first, followed by Georgia (196.837) and Utah (196.825).

    The rankings for the first two polls were done by the team's highest score, while Monday's rankings were determined by the team's average scores this season.

    The Gators take a crack at taking down No. 1 Alabama Friday night in Tuscaloosa. Florida opened the season at Alabama three weeks ago, finishing second in the Super Six Challenge. This time, it's a dual meet with Alabama, and the Gators feel confident.

    "We'll have a lot more confidence, a lot more experience than (in the Super Six)," junior Orley Szmuch said.

  • WORLD RECORD: Weight thrower Erin Gilreath, a former Gator, set the world record in the weight throw at Sunday's SEC Track Invitational in the O'Connell Center.

    Her winning mark of 23.95m/78-7.00. broke the mark of 77-8 1/2 inches set by Dawn Ellerbe in 2000.

    Gilreath lives in her hometown of Williston and is training for the Olympics. She was competing unattached.

  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The top-5 Gator performances from last week.

    5. Gymnastics junior Erinn Dooley had a 9.875 on the vault, 9.925 on the beam and a 9.850 on the floor in Friday's Quad Meet victory at the O'Connell Center.

    4. Florida thrower Candice Scott set the collegiate record in the weight throw at Sunday's SEC Track Invitational with a distance of 22.82m/74-10.50. It broke the record of 22.72m/74-6.50 set the week before by teammate Kim Barrett.

    3. The men's 4x400-meter relay team of Sekou Clarke, Reggie Witherspoon, Rickey Harris and Kerron Clement clocked the nation's fastest time (3:09.42) Sunday at the SEC Track Invitational.

    2. Women's basketball senior Vanessa Hayden recorded her 12th double-double of the season Thursday in a win over South Carolina. Hayden had 28 points and 17 rebounds in just 29 minutes.

    1. Gymnastics junior Orley Szmuch won her ninth career all-around title at the Florida Quad Meet Friday with her total of 39.475.

    You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or by e-mail at zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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