Tuesday July 2, 2013Donovan-led U.S. team defeats Australia, remains unbeaten at U19 World Championships
Updated: 7:26pm, July 2
Welcome to Carter's Corner!
Updated: 7:26pm, July 2
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Billy Donovan-led U.S. team competing in the FIBA U19 World Championships is winning a lot like Donovan's Florida teams do.
By playing excellent defense.
The U.S. throttled its fifth consecutive opponent on Tuesday, defeating Australia 94-51 in Prague. The Americans limited Australia to 32.8 percent shooting and broke the game open by outscoring Australia 31-8 in the second quarter.
"Our guys came out with a lot more energy [than in Monday's 91-66 win over Brazil]," Donovan told USA Basketball. "Certainly the difference in the game was our defense. We forced 18 turnovers in the first half. I thought we did a good job of guarding them from behind the 3-point line; we didn’t give up a lot of 3s. In the second half I thought we came out to another good start. This was a little bit more of a complete game for us."
Five players scored in double figures for the U.S., led by Aaron Gordon's 15 points. Gordon is an Arizona commit.
Gators sophomore guard Michael Frazier scored five points, added two rebounds and one assist off the bench. Frazier played 12 minutes and hit 2 of 5 shots, including 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Tuesday's game was tied at 9 early until the U.S. blew it open with defensive pressure. Frazier told USA Basketball the team's defense has been its best weapon in the tournament.
"We have a target on our backs so these teams are going to give us their best shot coming out,'' Frazier said Tuesday. "So we’ve got to keep the pedal to the medal and keep our defensive pressure up and hopefully wear teams out."
Up next for the U.S. team is Serbia, which also improved to 5-0 on Tuesday with a victory over China.
Donovan expects Wednesday's matchup to be his team's most difficult in the tournament thus far.
"I think clearly they are one of the better teams here and I think our guys understand and realize this is going to be a great challenge for our team,'' Donovan said. "We know we have a lot to get prepared for and we’re going against a team that has been together for awhile, plays really well together, really good defensively and really puts you into a lot of binds defensively."
Click here for the box score from the U.S.'s 94-51 win over Australia on Tuesday.
Click here for quotes from the game.
Click here for video from the game.
Click here for a photo gallery from the game.
Updated: 9:52am, July 2
Triple jumper and Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor, a former UF star, is the subject of an upcoming documentary.
Former UF sprinter Novlene Williams-Mills is someone many die-hard Gator fans may not be that familiar with.
Williams-Mills, a native of Jamaica, spent two years at UF as a 400-meter specialist in 2003-04 after transferring from Essex County (N.J.) College.
She competed in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, winning bronze as a member of Jamaica's 4x400 relay team last summer in London.
Here is what has made Williams-Mills an international story this week: she revealed to the U.K.'s Daily Mail this week that she won that bronze knowing she had breast cancer.
To read more about Williams-Mills' journey over the past year, click here to read her story by columnist Laura Williamson on DailyMail.co.uk.
Here are more Gator-related links from around the Internet for your perusal this Tuesday morning:
--Baltimore Ravens receiver Deonte Thompson, in his second season after leaving UF, is trying to make his mark with Anquan Boldin gone writes Matt Porter of The Palm Beach Post.
--The success of Florida's lacrosse team the past four years hasn't gone unnoticed by other programs. Former UF player Gabi Weigand is the second player from last year's team to be hired as an assistant coach since the end of last season.
--Weigand's former UF teammate, Ashley Bruns, joined Campbell's coaching staff recently.
--VIDEO: Former Gators F Erik Murphy, selected in the second round of last week's NBA Draft, was officially introduced to fans by the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
--Former UF basketball player Alex Tyus has a new contract overseas.
--According to veteran Yahoo! Sports NBA reporter, Golden State is exploring trading All-Star and former Gator standout David Lee.
--San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami writes about the reality of trying to trade Lee, a double-double machine for the Warriors.
--Former SEC Player of Year Chandler Parsons is playing a key role as Houston tries to lure Lakers center Dwight Howard writes the Houston Chronicle.
--Former UF student-athletes Abby Wambach (best record-breaking performance) and Ryan Lochte (top U.S. Male Olympian) are up for ESPY awards. Voting is open until July 17.
Updated: 4:44pm, July 1
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Billy Donovan-led U.S. U19 Team playing in the FIBA World Championships won its first three games in Prague by margins of 59, 56 and 68 points.
The Ivory Coast, China and Russia offered little resistance as the U.S. stomped into the second round of the tournament Monday to face Brazil.
If the Brazilians are into moral victories, they can take solace in keeping the Americans within 30 points. The U.S. improved to 4-0 with a 91-66 win Monday afternoon. Eight players scored seven or more points for the U.S. as Donovan’s squad advanced to face Australia on Tuesday (2:15 p.m. ET).
Following Saturday’s 115-47 dismantling of Russia, Donovan was pleased at how quickly his team has developed.
“I think we’re getting better and the chemistry to me is something that’s been great,’’ he said. “I think our guys understand that we’ve got 12 good players and probably fewer minutes from everyone is going to be more for our team in just trying to play at a high intensity level.”
Gators sophomore guard Michael Frazier scored five points Monday, hitting 2 of 12 shots and 1 of 9 from 3-point range. Frazier has struggled with his shot in the tournament as have several of his teammates. Frazier is shooing 8-for-35 (22.8 percent) in the first four games.
Still, the Americans are winning with a stifling pressure defense that limited Brazil to 35 percent shooting Monday.
The U.S. is trying to win the U19 World Championship for only the second time in the last seven tournaments.
You can click here for a photo gallery from the USA’s 91-66 victory.
Hey folks, the Summer B semester starts at UF today, which means football season is getting closer and closer. The incoming freshmen start classes and begin to get acclimated to life on campus.
Fall camp opens the first week of August, and then, you know … Toledo comes to The Swamp for the season opener on Aug. 31.
For now, let’s take a look at some fresh Gator-related links from around the Internet for your perusal this morning:
--Former Gators Reggie Nelson and Joe Cohen are united by football and karate writes Florida Today columnist John Torres.
--Bulls All-Star Joakim Noah got fired up when he heard Chicago selected Gators F Erik Murphy in last week’s NBA Draft writes The Chicago Tribune.
--ICYMI, former Gators C Mike Zunino got the first walk-off hit of his young big-league career on Friday night in Seattle’s win over the Cubs. Watch Zunino’s big moment here.
--Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison has agreed to deferred prosecution on battery charges related to a recent incident at a Gainesville night spot writes ESPN.com.
--Cavaliers F Marreese Speights, a former UF player, opted out of the final year of his contract with Cleveland writes the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer.
--The FINA World Championships in Barcelona later this month are going to be busy for former Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte writes Nick Zaccardi of NBCSports.com.
--Former UF swimmer Conor Dwyer has been training with Frenchman Yannick Agnel and the results were impressive at the U.S. Championships writes Philip Hersh of The Chicago Tribune.
--Former Gators LB Mike Peterson was back in Gainesville over the weekend for his annual camp writes John Boothe of the Gainesville Sun.
--Former Gators QB John Brantley tells Ocala.com he is as shocked as everyone else about his former UF teammate Aaron Hernandez being charged with murder. Meanwhile, Brantley continues to work with young quarterbacks during his summer camp on Ocala.
--ICYMI, former UF hurlers Brian Johnson and Austin Maddox trying to get healthy in their second seasons in professional ball pitching for the Greenville Drive writes SBNation.com blog OverTheMonster.com.
Updated: 9:32am, June 29
Florida's baseball team celebrates clinching a trip to the 2011 College World Series.
It’s hardly a revelation the Gators draw well on TV.
The Florida football team has been a staple on national television for more than two decades and since Billy Donovan took over the men’s basketball program, the Gators’ status in the offices of TV executives around the country has improved tremendously.
Winning attracts eyeballs that might not normally pay as much attention as those of alumni and die-hard fans.
Still, it’s always interesting to see how the Gators fare in the TV ratings compared to other programs.
Based on figures reported Friday by SportsMediaWatch.com, the Gators baseball program is evidently a good TV draw, too.
The TV ratings for this year’s College World Series featuring UCLA and Mississippi State were down significantly compared to two years ago when the Gators faced SEC rival South Carolina for the title. Game 2 of this year’s CWS drew 1.3 million viewers on ESPN Tuesday night according to Sports Media Watch, 900,000 fewer than the 2.2 million viewers who tuned into Game 2 of the Gators-Gamecocks series in 2011.
Game 2 of the 2012 CWS between Arizona and South Carolina drew about 2.2 million viewers, 37 percent more than this year’s Game 2 and about 100,000 fewer viewers than the Florida-South Carolina Game 2 from 2011.
According to Sports Media Watch, UCLA’s series-clinching win earned the smallest audience for any game of the CWS final since the South Carolina-UCLA Game 1 in 2010 (1.2 million).
Meanwhile, Game 1 between UCLA and Mississippi State on Monday drew 1.6 million viewers, an increase of 7 percent over Game 1 in 2012 between Arizona and South Carolina on ESPN2. However, this year’s Game 1 was 28 percent less than the 2.2 million who watched Game 1 in 2011 when the Gators faced South Carolina.
Based on those figures, the Gators continue to be a good TV draw regardless of the sport.
Updated: 1:41pm, June 28
Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan is in Prague coaching the U.S. U-19 team at World Championships.
A few links for your perusal this morning, starting with Billy Donovan's U.S. squad playing in the U-19 World Championships in Prague:
--Team USA cruised to an 88-29 win over Ivory Coast in its opener and Billy D was pleased with the D.
--Former Gators forward Erik Murphy and fellow draftee Tony Snell (New Mexico) added some much-needed shooters to the Bulls' roster writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
--VIDEO: Veteran NBA scribe Sam Smith discusses Chicago's draft on Bulls.com.
--OnlyGators.com caught up with Murphy after Thursday night's draft and posted Twitter reaction to Chicago taking Murphy at 49th overall.
--Gator swimmer Elizabeth Beisel and Maya DiRado staged a classic race in the 400 IM at Thursday's U.S. National Championships writes SwimVortex.com.
--Time to stop playing blame game for who failed Aaron Hernandez writes Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com.
--Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley writes how the snowball effect is real in college football, which was a positive for UF in Will Muschamp's second season.
--The promotion of former Gators OF Preston Tucker has a prominent Astros blog (The Crawfish Boxes) on SBNation.com taking a closer look at Tucker's projections.
Updated: 9:45am, June 26
Ryan Lochte won't be in Gainesville as much in coming months as he was during his reality TV show.
Here are a few links for your perusal on this Wednesday morning discussing items of interest to Gator fans:
--Former UF swimmer Ryan Lochte is back in the pool instead of on the small screen this week at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis. Lochte plans to make some changes leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics writes Kelly Whiteside of USA Today.
--Speaking of another former UF swimmer, if Dara Torres is a dog lover and is looking for a new pet, the Craven County (N.C.) Animal Shelter has a beagle-mix dog named after Torres up for adoption. Click here for a story from the New Bern (N.C.) Sun Journal.
--Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley discusses UF's drug policy in wake of the troubles of former Gator tight end Aaron Hernandez. Click here for Foley's comments in a column by Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News on whether the SEC needs a league-wide drug policy.
--UF right-hander Johnny Magliozzi signs with the New York Mets and Mets blog AmazinAvenue.com offers its scouting report on Mags, a 17th-round draft pick who will start his career with Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League.
--Former Gators guard Kenny Boynton a long shot to get drafted but hopes to play in NBA writes Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel (via the Kansas City Star's website).
--Gators coach Billy Donovan is leading the U.S. U-19 team in the FIBA World Championships this week. ESPN.com analyst Fran Fraschilla writes about the challenges the U.S. squad faces.
--Longtime NFL reporter Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com writes that former Gators safety Matt Elam's hard-hitting style fits the Ravens' style.
--There has been -- and will be -- a lot of speculation that Tim Tebow could move to TE in wake of Hernandez's trouble and Rob Gronkowski's shaky health, but early signs point to the opposite according to this The Sporting News report.
Updated: 3:39pm, June 25
Kenny Boynton finished as UF's second all-time leading scorer and hopes to make an NBA roster.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With Gators coach Billy Donovan in Prague preparing the U.S. team for the FIBA U-19 World Championships, Florida assistant Matt McCall spoke to reporters on Monday’s SEC media teleconference.
Donovan’s U.S. squad, which features Gators guard Michael Frazier, opens play Thursday against Ivory Coast. Meanwhile, Frazier’s teammates welcomed a new member to town this week: freshman point guard Kasey Hill.
Hill was scheduled for orientation Tuesday and will start classes when the Summer B semester opens next week.
“Obviously this is an exciting time when you’re able to get some of your new guys on campus and have your old guys back and start working with them here,” McCall said.
The most notable item from McCall’s conference call related to signee Chris Walker, a McDonald’s All-American expected to join Hill in this year’s freshman class.
Walker’s status remains uncertain as he works toward fulfilling the academic requirements for admission to Florida. A product of Holmes County High in the Florida panhandle, Walker is a 6-foot-9 forward and one of the most highly touted recruits in the country.
“Chris is still working toward some different things academically,’’ McCall said. “I think the biggest thing [is] everything has to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse. We should have some more information later on in the summer. Right now, he’s continuing to work. The one thing I will say about Chris is that he is committed to the process and he has really done an unbelievable job.”
CBSSports.com columnist Gary Parrish has more on Walker in this column.
As for the Donovan-led U.S. under-19 team in Prague, The Washington Post’s Brandon Parker writes that Jahlil Okafor and Jerami Grant should play key roles for the U.S.
Finally, in other news from the SEC conference call, Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville Sun gauged how coaches feel about the new block-charge rule in college basketball.
“If it helps the officials, then great, because it is one of the more inconsistent calls in the game right now,’’ McCall said. “If it helps that call become more consistent, then I'd think we'd be all for it.”
The NBA Draft is Thursday and Gators guard Kenny Boynton, the second all-time leading scorer in school history, hopes to hear his name called.
Boynton news has been relatively quiet leading up to the draft. He has worked out for several teams, including the Bulls, Rockets, Timberwolves, Magic and Blazers.
I did come across this radio interview Boynton did with Sports Talk 180 in Orlando prior to his workout for the Magic.
Asked if his shooting ability was what would get him drafted, Boynton said the Bulls and Timberwolves both told him after workouts that his touch had improved since Florida’s season ended.
Still, he said there is another part of his game that can help him earn a spot in the NBA.
“I take a lot of pride in my defense,’’ Boynton said. “I would say definitely my defense is a top strength of mine.”
As for the potential of going undrafted, Boynton said that won’t stop him from working toward the NBA.
“Whether it’s second round or undrafted, I’m just relentless and I wanna make a roster any way possible,’’ he said. “I know I have the talent to do so, I just have to put it forth and keep pushing.”
Hey folks, back after a couple of days in Bonita Springs to unwind.
This has nothing to do with the Gators, but sad to hear of James Gandolfini’s death. “The Sopranos” is one of my all-time Top 10 TV shows. I was so unplugged that I didn’t hear about it until a day later. RIP James Gandolfini.
For those like me who still need some time away once in a while from the laptop, iPhone, BlackBerry, Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram or whatever device you stay connected to, let’s get caught up on some news and nuggets of interest to Gator fans:
--Gators freshman Arman Hall ran his way onto the national -- and international -- radar with a third-place performance Saturday in the 400-meter finals at the U.S. Track & Field Outdoor National Finals. The 19-year-old Hall finished behind winner LaShawn Merritt and former Gator sprinter Tony McQuay as all three advanced to the World Championships in Moscow in August.
A video interview with Hall, one of the surprises for Team USA at the meet:
--The Sporting News unveiled its list of The 25 Best College Football Players for 2013 recently. Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy made the list.
TSN on Purifoy: The best pure cover corner in the game, and a physical tackler. A dynamic player with the ball in his hands, or off the edge as a blitzer.
--ESPN.com blogger Ed Aschoff examines TSN's ranking of the best 25 players, focusing on the nine SEC players.
--Excellent column here by SI.com's Grant Wahl on former Gators soccer standout Abby Wambach, now the greatest goal scorer the women's game has known.
--Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan and guard Michael Frazier are in Pragua for the FIBA U-19 World Championships. ESPN.com hoops analyst Andy Katz breaks down the roster Donovan has as Team USA's head coach.
--Former Gators swimmer Conor Dwyer has built an impressive pro career writes SwimSwam.com.
--Gators women's basketball player Sydney Moss, one of UF's most impressive players a season ago, has opted to transfer writes Phil Heilman of the Independent Florida Alligator.
--Former Gator Bradley Beal tells The Washington Post 'you have to be patient' as he tries to rebound from a leg injury. Beal hopes to be back on the court very soon after his rookie season was cut short due to the injury.
--How does the short-term future of the Gators football program rank in the SEC? ESPN.com offers its view of Future SEC Power Rankings.
--The reports continue to flow out of North Attleborough, Mass., related to current New England/former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez and his connections to a murder victim. Still too early to know how this all plays out but here is latest report from USA Today this morning.
--Cool story here from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on former Gators star Al Horford and his younger brother Jon, who plays for Michigan, running a camp in their hometown.
--Andy Kent of Dolphins.com catches up with former Gators K Caleb Sturgis to talk about the rookie's prospects in his his first NFL season.
--Former Gators safety Josh Evans, now a rookie with Jacksonville, expects Florida QB Jeff Driskel to take over this year writes the Orlando Sentinel's Edgar Thompson.
--Longtime Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel NBA reporter Ira Winderman takes a look at contract status of players on NBA champion Miami Heat, including former Gators Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.
--Former UF pitcher Darren O'Day, now with the Orioles, and Toronto slugger Jose Bautista had a good yapfest during the weekend series between the AL East rivals.
--The Gainesville Sun's Kevin Brockway writes that incoming freshman G Kasey Hill is enrolled and begins orientation this week.
Former Gators right-hander Jonathon Crawford is now a Connecticut Tiger.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – One of the lasting images I have of Jonathon Crawford as a Gator – besides that no-hitter he tossed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament – came during the flight home from the Bloomington (Ind.) Regional earlier this month.
Crawford was just another college kid that night dressed in team-issued khakis and a polo shirt, napping most of the flight home in the aisle across from where I sat. Before taking off he huddled with a few others to watch the UF softball team’s epic game against Nebraska in the College World Series.
He woke when we landed in Gainesville and to everyone’s surprise, the softball game was still on, so Crawford watched it on a fellow traveler’s iPhone as we waited to exit the plane. He then grabbed his bags and boarded the team bus for the ride back to campus with his teammates.
I remember wondering if Crawford, projected to go high in the draft, had any idea what the next few days were going to be like.
That was June 1.
In the 17 days since, Crawford’s life has moved faster than his 95-mph fastball.
Five days after making his final start for the Gators on May 31, the junior right-hander from Okeechobee was at home when the Tigers called to say they planned to draft him with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the MLB First-Year Players Draft.
As a first-round draft pick, Crawford was guaranteed to become a millionaire if he inked a deal. He did so Friday, signing a contract that paid him a bonus of just more than $2 million according to Baseball America.
Crawford signed the contract at home in Okeechobee on Friday, traveled to Detroit’s spring training home in Lakeland for a physical Saturday morning, and then boarded a flight for Norwich, Conn., Saturday afternoon.
He worked out with his new teammates on the Connecticut Tigers, Detroit’s low-A team in the New York-Penn League, later that day.
That is what you call first-round treatment.
“It’s about time we get a first-round pick,’’ Connecticut manager Andrew Graham told the Norwich Bulletin. “I’m looking forward to seeing Crawford in action.”
Norwich opened the season Monday night against the Lowell (Mass.) Spinners, the same New York-Penn League team three of Crawford’s former UF teammates – Austin Maddox, Greg Larson and Brian Johnson – began their professional careers with a year ago.
That is life for a college player turned pro. One week you’re in Omaha, the next week in Oneonta.
Crawford can expect to make his first appearance soon for the Tigers, who face Lowell again Tuesday night. While Crawford’s past two weeks have been life altering, the real work is just beginning.
The Tigers drafted him hoping one day that he will call Comerica Park home, maybe even take over as the team’s ace and develop into the next Justin Verlander.
That’s a lofty goal Crawford can at least dream about during sleepy bus rides in the minors. For now, he is busy playing for his new team and learning how to be a professional.
If he needs any advice from Verlander, maybe he can ask one of his new teammates for his number: outfielder Ben Verlander, Justin’s younger brother.
Found the video above on YouTube this morning. Enjoy as the countdown toward the season opener against Toledo continues ... 73 days, 12 hours, and counting as of this writing. Also, some links of interest for Gator fans as lunch approaches on this Tuesday afternoon:
--Gators men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan is trying to build team chemistry in a short time in his role as head coach of the USA Basketball U19 World Championships team writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.
--Meanwhile, Donovan said recently suspended Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin “needs to prove that he wants to be part of the team” in this story from the Sun.
--Found this five-part series on college football’s targeting rule from Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (Ala.) News interesting.
--According to an ESPN SportsNation poll, South Carolina QB Connor Shaw, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Florida’s Jeff Driskel will be the three most-improved QBs in the SEC next season.
--Gators sophomore LB Antonio Morrison, projected to be one of UF’s top defensive players, is facing off-the-field trouble writes Ed Aschoff of ESPN.com.
--The Angels nearly once drafted Tim Tebow to play baseball writes NFL.com.
--Former Gators catcher Mike Zunino is getting trial by fire in his first week in the majors writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
--If you want to keep up with how former Gators are doing in the professional ranks, UF baseball SID John Hines has created a page on GatorZone that makes it easy.
--Columnist Stu Whitney of Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader writes about former Gators standout Mike Miller and his revival as a clutch long-distance shooter. The Heat will need him in Game 6vs. Spurs.
--Former Gators forward Erik Murphy continues his path toward the NBA Draft in his latest blog entry for OnlyGators.com.
--Former Gators guard Kenny Boynton, who finished his career as the program’s all-second second-leading scorer, worked out for Portland on Monday.
--Vikings.com caught up with former Gators DT Sharrif Floyd on his progress after 10 OTAs (organized team activities). Click here for the page where the VIDEO interview is with Floyd.
Updated: 9:31am, June 16
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If you are a golf fan and enjoy a good drama on TV, today is your lucky day.
The final round of the U.S. Open at quirky Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., is must-see TV.
There is also UF connection to keep you interested. Former Gators golfer Billy Horschel is in the mix behind leader Phil Mickelson entering today's final round.
Horschel is one of the up-and-comers on the PGA Tour and is in contention for his first major.
Here is more info on Horschel and other UF connections this Sunday morning:
--Horschel finally missed a green on Saturday, but he remains in contention on Sunday writes Florida Today.
--For more on Horschel's precision approach shots this week, check out this story by Brendan Prunty of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.
--Gators sophomore guard Michael Frazier is getting a shot to play for Gators coach Billy Donovan on the USA Basketball U19 squad writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.
--Former Gators soccer star Abby Wambach scored her 156th career international goal Saturday in the U.S.'s 4-1 win over South Korea at Gillette Stadium. Wambach is only two behind Mia Hamm's American record writes the AP via USA Today.
--In case you missed it, former Gators catcher Mike Zunino only needed two games in the big leagues to hit his first home run writes Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. (Link to video of Zunino's homer)
--Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow returned home to the Sunshine State to hone his game prior to signing with New England writes The Boston Herald.
--Gators triple jumper Omar Craddock's UF career is over but his place in the school record book is safe writes Gordon Streisand of the Independent Florida Alligator.
--Former Gators safety Matt Elam picked off Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco during minicamp but forgot to run on the return -- one of his few mistakes writes Ravens.com.
--Former Gators volleyball All-American Kelly Murphy helped the U.S. and coach Karch Kiraly advance to the Pan American Cup in Lima, Peru.
Updated: 2:54pm, June 14
Gators men's track coach Mike Holloway, right, and Texas A&M coach Pat Henry pose with the NCAA title trophy.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators track coach Mike Holloway has already moved on to the next stop on his schedule, the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships starting Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Holloway is the men’s head coach for Team USA.
As for the hardware the UF men’s team won Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., it should be in the Lemerand Center when Holloway returns.
The Gators used a dramatic win in the 4x400-meter relay – the final event of the meet – to share the national title with Texas A&M. It marked the first time in 35 years the event featured co-national champions (UCLA and UTEP shared the title in 1978).
At the awards presentation, Holloway and Aggies coach Pat Henry both held the trophy as photographers took their photo to commemorate the national title.
With only one national championship trophy on site, a coin flip determined which school got to bring the trophy home.
“Tails never fails and it failed me this time,” Holloway said this week. “It's no big deal. It doesn't change the moment at all. I'm just embracing this group of young people and the time and the effort and the energy they put into this championship.”
Since the coin landed on heads, Henry and the Aggies left Eugene with the trophy. Athletes and coaches from both schools received championship shirts and hats.
NCAA officials will ship Florida’s trophy to campus in the next few days.
The Gators don’t seem to mind. Not after pulling off a stirring comeback for their second consecutive national outdoor title and fifth title in the past four years. The Gators men’s team won Indoor titles from 2010-12.
“All I know is we're all getting rings,” said Arman Hall, who ran the final leg in the 4x400. “So that's the only thing we really care about. Sure, we would like to have the trophy in our stand, but in our mind, we won it.”
Updated: 3:41pm, June 13
Mike Zunino made his major league debut on Wednesday night for Seattle.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Former Gators catcher Mike Zunino, the third overall pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, made his major league debut Wednesday night for the Seattle Mariners.
Zunino arrived at Safeco Field to much ballyhoo for an organization in need of a jolt. Seattle fans got a glimpse of what Gator fans saw for three years.
In his first game, Zunino went 1-for-4, picking up his first career hit with a single up the middle off Houston starter Jordan Lyles. Zunino also threw out a runner attempting to steal in Seattle’s 6-1 loss.
The game was a classic pitchers’ duel as Zunino and Mariners starter Jeremy Bonderman worked well together during Bonderman’s eight shutout innings. However, Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen faltered in the ninth as Houston scored six runs.
Zunino became the 56th player in UF baseball history to reach the majors. With that in my mind, it got me thinking about the best major league lineup you could pencil in using only Florida players.
Maybe one day Zunino or Paco Rodriguez or Nick Maronde or others from recent Florida teams will make the cut, but as of now, here is the best lineup this manager came up with using only former Gators who played in the majors:
C Mike Stanley
Stanley played at UF from 1982-85 and made his major league debut in ’86 with the Texas Rangers. Stanley played 15 seasons in the big leagues – the longest tenure of any player in UF history – making stops in Texas, New York (Yankees), Boston, Toronto and Oakland. Stanley enjoyed the most success during his four seasons with the Yankees from 1992-95. Stanley hit 26 home runs and drove in 84 runs in 1993 and earned a spot on the American League All-Star Team in 1995.
1B Herbert Perry
Perry made his big league debut in 1994 with Cleveland after playing at UF from 1988-91. He started his career as a utility player for the Indians and played in the 1995 World Series. He later spent time with Tampa Bay, Chicago (White Sox) and Texas before playing his final game in September 2004 with the Rangers. Perry’s best season came in 2002 with the Rangers when he hit 22 home runs and had 77 RBIs.
2B Robby Thompson
Thompson played at Florida in 1983 after starting his college career at Palm Beach Community College. He was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the ’83 draft and made his debut with San Francisco on April 8, 1986. He was a mainstay in the Giants’ lineup for the next 11 seasons, retiring after the 1996 season. Thompson finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1986 and made two All-Star teams (’88, ’93). His best season was 1993 when he won a Gold Glove and had his most productive season at the plate with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs as the Giants won 103 games but finished second to the Braves in the NL West in the last great pennant race before the wild card was adopted by MLB. Thompson was in Seattle’s dugout Wednesday night during Zunino’s debut. He is the Mariners’ bench coach.
(Note: This position was probably the toughest since former Gators INF Mark Ellis also plays second base and has put together a career comparable to Thompson's. Ellis is the utility player on this team).
SS David Eckstein
A former walk-on at UF, Eckstein is one of the most well-known inspirational stories in baseball history. The 5-foot-6, 170-pound Eckstein made his mark with the Gators from 1994-97 and after working his way up the minors, he made his major league debut with the Angels in 2001. In his second season in the majors he finished 11th in the AL MVP race and helped the Angels beat the Giants in the World Series. Eckstein won another World Series with the Cardinals in 2006, earning MVP honors for hitting .364 with three doubles and four RBIs in the series. He finished his career in 2010 after playing 1,311 games in 10 seasons.
3B Al Rosen
Rosen played at UF in 1941 and ’42 before signing with the Cleveland Indians. He made his major league debut in 1947 and for the next 10 seasons developed into one of the game’s top players. Rosen was named American League MVP in 1953 when he hit .336 with a career-high 43 home runs and led the league with 145 RBIs. Rosen was an All-Star from 1952-55 and drove in 100 or more runs every season from 1950-54. He retired due to back problems in 1956 and later became a major league general manager, building the Giants teams that won the NL West in 1987 and ’89.
OF Brad Wilkerson
Wilkerson starred at UF from 1996-98 and was a first-round draft pick of the Montreal Expos. He made his major league debut in 2001 with the Expos and in 2002, his first full season in the majors, Wilkerson finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting (.266, 20 HRs, 59 RBIs). Wilkerson spent eight seasons in the big leagues, making stops in Washington, Texas, Seattle and Toronto after four seasons in Montreal. His best season was in 2004 with the Expos when he hit a career-high 32 home runs, drove in 67 runs and scored a career-high 112 runs, which ranked seventh in the NL that season. He played his final game on Sept. 28, 2008 at the age of 31.
OF Ryan Raburn
Raburn played for the Gators during the 2000 season after stops at South Florida Community College and USF. He was a fifth-round pick of the Tigers in 2001 and climbed his way through Detroit’s farm system to make his major league debut in 2004. Raburn didn’t stick with the Tigers until 2007 and has developed into a steady everyday player. He is hitting .288 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 37 games this season, his first with the Cleveland Indians. He hit .280 with 15 home runs and a career-high 62 RBIs in 2010.
OF Lance Richbourg
Richbourg has the distinction of being the first UF baseball player to ever play in the majors, making his debut on July 4, 1921 for the Philadelphia Phillies. Richbourg only played 10 games for the Phillies and returned to UF to coach the Gators during the 1922-23 seasons. He returned to the big leagues in 1924 with the Washington Senators and after playing only 15 games, did not play again in the majors until 1927 with the Boston Braves. He spent the 1926 season as Florida’s coach. However, Richbourg finally found a home in Boston and over the next five seasons was a starting outfielder. A teammate of Rogers Hornsby in 1928, Richbourg had his best season that year, finishing 15th in National League MVP voting. He hit .337 that season with 26 doubles, 12 triples, two homers and 52 RBIs. He finished his career in 1932 with the Cubs and died in 1975 at the age of 77.
SP Josh Fogg
A right-hander out of Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale, Fogg played for the Gators from 1996-98. He was a third-round draft pick of the White Sox and made his big league debut for Chicago in 2001. He was traded to Pittsburgh prior to the 2002 season and finished seventh in NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 12-12 with a 4.35 ERA in 33 starts. In nine seasons in the majors, Fogg won 10 or more games five times and finished his career in 2009 with a career record of 62-69, the most wins of any pitcher in school history.
RP Doug Corbett
Corbett played at UF from 1970-74 and made it to the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 1980. He immediately made an impact for the Twins, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting as one of baseball’s top relievers. He went 8-6 and saved 23 games in 73 appearances, posting a 1.98 ERA over 136 1/3 innings. He made the All-Star team in his second season, going 2-6 with 17 saves and 2.57 ERA in 54 appearances. Corbett never matched the success from his first two seasons in the majors but was good enough to hang around for eight seasons and played a key role for the 1986 Angles team that lost the ALCS to the Red Sox. He pitched in 46 games that season, going 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA and 10 saves. He played for Baltimore in 1987, his final season in the majors. His 66 career saves are the most for any UF pitcher to make the majors.
Updated: 8:57am, June 12
Former Gators catcher Mike Zunino was called up to the majors by Seattle on Tuesday.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mike Zunino was in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning when he got a surprise phone call from Mariners farm director Chris Gwynn.
They exchanged pleasantries, and then Gwynn asked the former Gators catcher: "Why do you think I'm calling you?"
"I can think of two things,'' Zunino replied.
It was the better of the two options: Zunino was on his way to the majors, the first position player in the 2012 draft to be called up.
Zunino's promotion was big news in Seattle. The Mariners are struggling and in need of a jolt to get fans excited.
--No harm, no foul writes John McGrath of the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald if Zunino's early promotion doesn't work out for Mariners.
--Tim Tebow made his Patriots debut Tuesday but don't expect to see much of Tebow at practice writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
--Patriots coach Bill Belichick clamped down on Tebowmania at Tuesday's press conference writes Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com.
--Tebow called it an "honor" to have opportunity to play for New England coach Bill Belichick writes ESPN.com.
--ICYMI, Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin is suspended indefinitely for violating team rules writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.
--Another ICYMI: Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel was surprised to be picked by Boston in the MLB Draft. He was busy bagging a wild hog on a hunting trip writes Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun.
--Former Gators running back/sprinter Jeff Demps to skip Tampa Bay's minicamp writes TampaBay.com.
--No surprise that former Gators soccer star Abby Wambach is up to her old tricks in National Women's Soccer League.
--A look at Jacksonville's defense and how former Gators safety Josh Evans might fit in by John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
--Emmitt Smith recently reflected on his life's journey during a stop in Montgomery, Ala. Click here to read column by Montgomery Advertiser columnist Duane Rankin.
Tim Tebow on the sidelines at the 2013 Sugar Bowl between Florida and Louisville.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow is back.
That's good news to Gators fans, of course, and most certainly ESPN and other major media outlets.
We'll soon find out if it's good for Tebow and the Patriots.
We know that it's been difficult on Twitter the past 15 minutes or so as those pesky "overcapacity" notices pop up occasionally when trying to send a new Tweet. About Tebow of course.
ESPN broke the news, so here is NFL reporter Ed Werder's initial report:
The Patriots are signing Tebow, who is expected to participate in the team's mandatory minicamp Tuesday, as a quarterback, according to sources.
The move reunites Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was theBroncos' head coach when Denver traded into the first round to draft the Heisman Trophy winner in 2010.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick often has spoken with admiration for Tebow's versatility, intelligence and character. Belichick covets what he has described as tough, smart, versatile football players.
Last month, Yahoo! Sports cited an "organizational source" as saying Belichick disliked Tebow as a player and there was "no chance" of him landing in New England. Belichick dismissed that notion last week, telling ESPNBoston.com that the report was completely untrue.
Ironically, Tebow's last NFL start came with the Broncos in a blowout playoff loss in Foxborough to Tom Brady and the Patriots following the 2011 season.
The Jets traded a pair of draft picks to Denver in the deal to acquire Tebow but failed to establish a consistent role in the offense for the versatile quarterback.
Updated: 2:36pm, June 7
Gators starter Jonathon Crawford (No. 23) went to the Tigers in the first round of Thursday's MLB Draft.
Florida right-hander Jonathon Crawford didn’t have to wait long Thursday night to hear his name called in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Detroit selected Crawford with the 20th overall pick in the draft. Crawford’s 95-mph fastball and above-average slider were too much for the Tigers to pass up.
“He has a power arm with a plus slider,” Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said in a release. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our organization.”
A year ago the San Francisco Giants selected Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton with the 20th pick in the draft. He signed for a $1.85 million bonus.
Crawford was the only Gator selected on the draft’s first night. Houston took Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first overall pick. Crawford was the second SEC player off the board behind Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who was taken by the Padres 13th overall.
Crawford becomes the highest-drafted Florida pitcher since John Burke was taken sixth overall in the 1991 draft.
Here is more on Crawford plus some other links covering topics of interest to Florida fans:
--Tigers use draft to stock up on pitchers writes Lynn Henning of the Detroit News.
--Former Gators catcher Mike Zunino, who caught Crawford’s no-hitter in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, remains in Triple A as Mariners call up Brandon Bantz to the surprise of some writes the Seattle Times.
--Former Gators standout Mike Miller and his Miami Heat teammates lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday. Miller also got his face stepped on, prompting commentator Jeff Van Gundy to quip, “He’s a Gator. He’s tough.”
--Former UF All-American Matt Elam has made a good first impression on his veteran teammates with the Ravens writes Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
--A look at how the Gators are doing at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. Click here for more details from GatorZone.com.
--In case you missed this, a good story from Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union on the friendship UF basketball players Patric Young and Will Yeguete have developed with 3-year-old cancer patient Kaedyn Ballew.
--For the record, Patriots coach Bill Belichick does not hate Tim Tebow writes ESPNBoston.com.
--SEC experience key for Muschamp at UF writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
Left-hander Daniel Gibson is projected to go in the early rounds of the MLB Draft.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Not so long ago, the MLB First-Year Player Draft went by without many noticing other than the most diehard of seamheads.
Baseball America was and continues to be a great source of information on the draft, but much like the NFL Draft and NBA Draft, the MLB Draft is becoming more and more of an event.
A year ago the Gators were loaded with MLB prospects and it showed in the draft as eight Florida players went in the first 10 rounds of the draft, highlighted by first-round selections Mike Zunino (Seattle) and Brian Johnson (Boston).
This year Florida’s talent level dropped off and it showed during the Gators’ 29-30 season. Still, expect to see some Gators go in the draft, starting with right-hander Jonathon Crawford.
Crawford likely capped his UF career on Friday in the Gators’ 4-3 loss to Austin Peay in the Bloomington (Ind.) Regional. Crawford’s outing went much like his season – solid but not spectacular.
He received a no-decision after limiting the Governors to four hits and a run over 6 1/3 innings. Crawford struck out five and walked four. Free passes plagued Crawford (3-6, 3.84 ERA) his junior season. He walked 37 in 86 2/3 innings (3.84 walks per nine innings) after walking just 24 in 77 2/3 IP (2.78 per nine innings) during his 6-2, 3.13 ERA sophomore season.
But with a right arm that consistently hits 95 mph on the radar gun, Crawford should hear his name much earlier than in the 2010 draft when the Marlins selected Crawford with the 1,277th overall pick. My guess is about 1,250 picks earlier.
Here is look at the Gators eligible in this year’s draft:
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Jr.
Draft history: 42nd-round pick of Marlins in 2010 out of Okeechobee HS
Baseball America rates Crawford the 24th overall prospect in the draft. The A’s have the 24th pick in this year’s draft but as much an inexact science as mock drafts are in football, they are even more flawed in baseball due to the draft featuring high school, junior college and four-year college players. Regardless of where Crawford goes, he can expect a hefty signing bonus and an opportunity to advance through the minors quickly if he pitches the way he did last summer for the USA College National Team (3-0, 2.10 ERA and a pair of wins over Cuba in Havana). Crawford maintains velocity deep into games and when he is in control of his fastball, he is tough to hit. This is me thinking out loud, but I could see Crawford developing into a late-inning reliever down the road. He usually starts strong but often has one inning that gets him into trouble.
Daniel Gibson, LHP, Jr.
Draft history: 26th-round pick of Brewers in 2010 out of Tampa Jesuit HS
Gibson moved into the bullpen role vacated by Paco Rodriguez, who is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers after becoming the first player in the 2012 draft to make the majors. A hard-throwing lefty, Gibson appeared in 32 games this season. He went 2-1 with a 4.42 ERA in 38 2/3 innings. Gibson allowed 36 hits, walked 20 and struck out 31. Gibson is much better against left-handed hitters, limiting lefties to a .191 average while right-handed hitters batted .311. In his final outing of the season for the Gators, Gibson struggled with his control and walked home two runs in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Valparaiso a day after a sharp outing against Austin Peay. Most projections have Gibson, rated by Baseball America as the 100th top prospect in the draft, going somewhere in the third or fourth rounds. Few seem to think Gibson will last long because he has an above average fastball and slider and a relatively fresh arm. Gibson pitched only 73 1/3 innings in three seasons at Florida while waiting his turn behind Nick Maronde and Rodriguez the past two years.
Johnny Magliozzi, RHP, So.
Draft history: 35th-round pick of Rays in 2011 out of the Dexter (Mass.) School
Magliozzi checks in at No. 439 on the Baseball America 500. Magliozzi was a major reason the Gators qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season in 2013. He was an effective closer (12 saves) and late in the season when Coach Kevin O’Sullivan needed a reliable starter, Magliozzi stepped into the rotation and pitched well. He started the Gators’ final game on Saturday, a 5-4 loss to Valparaiso. Magliozzi finished the season with a team-low 2.67 ERA. In 67 1/3 innings, he allowed 53 hits, walked 16 and struck out 57. While only a sophomore, Magliozzi is 21, which makes him eligible for the draft. Any player who turns 21 within 45 days of the draft is eligible. Baseball America’s scouting report has Magliozzi with a fastball that can touch 95 but is usually in the 90-92 range, and he spots his changeup and curveball well.
Karsten Whitson, RHP, R-Jr.
Draft history: First-round pick of Padres in 2010 out of Chipley (Fla.) HS
Whitson turned down a multi-million dollar signing bonus three years ago to pitch for the Gators. He looked every bit a first-round pick his first season, going 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 starts as a freshman. As a sophomore, Whitson battled a sore arm to finish 4-0 with 3.51 ERA in only 33 1/3 innings. He missed his junior season after undergoing a shoulder procedure right before the season started. Whitson has a strong lower body and hits the upper 90s regularly on the radar gun when healthy. Despite sitting out a season, don’t be surprised if a team selects Whitson to see if they can sign him. He remains an intriguing prospect. If Whitson returns to UF, he will be a redshirt junior next season and the projected ace of O’Sullivan’s staff.
Keenan Kish, RHP, Jr.
Draft history: 34th-round pick of Yankees in 2010 out of Germantown (Pa.) Academy
Kish made three appearances – two starts – before missing the season with a hip injury. Baseball America ranked Kish the No. 68 college prospect in the draft prior to the season primarily due to his strong sophomore season. Kish made 13 appearances out of the bullpen in 2012, limiting opponents to 19 hits in 27 1/3 innings. He struck out 28. If Kish goes undrafted or is drafted and doesn’t sign, he projects as a potential weekend starter for Florida next season.
Other Gators draft eligible: 1B/OF Vickash Ramjit, SS Cody Dent, DH Zack Powers.
Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel and offensive coordinator Brent Pease during spring practice.
The 2012-13 sports calendar is nearly complete for the Gators.
The UF men’s and women’s track teams are competing in Eugene, Ore., this week in the final NCAA competition of the season for Florida.
In case you missed it, click here to read a story I wrote earlier on Gators senior hurdler Ugonna Ndu, who seeks to close out her UF career in strong fashion this week.
While summer is here, there’s never a lack of links from around the Internet covering items of interest to Gator fans.
Here are some links for your afternoon perusal:
--If you like spreadsheets and bar graphs with your football, you’ll enjoy this in-depth analysis of the Gators’ 2012 football season and what that could mean moving forward by Bill Connelly of SBNation.com.
--The Gators check in at No. 18 in Phil Steele’s preseason poll writes Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel (blog also features which Gators Steele chose for his preseason teams).
--Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan discusses the recent change-of-heart from Devon Walker in this story from the Orlando Sentinel.
--The SEC is exploring a primary site for its men’s basketball tournament and Tampa, St. Louis and Atlanta are negotiating writes Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post.
--Three Florida teams rank nationally among top 10 percent academically writes Antonya English of the Tampa Bay Times.
--Gators triple jumper Omar Craddock caps a memorable UF career at the NCAA Finals writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.
--The Gators face Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic. Click here for more details from GatorZone.com.
--The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer writes that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s post-football future could have much more impact than Tebow did on the field.
--Former Gators pitcher Brian Johnson is improving and his former UF teammate, pitcher Austin Maddox, is off the DL in the Red Sox organization writes SBNation.com.
Updated: 11:38am, June 1
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Gators right-hander Jonathon Crawford made perhaps the final start of his UF career Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
If so, Crawford capped his junior season with the kind of performance the Gators expected each time he took the mound as the team's ace in 2013. Crawford, who throws in the mid-to-high 90s consistently, is projected as a first- or second-round pick in next week's MLB Draft by most analysts.
Crawford was in line for his fourth win of the season until Austin Peay's Michael Davis hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Ryan Harris to lift the Governors to a 4-3 victory.
In his 15th start of the season, Crawford allowed four hits and one run over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four, throwing a season-high 112 pitches (62 strikes). Crawford wasn't as sharp as Florida fans have seen during his career, but he was able to pitch out of trouble and prevent the four walks from coming back to cost him.
"Things were going quick for me,'' Crawford said. "So I just had to step back and take a deep breath and attack the hitter."
Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan complimented Crawford for the way he pitched his way out of trouble. Crawford's biggest escape was in the fifth inning when Austin Peay had two runners on with two outs and Jordan Hankins at the plate. Hankins and Crawford were teammates over the summer for the Team USA college squad that traveled to Cuba and Holland.
Crawford struck out Hankins to end the threat and keep the game within reach with Austin Peay up 1-0. Florida's Justin Shafer gave the Gators a 3-1 lead in the sixth with a three-run homer.
Governors coach Gary McClure was glad to see Crawford exit the game when he did.
"He's very, very good,'' McClure said. "You can tell why he's going to be a first-rounder."
SLIP, SLIP, SLIDING AWAY
The Gators quickly discovered how slick the FieldTurf at Bart Kaufman Field is in wet conditions. They are likely to experience similar conditions today against Valparaiso with an 80 percent chance of rain here at the Bloomington Regional.
Twice in the first two innings the Gators over slid second base on steal attempts. Richie Martin slid past the bag in the first inning and was called safe as he clearly beat the throw but then came off the bag. In the second inning Harrison Bader did the same on a stolen-base attempt but was tagged out as he tried to get back to the base.
In the third inning Austin Peay's Brett Carlson over slid the base and was called out when he appeared to beat the initial throw.
O'Sullivan said the Gators will stay aggressive on the bases despite the tricky turf.
"We will continue to run,'' O'Sullivan said. "But it was a bit frustrating to be quite honest with you. That's out game. We have to continue to generate runs that way because we don't have a whole lot of power."
O'Sullivan's advice to his players: slide earlier to avoid over sliding the bag.
GETTING GUSHUE GOING
Gators sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue could use a hit like a man stranded in the desert could use a drink of water.
Gushue went 0-for-3 on Friday -- he drew a one-out walk in the sixth and scored on Shafer's home run -- and is now 0-for-19 in his last five games. Overall, Gushue is in a 1-for-26 slump over the last seven games.
Gushue's last hit was May 12 against Auburn. His average has dipped from .308 to .275 during the slump.
"We have been working awfully hard in practice tinkering with his swing a little bit,'' O'Sullivan said. "He's just going through a tough stretch right now but we haven't moved him out of our three-hole because we trust him and believe in him."
O'Sullivan said he plans to hit Gushue third today against Valparaiso.
The Gators are facing Valparaiso for the first time in school history. Florida is expected to start sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (4-2, 2.49 ERA, 12 saves) with the season on the line.
The Crusaders (31-27) are similar to the Gators in that they don't have a lot of power. Valpo has hit just eight home runs in 58 games. Valpo finished 13-11 in the Horizon League in the regular season but then won the conference tournament to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
First baseman John Loeffler leads Valpo with 38 RBIs but has just eight extra-base hits.
For most of Friday night's game between Valparaiso and host Indiana it appeared the Gators would face the Hoosiers today in an elimination game.
Instead, the Hoosiers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to advance, winning their first NCAA Tournament game in 17 years and only second one in school history.
"That's why it's such a great game,'' Indiana coach Tracy Smith said. "Because you can never tell until that last out is over with."
With a 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth, Crusaders closer Karch Kowalczyk came in. Kowalczyk had allowed just one run all season. After Indiana trimmed the lead to 4-3, Chad Clark stepped to the plate with a runner on.
Clark had not hit a home run all season and his costly error in the top of the inning allowed two Valpo runners to score.
What did he do? Clark hit a two-run walk-off homer to make "SportsCenter."
The Hoosiers face Austin Peay today in the winner's bracket.
Gators outfielder Justin Shafer connects for a three-run homer in Friday's 4-3 loss to Austin Peay.
QUOTE OF NOTE
"We still have some games left. We have a great pitching staff, so we believe that we can come back and win the next four games.'' -- Gators OF Shafer on the task ahead if Florida is to advance out of the Bloomington Regional
QUOTE OF NOTE II
"We haven't swung the bats great for quite some time now, so we have kind of gone into every game with [a mentality of] it being a low-scoring event." -- O'Sullivan on his team's offensive struggles
QUOTE OF NOTE III
"The kid's been really good for us all year long. I'm not going to second-guess his effort. It's baseball. That's just the way things happen. We made a mistake on one pitch and fell behind and they did what they are supposed to do, simple as that.'' -- O'Sullivan on Davis' home run off Harris, only the second home run Harris has surrendered all season in 36 appearances
Friday's loss snapped Florida's 12-game win streak in regional play. Florida had not lost a regional game since a 17-11 loss to Florida State in 2008 ... The Gators need a win today to avoid their first losing record since a 29-30 finish in 2007. UF is 29-29 entering today's game ... Former big-leaguer Scott Rolen, who donated money to build Indiana's home clubhouse, toured the facility between games Friday. The facility is named in his honor.