UF roundup: Florida softball falls at LSU

Published: Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 11:56 p.m.

BATON ROUGE, La. — The top-ranked Florida softball team goes for the series win Sunday against No. 25 LSU, who knocked off the Gators 3-2 on Saturday night.

The Gators (27-2, 3-2 SEC) rallied for a 7-6 win in eight innings Friday, thanks to a grand slam from Taylore Fuller. Senior Hannah Rogers pitched the last two frames to improve to 11-1 on the year.

In the eighth, the Gators loaded the bases on a walk to Lauren Haeger and hit-by-pitches by Kristi Merritt and Briana Little, and scored what proved to be the winning run when Justine McLean drew another free pass. Rogers set the Tigers down in order in the bottom of the frame to give the Gators the hard-fought win.

LSU (18-9, 2-3) almost allowed the Gators to rally again in the game Saturday night when Stephanie Tofft hit a two-run home run in the seventh. But the rally ended there.

Sunday's game is set for a 1 p.m. start. CST will televise the game, which also can be heard on AM-1230.

Indoor track & field: Saturday’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships finale was as good as it gets, as the women’s team title was winner take all in the 4x400-meter relay. Florida turned in a fourth-place finish in the event to finish third overall (40.5) at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, while UF’s men additionally solidified a third-place finish in the team race (35). Oregon won both the men’s and women’s indoor titles.

The Gators entered the final day of NCAA Indoor competition in second place with 19 points behind Stanford (22) on the women’s side, and the Gators scored in five events on Saturday to stay in the title hunt down the stretch, including a third-place finish and new school record in the pentathlon from Brittany Harrell (4,287) to provide a spark for the Gators in Saturday’s opening event.

Florida’s women entered the final relay tied for second with Texas (35.5), while Oregon was close behind in fourth (34). All three teams trailed leader Georgia (40.5) – which didn’t have a 4x4 – setting up a thrilling finish for the team title. It was a battle until the end in the final relay, but Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M topped the Gators down the stretch in first, second and third, respectively, to solidify a Ducks championship sweep.

For the Florida women, UF’s third-place team finish was its first top-three finale at the indoor championships since 2005 when the Gators placed second and the Gators’ 40.5 points were the most for a UF women’s squad since 2004’s 51 points. The men’s third-place finish marked six consecutive years as a top-three finisher at indoor nationals.

The Gator men’s squad scored in four individual events to wrap up the final day of NCAA Indoors at the Albuquerque Convention Center, and the finish couldn’t have been closer for men’s senior hurdler and last year’s champion Eddie Lovett in the 60mH. Lovett (7.578) and winner Omar McCleod (7.576) from Arkansas both clocked a 7.58 at the finish, but McLeod’s mark was two-thousandths of a second quicker than Lovett, giving the Gator senior a runner-up finish.

Sophomore Arman Hall made it two individual All-America honors this year indoors with a third-place 400m finish (45.52), while sophomores Antwan Wright and Ryan Schnulle picked up the first All-America honors of their Gator careers with fifth-place finishes in the 60m (6.63) and 800m (1:49.31), respectively.

Lacrosse: No 4. Florida team fell, 17-12, at No. 2 Syracuse after a late rally fell short at the Carrier Dome.

Florida's Nora Barry set a program record with five caused turnovers, Lauren Lea tied a program record with four assists, Shannon Gilroy became No. 3 on the career goals leaderboard and four Gators set a total of six career highs.

The first six minutes of the game featured three lead changes and three ties, with the score knotted at 3 with 14 minutes left. Syracuse closed out the first half with a 5-0 run, to take an 8-3 lead entering the locker room.

Florida started the second half with two quick goals, pulling within three, 8-5, with 28:01 left. The Orange outscored the Gators 7-2 over the following 13 minutes, stretching their advantage to 15-7.

Florida (8-2) answered with a 5-0 run that lasted just under seven minutes and put it within three, 15-12, with 6:54 to play. Syracuse (7-1) then scored the final two goals of the contest.

The Gators return home to host Dartmouth at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Women's golf: Florida's Camilla Hedberg led the way for the second straight day of the SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational. The junior proved consistent on Mark Bostick Golf Course and finished the day a notable 1-over (70-71-141) totaling a tournament-leading nine birdies after round two.

Redshirt sophomore Katie Mitchell improved by 10 strokes in day two, carding a 72 (+2) and rolling off two birdies this afternoon. Competing as an individual for UF, freshman Karolina Vlckova remains in the top-5 individually, sitting at just 3-over heading into the final round.

As a team, UF climbed one spot to finish 10th (597). Kent State was the lone squad to shoot under-par in day two (279) and jumped the team leaderboard from eighth place to first. Marijosse Navarro of Texas A&M fired a 69 in the second round to even her tournament score (71-69-140) and claim the top spot individually.

“The number was better today, but still not what we're capable of,” UF coach Emily Glaser said. “The team played more solid and with more confidence than yesterday. Still, a lot of our mistakes are getting in our own way and you can't do that on a golf course that's playing very difficult or against a good field.”

Men's golf: Florida improved four strokes from Friday's team total to finish round two at the Chris Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., with a 293, but dropped one spot to 12th place. Georgia Southern leads at -14 (562).

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