Welcome to Bait & Bits, a series on Hail Florida Hail that will feature one “bait” about an opposing school and some bits about the Gators. Have any links that you want on Bait & Bits? Tweet it at us @HailFloridaHail or @BrettKaplan13 or email it to us at [email protected].
University of Central Florida Knights Baseball. The UCF (3-0) baseball team heads to Gainesville to take on 20th-ranked Florida (2-1) tonight. Florida holds the series advantage in the past twelve meetings, winning 67 percent of the time (8-4). Freshman Logan Shore will make his collegiate début for the Gators while junior Zach Rodgers toes the bump for the Knights. First pitch starts at 7 pm at McKethan Stadium.
Wilbekin Collecting Honors. Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin continues to have a great senior season. He was named to the final watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The final list features 23 players, down from 80. You’ll be able to vote for Wilbekin starting today through March 18 here. Wilbekin also picked up SEC Player of the Week honors. In two road wins over Tennessee and Kentucky, Wilbekin set a career high for points in both games. He averaged 22 points in those two games with a career high of 23 at Kentucky. And Wilbekin has been cold-blooded down the stretch, averaging 16 point in the second half and icing games with his free throws. Scottie Wilbekin could be the best PG in college basketball. It’s about time people start to take notice.
Basketball Up to No. 2 in Both Polls. After an impressive week with wins at Tennessee and at No. 14 Kentucky, Florida moved up to the 2 position in both the AP and Coaches Polls. Syracuse still sits atop the rankings. The Gators beat the Volunteers 67-68 Tuesday in Knoxville and snapped the Wildcats 22-game home winning streak Saturday with a 69-59 victory. Florida has some impressive streaks going, including a 17-game winning streak, which ties a school-record. The Gators perfect 12-0 record in the SEC is the best start ever in conference play. Florida can extend their school-record 29-game home winning streak by beating Auburn Wednesday in the O’Dome. Tip off is at 7 pm.
Softball’s Haeger Garners SEC Honors. The top-ranked Gators (11-0) softball team is rolling and Lauren Haeger is a huge part of that. The SEC named Haeger their Player of the Week. Florida swept the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, using the mercy-rule in three out of the five games. Haeger hit a blistering .533 with four home runs, one double, seven runs scored, a stolen base, and eight RBI in the tournament. This is the second straight week Haeger has earned the honors. Softball returns home for their home-opener Wednesday against Jacksonville at 6:05 pm.
Lacrosse’s Gilroy Get ALC Recognition. Lacrosse had a strong week as well, beating Jacksonville and High Point. The IWLCA Poll rewarded them for their dominant wins by moving them up a spot to No. 7. Shannon Gilroy also picked up a few honors. The American Lacrosse Conference named Gilroy the ALC Offensive Player of the Week. She led the Gators with 15 goals and 16 draw controls in two games. Gilroy set or tied three school-records in the High Point game with 10 draw controls, 8 goals, and 13 shots. Gilroy, along with Nora Barry, was also named to the ALC Player’s to Watch list. Twelve players were named to the watch list which highlights the conference’s best players. Lacrosse is back in action Thursday when the host James Madison at 6:30 pm.
Two Gators Named to SEC Service Team. A pair for junior swimmers were named to the SEC Swimming and Diving Community Service Teams. Summer Stephens was recognized for her work with UF-Health Shands Hospital, Shell Elementary, Gator Tracks shoe drive, the Kids Club Halloween Event, 2013 Climb for Cancer, the St. Augustine Canned Food Drive, and the Miracle on Main Street event. She’s joined by Colin Hamilton, contributed in a big role to the Gator Move program since it began in September 2013. Hamilton also volunteered at the Kids Club Halloween Event, participated in the 2013 Climb for Cancer, the St. Augustine Canned Food Drive, and visiting UF-Health Shands Hospital over Winter Break. Doing things for your community is always commendable and these student-athletes should take pride and be revered for their community service efforts. Both the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams are competing at the 2014 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships today through Saturday. The SEC Championship is at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, GA.