UF roundup: Florida baseball wins at Texas A&M in extras


Florida's Harrison Bader (8) celebrates with teammate Braden Mattson (33) after scoring a run during a game against Florida State at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday. The Gators beat the No. 1 Seminoles, 3-1.

Brad McClenny / Staff photographer
Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:10 a.m.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – It took two extra innings, but the Florida baseball team won its ninth game in 10 tries.

Florida (15-7, 3-1 SEC) plated a pair of runs in the 11th inning to defeat Texas A&M , 5-3, in Game 1 of the teams’ weekend series on Friday night at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

“I am very proud with how we competed tonight, it was exciting," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We had 16 hits on a Friday night, that’s pretty good stuff. We told the guys before the game to relax and have fun. We are starting to play better and I want them to show it.”

Junior Braden Mattson (1-for-4, two RBIs) delivered the go-ahead single with the bases loaded and junior Justin Shafer added insurance with a squeeze bunt single as the Gators improved to 4-0 in extra innings this season.

Led by a 3-for-4 performance from junior Taylor Gushue, the Gators totaled a season-high 16 hits. Junior right-hander Ryan Harris turned in a career-long four-inning stint out of the bullpen in which he yielded one hit and zero runs, freshman A.J. Puk (2-2) picked up the win and sophomore Aaron Rhodes retired the side and had a couple of strikeouts to finish the game and earn his third save.

With the score deadlocked at 3-3 in the 11th, junior Casey Turgeon (2-for-6, two runs) led off with a hit up the middle off of senior Jason Jester (2-1). Sophomore Harrison Bader laid down a bunt to advance Turgeon, but a throwing error left the Gators with two runners aboard instead. After Gushue sacrificed his teammates into scoring position, freshman Peter Alonso (2-for-5) was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Mattson stepped to the plate and roped a 2-2 pitch into right field that brought across Turgeon, and Shafer followed with a squeeze bunt single for the two-run advantage. All nine UF starters had at least one hit and six different players chipped in with multiple-hit outings.

The Gators halted a five-game losing streak to the Aggies (15-8, 1-3 SEC) and picked up their second win in the series’ ninth meeting.

The Gators and Aggies will play the second game of their series Saturday at 3:05 p.m.

Women's NCAA swimming: Florida's Elizabeth Beisel captured the 400 individual medley silver medal and the Gators accumulated five more All-American swims and one more school record to cap the second day at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn.

Florida has earned eight All-American swims and broken four school records is in seventh place heading into the final day. The Gators will need to outscore Southern California by 35 points today for a chance to break into the top five.

Beisel posted her season best time in the 400IM (3:58.84). She was seeded second after coasting to a 4:04.16 in prelims. Beisel finished no lower than third in her career in the event after winning the title in 2013. In addition, her swim of 3:58.84 was lower than her NCAA winning swim from a year ago.

The Gators group of Sinead Russell, Hilda Luthersdottir, Ellese Zalewski and Natalie Hinds finished third in the 200 medley relay in a school record time of 1:35.42. The Gators relied on a strong back half from Zalewski (22.71) and Hinds (21.29), with each split topping the field. The foursome earned the third seed heading into finals after tying the previous school record set from the midseason invite (1:35.96).

Zalewski placed fifth in the 100 butterfly after cranking out a time of 51.50. Zalewski entered the finals as the second seed after touching in prelims in a time of 51.22.

UF's 800 free relay team of Russell, Beisel, Ashlee Linn and Ellese Zalewski placed eighth after notching a time of 7:03.83, which ranks ninth all-time in UF history.

"A lot better of a day today,” UF coach Gregg Troy said. “We came in this morning and swam really well. We put people in position (to score). A little short in a couple of spots where we maybe could have been up one more place.

“A good job this morning and came back in the evening with a record in the medley relay to start the evening off. Elizabeth Beisel had a great 400 IM effort. She was a little short of winning the event, but a tremendous effort and a great swim. It puts us in a pretty good position to be a top-five team if we come in tomorrow and get the job done."

Men's tennis: Florida defeated Auburn, 4-0, at the Ring Tennis Complex.

Senior duo Mike Alford and Florent Diep started it off for the Gators (8-6, 3-2 SEC) by winning a tiebreaker to clinch the doubles point at court two. Auburn fell to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in the SEC.

The bottom of the Gators' singles lineup delivered, as courts four, five and six all finished within three minutes of each other. Alford dominated at No. 5 singles with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Auburn's Joseph Van Dooren. Freshman Elliott Orkin notched a win at No. 6 followed immediately by sophomore Diego Hidalgo, who clinched the match a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Petar Tomic on court four.

“I was really pleased that our guys were able to step up in the important moments in doubles,” UF coach Bryan Shelton said. “For Mike and Flo, being up a break and then losing, and then being up 5-0 in the tiebreaker and then it was 5-all, I think we really showed some toughness there at the end of doubles play. We were able to carry that momentum that Flo and Mike got us from the doubles point into singles.

“Overall, I thought we were pretty sharp on all courts and we competed really well again today. It was a good win over a very good Auburn team.”

UF next hosts Alabama at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Women's tennis: Fifth-ranked Florida got its weekend off to a strong start with a 4-0 win at Auburn (14-4, 4-2 SEC).

The Gators (13-3, 5-1) won the doubles point for the 11th time this year, as the pair of Olivia Janowicz and Kourtney Keegan earned an 8-1 on court two and Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan provided the clinching doubles point with an 8-7 (7-3) decision on court three, after Auburn claimed the victory on court one.

In singles, Florida's Cercone, Sofie Oyen and Keegan captured straight-set wins and secured the dual match victory.

The Gators next play at No. 8 Alabama (14-2, 5-0 SEC) on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Track & field: Just a week after wrapping up the indoor season at the NCAA Championships in Albuquerque, the Gators eased into the outdoor season at the FSU Relays at Mike Long Track in Tallahassee.

UF sent a contingent of hurdlers and middle-distance Gators, and Florida represented well. Freshmen hurdlers Skylar Ross-Ransom (14.09, -1.3) and Yanick Hart (14.15, -1.3) took second and third in the 100 and 100m hurdles, respectively, while UF placed all four women’s hurdlers in the top 10 with Tyjah Eady (14.37, -1.3), Ashley Favors (14.39, -1.3) and Ryann McEnany (14.69, -1.3) in fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively.

Gabriel Aird (49.27) and Tyler Osorio (49.30) both represented the Gators in the 400m with 11th and 12th-place finishes, while the bulk of Florida’s competitors were in the 1500m to cap off UF’s first weekend outdoors.

Florida had four top-10 men’s 1500m finishers, paced by Eddie Garcia’s 3:57.78 fourth-place finish and Florida PR, while Mac Reynolds (3:58.11), Carlos Miranda (3:59.02) and Brian Gorwitz (3:59.86) rounded out UF’s top-10 competitors in seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively.

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