Mar 27, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Norman Powell (4) has his shot blocked by Florida Gators forward Chris Walker (23) during the first half in the semifinals of the south regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators Bait & Bits: Chris Walker to Return, Softball Beats FSU, Freshman of the Week, and More


Welcome to Bait & Bits, a series on Hail Florida Hail that will feature one “bait” about an opposing school and some bits about the Florida 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].

Bait

Florida State on the Diamond. The Florida-Florida State rivalry is certainly a heated one and it spills over onto the baseball and softball diamonds. This past week, Florida’s baseball and softball teams both went to Tallahassee and beat the Seminoles. The baseball team swept the top-ranked ‘Noles in the season series with a 8-0 win. It was the first shutout the Gators have pitched against the ‘Noles since 1994. It also ran their win-streak against FSU to four games. Softball also won this week, beating FSU 4-2. They’ve won seven straight at Florida State and 12 out of 13 overall in the series.

Bits

Chris Walker to Return. Gators fans, breathe that sigh of relief. The most talented player on the record-setting men’s basketball squad will return to Gainesville for his sophomore season. Chris Walker took to Twitter to announce his decision.

Walker came to Florida as a McDonald’s All-American. He’s a 6’10″ athletic freak who can protect the rim. Walker had to enroll to UF in December due to academic issues, then had to sit out the first 12 games because of improper benefits. But in 18 games he was able to get into, Walker played sparingly, he averaged 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds and blocked eight shots. The Gators will have to replace their entire frontcourt with Casey Prather, Will Yeguete, and Patric Young all graduating, so Walker will have a chance to make an immediate impact.

Basketball Ranked Third to End the Season. Coming off an incredible season where the Gators went 36-3 on their way to setting numerous win records and going to the Final Four, Florida ended the college basketball season ranked third in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Florida’s run came short of their ultimate goal of winning a national title when they ran into a UConn Huskies team that eventually became the champion. I think it’s a very worthy spot for Florida, just behind the national champion and the runners-up, although they beat that team three times during the season.

Softball Defeats Florida State. The sixth-ranked softball team traveled to Tallahassee and came away with a victory against eighth-ranked Florida State for the seventh straight time. The Gators used a strong pitching effort by Hannah Rogers to beat the Seminoles 4-2. Rogers pitched a complete game, allowing only one earned run on five hits with five walks and four strikeouts. Taylor Schwarz hit a bases-loaded single to score Brian Little and Kirsti Merritt in the fourth to put Florida up 2-0. Bailey Castro added the other two RBIs with a homerun in the seventh. Florida improves to 35-8 on the season, including 32-1 out of the Southeastern Conference. (GatorZone)

Women’s Tennis’ Kourtney Keegan SEC Freshman of the Week. After weekend wins in the Magnolia state against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Kourtney Keegan was named Co-SEC Freshman of the Week. Keegan clinched doubles points on the No. 1 team against MSU, won two straight-sets in singles, and won her 28th singles match on the season, good for second on the team. (GatorZone)

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Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Basketball Chris Walker Florida Gators Kourtney Keegan SEC Softball Tennis