Roundup: UF softball team goes for series win after loss to Ole Miss


OXFORD, Miss. — No. 22 Ole Miss evened the SEC softball series Saturday with No. 6 Florida with an 8-4 win in extra innings.

After playing 15 innings in a UF win Friday night, the Rebels made sure they came out on the winning end in Game 2. The rubber match is at 1 p.m. today.

The Rebels (23-9, 4-3 SEC) went up 3-0 after four innings.

The Gators (29-7, 3-5) then went up 4-3 with a four-run fifth inning, thanks to a solo home run by Jaimie Hoover and a three-run home run by Kendyl Lindaman, the hero of Friday’s game with another three-run home run in the 5-2 win. Lindaman now has 10 home runs in the past 11 games.

Kelly Barnhill (19-4) entered the game in the sixth in relief of starter Eliabeth Hightower with a 4-3 lead to try and close out the game after she had hurled a program-record 15 innings the previous evening. Barnhill retired the Ole Miss side in order in the sixth, but the Rebels found a way to tie the game in the seventh with a two-out bases loaded hit-by-pitch. The home team earned the decision thanks to a two-out walk-off grand slam from Abbey Latham.

Lacrosse: At Philadelphia, the Gators kicked off conference play on a high note, topping Temple 15-8 in the first AAC game for both teams. Florida has won nine-straight conference openers in three different conferences.

“We got out to a slower start than we would have liked today, but the team buckled down and had a strong second half,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Our performance in the draw circle in the second half really sparked the team and I’m proud of the resilience we showed today.”

Grace Haus led the Gators (6-6, 1-0 AAC) on the offensive attack, posting four goals on the day, tying her career-best. Lindsey Ronbeck and Shannon Kavanagh both recorded hat tricks for Florida, helping to secure the victory. Ronbeck became just the third Gator to hit 200 career goals with her second goal of the day. She is the second-fastest Gator to hit that mark, doing so in 70 games.

The Gators controlled the draw circle, winning 15-of-25 draws on the day. Kavanagh led the team with eight draw control wins. Florida’s defense held Temple to 8-of-31 shooting (.258) and caused four turnovers. Haley Hicklen recorded 12 saves on the day, registering a .632 saves percentage against the Owls (3-8, 0-1).

Men’s tennis: At Ring Tennis Complex, No. 2 Florida (16-2 overall) meets No. 7 Texas A&M (17-3, 7-0 SEC) in an SEC Showdown. The match, which will determine the sole possession of first place in the conference, will begin at noon today. The first 100 fans will receive Gators Men’s Tennis seatback chairs. Coffee and donuts will also be complimentary to all fans.

The Gators are 8-0 in the SEC and continue their best start in conference play since 2005. Florida started the 2005 SEC season 11-0 and went on to win the regular season conference title with only one loss.

Men’s swimming and diving: At Austin, Texas, Clark Beach led the Gators on the final day of the 2019 NCAA Championships with a First-Team All-American honor in the 200 Back. Florida closed out the season at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center with a sixth-place finish with 164 points. California won the event with 560 points, Texas was second at 475, Indiana came in third (385.5) followed by North Carolina State (307) and Louisville (212).

For the seventh-straight year, Florida placed the highest of any SEC program at the NCAA Championships.

“I am incredibly proud of this team and their enormous perseverance at this NCAA Championship,” first-year UF coach Anthony Nesty said. “We obviously had some lows and highs, but we ultimately landed on our feet to secure a sixth-place finish.

“As coaches, and I know I speak for the returning athletes, we have much to learn from this past season. We remain dedicated and motivated to pursue our team goals and will work diligently to reach those goals.”

The Gators collected 16 All-American nods, six first-team and 10 honorable mention, throughout the four-day meet. The 800 Free Relay (Baqlah, Smith, Freeman, Rooney), Kieran Smith (200 IM, 400 IM), the 400 Medley Relay (Stokowski, Guarente, Rooney, Main), Maxime Rooney (100 Fly), and Beach (200 Back) all earned First-Team All-American accolades.

The 200 Free Relay (Rooney, Davis, Main, Smith), Trey Freeman (500 Free), Khader Baqlah (500 Free, 200 Free), Grant Sanders (400 IM), Kacper Stokowski (100 Back), 200 Medley Relay (Stokowski, Guarente, Smith, Davis), Robert Finke (1,650 Free), Smith (200 Back), and the 400 Free Relay (Rooney, Smith, Main, Szaranek) all earned honorable mention nods.

Beach followed his Saturday morning swim with another stellar time. He clocked a 1:39.68 and placed sixth in the 200 Back. Beach’s finish earned him a First-Team All-American honor, which is the first All-American nod of his career. Smith recorded a time of 1:41.36 and placed seventh in the consolation final. He tallied his sixth All-American honor.

Finke produced the 12th-best time in the 1,650 Free with a swim of 14:42.75. With his 12th-place swim, he earned an All-American honorable mention accolade, his first All-American honor. Freeman notched a time of 15:06.72 and placed 34th.

The team of Rooney, Smith, Bayley Main, and Jack Szaranek combined for a swim of 2:51.17 and placed fifth in the consolation final of the 400 Free Relay. The squad earned All-American honorable mention status for their performance. Rooney collected his 10th All-American accolade. Smith picked up his seventh All-American nod, while Main tallied his fourth. Szaranek achieved his first All-American honor.

Beach opened the prelims with a bang. He posted the second-fastest time in UF history with his career-best swim of 1:39.37 in the 200 Back. He earned a spot in the A Final with his eighth-place finish. Smith added a personal-best mark of 1:40.86 and placed 16th. He will swim in the consolation final after he posted the ninth-fastest time in program history. Brennan Balogh finished in 21st with an effort of 1:41.22. Kacper Stokowski notched a swim of 1:44.26 and placed 35th.

In the 100 Free prelims, Rooney led the Gators with a swim of 42.20 and placed 18th. Baqlah finished in 28th with a swim of 42.70. Main recorded a personal-best time of 42.76 and finished the prelims in 29th. Will Davis posted a swim of 43.61 and placed 38th.

Sanders led UF in the 200 Breast prelims with his 23rd-place time of 1:54.48. Marco Guarente posted a mark of 1:54.59 and finished right behind Sanders in 24th. With a career-best swim of 1:56.60, Alex Lebed finished the prelims in 42nd. Dillon Hillis finished with a 46th-place effort of 1:57.28.

Rooney posted the fastest time by a Gator with his swim of 1:43.69 and placed 30th in the 200 Fly prelims. Erge Gezmis finished in 37th with an effort of 1:45.15.

The squad of Main, Smith, Baqlah, and Rooney earned a spot in the consolation final. The team placed 12th in the 400 Free Relay prelims with their combined time of 2:50.62.

Men’s golf: At Palo Alto, Calif., Florida closed out The Goodwin tournament with a difficult Saturday at Stanford Golf Course.

After starting the day in the sixth spot on the board, the Gators were cursed by bogeys and some unfortunate triple bogeys that slid them down to finish at 15 in the field of 27. Sophomore Chris Nido remained the highest finisher for the Gators despite carding his highest round of the weekend.

Senior Gordon Neale wasn’t far behind Nido, finishing just one stroke back from him and in a tie for 29. Junior Blake Dyer continued his jump up the leaderboard, moving up another nine spots after yesterday’s jump of 36. Dyer had his second best round of the tournament on the final day.

“We did some good things this week to get ourselves in a competitive spot coming into today,” UF coach JC Deacon said Saturday. “We’ve had trouble closing all season and it was especially tough today. It’s do or die for this team right now. We have the ability to be competitive, we just need to step up. We work way too hard to have this type of result.”

Stanford won the tourney with a 832 -8.