Weekend Preview: Florida baseball looks to right the ship against Ole Miss

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Florida baseball's subpar 2013 season has featured come-from-ahead losses in their first two SEC series.

The Weekend Preview runs down Florida's itinerary non-football, non-men's basketball, non-track sports on crowded fall and spring weekends. If you have a club sport or other note to include in the Weekend Review, hit @AlligatorArmy.

Baseball looks to win first SEC series on third try

Twice in two weekends, Florida's baseball team has won its Friday opener and lost the next two games of SEC series against Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Florida (11-15, 2-4 SEC) will hope the third time is the charm against Ole Miss this weekend.

The good news for Florida is that this series is at home, Ole Miss is 3-3 in the SEC, and just dropped out of the national top 10 this week after their own come-from-ahead series loss to Texas A&M last weekend. The bad news is that the Rebels are 22-4, and still nationally ranked, and little different from the club that handed Florida its first series loss in 2012.

Friday starter Jay Carmichael is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA, and has been tremendous since transitioning from the bullpen to the bump, but he'll have to do well to keep up with Ole Miss' Bobby Wahl, 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA, in the first game of the set. And Saturday starter Jonathon Crawford is 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA, and has shown few glimpses of the form that made him an electric thrower as a sophomore in 2012. Florida's Sunday starter is still unannounced.

Ole Miss has outscored opponents by a staggering 102-28 margin in the first four innings this season. If Florida can keep Ole Miss in sight early, though, an upset could happen: The Rebels' advantage in the fifth through ninth innings is just 65-47.

Men's swimming goes for national title

Florida's won two national titles in men's swimming and diving, but it's been 30 years since the first one in 1983. This weekend, the Gators are vying for No. 3.

Florida sat in sixth after the first day of the 2013 NCAA Men's Swimming Championships on Thursday, with Marcin Cieslak taking silver in the 200 IM for the Gators' only medal of the day, but the team picked up 12 other All-America honors and scored 97 points, keeping themselves in a pack (Florida is three points back of fourth-place USC) chasing the lead that Michigan (152 points) established on the day.

And with Florida winning the SEC title in the 200 medley relay, the Gators have a chance to move up today, though they'll need to do far better than their Friday morning 16th-place time in qualifying that got them banished to the last spot in the B heat for Friday night.

You can get all the results from the NCAA Men's Swimming Championships here, and watch the finals on ESPN3.

Softball travels to Ole Miss

Fresh off a dramatic walk-off victory over Florida State in a midweek game, Florida baseball will try to continue its charmed 2013 season at Ole Miss this weekend.

That shouldn't be hard: Ole Miss is 19-18, and just 1-8 in the SEC, while Florida rolls into Oxford with a 32-3 record, a 7-2 mark in SEC play, and a six-game winning streak in which they've limited opponents to just eight runs.

Hannah Rogers earned SEC Player of the Week honors for her work in the circle against Arkansas last weekend (15 innings, eight hits, no earned runs), and will probably do some damage against a light-hitting Ole Miss team that has one batter, R.T. Cantillo, above .320 at the plate, and a team batting average of .286. Florida's bats could feast on Ole Miss pitching, too, given the Rebels' 3.96 staff ERA.

Audio streams of the game will be available online via GatorVision or locally in Gainesville on 104.9-FM.

Women's basketball takes on James Madison in NIT quarterfinals

Florida's women's basketball team was left out of the NCAA Tournament, and probably rightly so. But the young Gators have gone on a run in the Women's NIT, and have a chance to make a Final Four with a win against James Madison on Saturday.

Florida gutted out a 75-68 win over FIU in Miami in its first-round game, then blew out Winthrop at Winthrop by an 85-53 count in the second game of the tournament. But its 67-65 Sweet Sixteen win over Charlotte, which came on a game-winning shot by Jaterra Bonds with three seconds left, is one of the better wins in the team's recent history, considering that the Gators trailed throughout the second half, led by four points with just more than a minute remaining, and were playing the school that gave coach Amanda Butler her first head coaching gig.

James Madison poses a challenge to Florida's backcourt, as guards Tarik Hislop (16.1 points per game) and Kirby Burkholder (14.9 points per game) can each fill it up, but Bonds and Carlie Needles have both stepped up in NIT play, as has freshman Sydney Moss, who's averaging 17.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in the tournament.

The game tips at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and you'll be able to watch or listen to live free streams of it by following links at GatorZone.

Lacrosse plays at Penn State

Florida's lacrosse team will put its undefeated record on the line on Saturday at Penn State at noon.

The Nittany Lions are Florida's second ALC foe of the season, after last Saturday's 13-7 win over Ohio State (before Bill Belichick, among other fans), but they have never beaten Florida, going 0-4 against them in the Gators' three years of existence and falling to them, 15-2, in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

An audio broadcast of the game will be carried on WRUF online and on ESPN 850/900 AM in Gainesville.

Men's tennis still playing meh tennis

Bryan Shelton's first year as Florida's men's tennis coach was going to be rocky no matter what, as the Gators transitioned from Andy Jackson to the program's first new head coach in 12 years. But after starting the year 6-0 with wins over Miami and Florida State, Shelton's team is skidding, and dropped its fourth straight match to Baylor on Saturday.

And it was an especially painful 4-3 loss: After dropping the doubles point, Florida took 2-1 and 3-2 leads, then fell to the Bears with No. 2 singles player Florent Diep's three-hour, three-set loss to Baylor's Julian Lenz. Lenz is Baylor's highest-ranked singles player, but Diep is Florida's highest-ranked singles player, and had lost just once previously in the spring.

Florida is still among the SEC's favorites, but it would be nice to have momentum entering SEC play. The Gators will host Texas A&M in an early showdown this coming Sunday.

Tennis teams trade off LSU, Arkansas

Florida's tennis teams will both take on LSU and Arkansas this weekend, and while the Gators women hit the road to see the Tigers on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern and the Razorbacks on Sunday at 1 p.m. , the men will host LSU on Friday at 5 p.m. and Arkansas on Sunday at 1 p.m.

For the women, it's a return to the road after a four-match stint in Gainesville, and will likely serve only to ease the Gators into the rhythm of playing away from the Ring Tennis Complex: Florida is a staggering 61-2 against LSU and Arkansas all-time.

The men may find defending their home courts a little tougher, as LSU enters on a two-match winning streak after dropping its first four SEC contests, and Arkansas is 12-10 on the season despite an 0-7 SEC mark.

There is no live broadcast of either tennis match (it's tennis, c'mon), but @GatorZoneTennis will have live scoring links.

Women's golf plays at Bryan National Collegiate

Florida's women's golf team has one last chance to get a regular season win before SEC and NCAA play begins. It'll come this weekend at the Bryan National Collegiate in Texas.

No. 5 Florida is part of a deep field that includes nine ranked teams, including Duke, North Carolina, and six other SEC teams. The Gators could use a great weekend from Isabelle Lendl, who has just one round of par or better in the spring season, to go with the steady play of Camilla Hedberg, and would benefit from Elcin Ulu matching her excellent play from the 2013 Gator Invitational, where she finished five-over for the weekend and tied for sixth.

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