Roundup: UF 4th after 1st day of NCAA Indoors
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Florida sophomore Marquis Dendy jumped a personal-best 27 feet, 2 inches to win the long jump and give the three-time defending champion Gators a boost heading into today's final day of competition at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Dendy won the SEC meet in the Randal Tyson Track Complex two weeks ago, but he was determined not to repeat last year — when he finished eighth nationally as a freshman. He had no problems on Friday, even after opening with two fouls, and extended his mark for the longest jump in the world this year.
“Last year, I was still pretty young,” Dendy said. “... I was just like raw, raw talent. I'm older, I feel like I'm stronger and just have this experience that has led me to be a better athlete.”
Arkansas sophomore Andrew Irwin defended his pole vault championship with a personal-best 18 feet, 8 ¼ inches to help the Razorbacks take the overall lead after the first day.
With more than half of the event finals remaining, the top-ranked Razorbacks had 30 points to lead the men's competition. Texas Tech was second with 18, while Wisconsin had 15 and Florida 14.
Arkansas has won seven of the last eight SEC indoor titles, but the school — which is tops in NCAA history with 19 indoor championships — hasn't won a national title since 2006. Irwin hopes his 10 points on Friday help the Razorbacks win their first under coach Chris Bucknam, who took over the program in 2008.
Arkansas lost by five points to the Gators last year.
“We die-hard want to win this one,” Irwin said. “We want to win it so bad. Just going to indoor nationals last year and losing by five points ... We've got a really good team this year, so I think we might be able to pull it out here.”
SOFTBALL: At Auburn, Ala., the No. 4 Florida softball squad opened the 2013 SEC schedule with a 13-0, five-inning victory over Auburn on Friday at Jane B. Moore Field to kick off the series between the two teams.
The Gators used 10 hits and drew eight walks to seal the victory over the Tigers and improve to 24-1 on the season with their first league win of the season.
With their victory Friday, the Gators are now 24-9 all-time on SEC opening day and 11-4 under head coach Tim Walton in league openers. The run-rule win marked UF's eighth of the season.
Junior hurler Hannah Rogers and sophomore righty Alyssa Bache combined for the shutout, Rogers earning the win to improve to 12-1 after four innings of scoreless work to start things off for UF. The righty gave up just two hits and fanned six before Bache came on to close it out in the fifth and final frame. Bache held the Tigers scoreless, allowing just one Auburn hit in the final stanza.
Sophomores Briana Little and Lauren Haeger led Florida at the plate, Little with a perfect 2-for-2 performance, one RBI, four runs scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, while Haeger went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a three-run homer in the fourth. Sophomore Bailey Castro also knocked one out with her second pinch-hit grand slam of the season over the scoreboard and beyond in left-center in the fourth inning, upping UF's grand slam total to six this season.
Florida and Auburn will play at 2 p.m. today in the second game of the series.
MEN'S TENNIS: At Columbia, S.C., the Florida men's tennis team got tripped up in its first SEC road match, falling to South Carolina, 4-3. UF drops to 7-5 on the season and is now 1-1 in league play. The Gamecocks improve to 11-5 and 1-1 in the conference.
The Gators got off to a promising start in doubles. On court one, the UF pair of Stephane Piro and Bob van Overbeek jumped out to a quick lead and beat South Carolina's Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov, 8-4. Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson then clinched the doubles point for Florida with an 8-4 win over Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies on court two.
In singles, Florida extended its lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win from Federhofer at No. 6 singles. South Carolina responded, as Koch defeated Watson at No. 5 singles, 6-4, 6-3. After exchanging points on courts one and three, the Gators held a 3-2 lead with two matches still on court.
After winning the first set on No. 4 singles, Mike Alford couldn't hang on against the Gamecocks' Thiago Pinheiro, losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The final match on court was between UF's Diep and South Carolina's Andrew Adams at No. 2 singles. Diep easily won the first set, 6-1, but Adams fought back and took the second set, 7-5. In the deciding set, Adams outlasted Diep 6-3 to clinch the team victory.
MEN'S GOLF: At Las Vegas., despite the troublesome weather conditions, No. 8 Florida men's golf team is tied for sixth place after the first day of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters at the Southern Highlands Golf Club.
The team recorded a 292 (+4) for the first round at the par-72, 7,510 yard course.
The weather was not cooperating for the majority of the day. Play was delayed early in the day because of rain. When play did resume the temperature had dipped below 50 degrees and there were gusts of wind nearing 20 mph. The conditions made life hard for the field as only 11 of 81 golfers were able to record scores under-par.
Sophomore Eric Banks was the team's lowest scorer, recording four birdies against three bogeys en route to a 1-under 71 on the day. It marked his second round below par this season. Banks is tied for seventh place after one round.