Tag Archives: Baseball

UWF spring sports teams, all in top 25, could sweep all conference titles

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

sports

It’s no secret the University of West Florida’s spring sports are a force to be reckoned with. After the men’s golf team, women’s golf team and women’s tennis team won their respective Gulf South Conference Championships this week, spring sports now hold 56 of UWF’s 86 all-time championship titles. Currently, all six UWF spring teams are ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA DII national rankings.

 

Men’s golf

Ranked highest is men’s golf. After the fall season, the UWF men’s golf team was ranked No.1 in the nation. The men’s team battled 10 other teams in the GSC to win the championship. After sitting in second place for the first two days, they came out on top on the final day to win its 14th consecutive GSC Championship title. Men’s golf now is ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into the NCAA South/Southeast Regionals to be hosted in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

 

Men’s tennis   

UWF Men’s Tennis, possibly the most successful and decorated team at the university, follows closely behind in its respective polls at No. 4. After a close match with Valdosta State at the GSC Tournament, the Argos lost 4-5, dropping them to No. 2 in the South Region. Ranked No. 4 in preseason national polls, the Argos held on to its spot in national rankings as they head into the Regional Tournament May 7 with the location to be determined.

 

Women’s tennis   

Women’s tennis follows closely behind the men’s team at No. 6. The women’s team victory over Valdosta State landed the GSC Championship over the weekend. Despite adding six new players to its roster of 13, the women continue to be successful and challenge each other to win its sixth consecutive GSC title (16th overall). The women’s team will head into the South Region Tournament from May 2 with a 22-5 overall record.

 

Women’s golf   

The women’s golf team proved it is worthy of the No. 8 national ranking last week by winning the GSC Championship title. Though they sat on an eight-shot deficit leading into the final day, they bounced back to win the fifth consecutive GSC title for UWF women’s golf. Head coach Bryan Clarke has high hopes for the team in the NCAA Tournament, but they must first make it past the NCAA South/Southeast Regional, which will be in Pensacola May 2-4.

 

Baseball   

Next in the corresponding rankings, formerly No. 17-ranked UWF baseball’s split-series win over No. 12 Delta State University last weekend earning them the No. 11 spot in national rankings. Currently ranked No. 1 in the GSC, the baseball team still has seven regular season games before it enters the GSC Tournament beginning on May 7.

 

Softball   

Last, but certainly not least, the softball team moved up in national rankings after sweeping No. 21 Delta State, earning them its 14th consecutive win and the No. 21 national ranking. With an overall record of 35-11 and a GSC record of 21-8, the softball team’s conference record is the best since 2006. UWF softball still has three regular season games against Shorter University before heading into the GSC Tournament held from April 28-30 as No. 2 in the conference.

With three of six of the 2016 GSC tiles already won, UWF’s potential to nearly sweep the conference championship titles look promising heading into the end of the season.

For information on all UWF sports teams, visit goargos.com.

UWF baseball’s winning streak is challenged through 11 innings

Baseball

Teammates high-five Robert Lopez and Nic Strasser as they head back to the dugout.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

The University of West Florida baseball team’s longest winning streak since 2014 was challenged by the University of Montevallo Falcons in a mid-week series.

After dominating Montevallo 7-2 in the first of the non-conference two-game series on Tuesday night, the University of West Florida baseball team prepared to face them again on Wednesday afternoon.

In Tuesday night’s game, the Falcons took a quick 2-0 lead, and it was not until the bottom of the third that the Argos were able rally with three runs. It was a lead that would extend through the rest of the game.

The Argo win extended UWF baseball’s winning streak to six games, and the team looked for a seventh consecutive win on Wednesday.

Freshman Troy Brown made his fourth career start as the first pitcher on the mound for the Argos on Wednesday’s match at Jim Spooner Field.

Junior outfielder Jean Figueroa would be the first to score for the Argos in the bottom of the ninth after a hit from senior catcher Ben Emery sent Figueroa home.

Figueroa was named the Gulf South Conference player of the week after his outstanding performance over the last weekend. Figueroa batted .538 and also posted three home runs and a multi-home run game on Saturday.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” Figueroa said regarding his Player of the Week award. “We had a great week and weekend, and we’re going to have to keep working to keep having success in play on the field.”

The second inning ended with loaded bases and sent into the third with a 1-0 lead for UWF.

Leading off for the Argos, senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian was first to bat and first to score in the fourth after a hit from Figueroa scored Redovian before Figueroa was tagged out on first.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Falcons broke their scoreless streak and put a run on the board.

Freshman pitcher Garrett Peek took over for Brown on the mound in the top of the sixth but was replaced by senior Jarrod Petree for the remainder of the inning. With Petree on the hill the Falcons would sit at one earned run until the ninth inning.

The Argos scored for a third time in the game when a low hit into left field by Figueroa resulted in a run by Redovian (his second). The inning would end with two Argos left on base.

Senior left-handed pitcher Sean Kennedy replaced Petree in the eighth inning. Kennedy was replaced my junior Steve McClellan in the ninth and final inning.

Just as it looked like the Argos would take another sweep the series, the Falcons scored twice in the top of the ninth, tying the game 3-3. The game headed into a 10th inning with McClellan back on the mound.

Montevallo took its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth when senior Chase Bryant took it home for the Falcons, advancing to 4-3. Freshman pitcher Cole Crowder took over the mound in the 11th.

The Argos began the bottom of the 11th hoping to break their run-less streak. With the bases loaded and Redovian up to bat, the Falcons’ pitch hits Redovian, scoring freshman shortstop Robert Lopez.

“I was glad that I got to wear that pitch and get the tying run in,” Redovian said. “That was a tough pitcher. He was throwing hard but I just wanted to do anything I could to get the run in.”

A grounder by senior catcher Kyle Hamner and an error by Montevallo allowed sophomore second baseman Nic Strasser to score from second base, resulting in a walk-off win for the Argos. The 5-4 win for the Argos extended the winning streak to seven consecutive games.

“The crazy thing about baseball is that you can never let up,” Redovian said. “You have to keep the foot on the throat because that’s a good team over there and they did a good job fighting back in the ninth.”

UWF baseball looked to extend the streak even further when they took on Union University on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the Argos beat the Bulldogs in both games 8-4 and 17-4, respectively. The Argos continued their streak on Sunday with a 7-2 victory over the Bulldogs to sweep the three game series.

UWF is now 24-11 (16-5 GSC) on the season. The Argos will return to The Spoon on next weekend, April 9 and 10, to take on The University of West Alabama.

For the complete baseball schedule visit goargos.com

UWF baseball shaves heads to save lives

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation. Photo courtesy goargos.com.

The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
Photo courtesy goargos.com.

Teammates who work together on the field are strong. Teammates who work together off the field are stronger.

The University of West Florida baseball team shaved their heads Friday, March 18, at Jim Spooner Field to support national childhood cancer research. The event, while short, has had a lasting impact on the team.

The Vs. Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that uses a half-and-half model to fund the cause; they donate half of their proceeds to cancer research, and the other half directly to children battling the life-threatening disease. The Vs. Cancer Foundation empowers athletes and communities to come together in efforts to save lives.

First to step up to shave his head was senior catcher Ben Emery. Emery battled pediatric lymph node cancer as child and has been cancer-free for the past five years.

“As a five-year pediatric cancer survivor, I am constantly motivated to raise awareness, fundraise, and support the fight against cancer, especially in children,” Emery said. “When we were told that we would be fundraising for and working with kids battling cancer, it hit close to home.”

When they learned they would be raising money for cancer, Emery and a few other players decided to shave their heads to provide moral support for the children. The decision by a few players turned into an event for the entire team.

Even Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat got in on the action and shaved his head with the team as well as the entire coaching staff.

“Fighting for something bigger than baseball has given some perspective on the importance of cohesion to achieve a common goal,” Emery said. “Each member of the team shaving their heads signifies that we are all in this season together and will always have each others’ backs.”

Emery’s battle with cancer inspired his teammates to follow in his footsteps. The players also plan to visit Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to show their support.

So far, the baseball team has raised more than $2,200 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.

After shaving their heads, the Argos went on to win the series against the University of West Georgia while also recording the fifth shutout of the season on Sunday’s game. UWG Wolves had not been shut out since spring of 2013.

The Argos recorded the sixth shutout of the season when they traveled to Memphis to face Christian Brothers this weekend. After winning both games in the doubleheader on Friday, the Argos swept the series on Saturday when they shut CBU out 5-0. The Argos now lead the Gulf South Conference in shutouts.

Maybe the Argos successful streak is all thanks to those team head rubs for good luck.

For more information on how to contribute to the Vs. Cancer Foundation, visit vs-cancer.org.

For the complete UWF baseball schedule visit goargos.com

Single-score game results in a win for UWF baseball

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian races around the bases to his teammates after scoring a home run in the ninth to win the game for the Argos on Wednesday night. Photo by Grier Wellborn.

Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian races around the bases to his teammates after scoring a home run in the ninth to win the game for the Argos on Wednesday night.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

After posting the third shutout of the season against No.18 Valdosta State, and defeating the nationally ranked Blazers with a walk-off hit in a close three-game series, the University of West Florida baseball team sought to beat Stillman University on Wednesday night. The Argos have won nine one of the last 10 games against the Stillman Tigers, but have not faced them since 2011.

The Argos’ 8-6 record seemed to give them the upper hand against Stillman, who started the game against UWF with a 2-14 record. But for a game in which the Argos seemed to have a major advantage, both teams remained scoreless until the ninth inning.

The all-freshman pitching lineup dominated the mound for the Argos in Wednesday night’s game. Troy Brown recorded his second start of the season by pitching the first three innings only yielding one hit, leaving the Tigers scoreless. UWF also ended the third inning scoreless.

“I started the season kind of rough, but I’m finally getting back into things,” Brown said.  Brown said he felt the freshmen pitchers did well by not allowing Stillman any runs. “There’s always stuff that we can work on, so we’ll only get better from here.”

Freshman Garrett Peek took the mound at the top of the fourth and recorded two more scoreless innings. The Argo offense was unable to score in the fourth and fifth.

Freshman Gray Dorsey followed Peek at the hill at the top of the sixth. With the Tigers on both first and second base and only one out, it seemed as though Stillman would score. Dorsey escaped trouble by striking out the next two batters. The score remained 0-0 at the bottom of the seventh.

Following Dorsey, freshman pitcher Cole Crowder entered the game at the top of the eighth, and would close the game for UWF. Again, the Argos seemed to be in trouble in the eighth when the Tigers took third base with only one out. Crowder struck out the next batter, and a fly ball was caught by junior outfielder Jean Figueroa for a third out.

Both teams went into the ninth inning, still scoreless. Crowder held the Tigers in the top of the ninth recording the ninth strikeout of the game by freshman pitchers. The Argos were given another chance to score in the bottom of the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, it seemed as though the game might extend into a 10th inning. Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian’s time at bat decided the game. Redovian hit his first home run of the season (the second in his UWF career) in the bottom of the ninth, to help win the game for the Argos 1-0.

“Luckily I was able to get a pretty good swing on the pitch and get it out of here,” Redovian said. “But we’re definitely going to need to play better this weekend; come out stronger, come out faster but it does feel good to get a win here.”

Though the game resulted in a win, Redovian was not pleased overall with the offensive play throughout the match.

“We have got to be ready to go from the start no matter who we are playing,” he said. “Especially this week in conference play, we have to be ready from day one.”

The Argos, now 11-7 in the season, continued conference play over the weekend at North Alabama where they swept the Lions in the double header on Saturday, but lost the third game in the series on Sunday.

The UWF baseball team will return to Jim Spooner Field on Wednesday, March 9, to face off against Spring Hill College for the second time this season.

For a complete season schedule, visit goargos.com.

UWF baseball defeats nationally ranked Valdosta State in three-game series

By Grier Wellborn
Sports Editor

The UWF Argos exit the field after dominating Valdosta State 8-0 in the first game of this weekend’s three-game series on Saturday.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

The University of West Florida baseball team faced off against the No. 19 Valdosta State Blazers this weekend at Jim Spooner Field. The Argos continued Gulf South Conference play in a double-header on Saturday.

In the first game, junior pitcher Walker O’Connor took the mound for the Argos. O’Connor was named GSC player of the week after shutting out No. 1 Tampa two weeks ago in the third game of the series. O’Connor shut out Valdosta state while he pitched in the first seven innings. O’Connor now has pitched 21 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.

“It feels good,” O’Connor said. “Just going to keep working and taking it one game at a time.”

O’Connor is 3-0 as starting pitcher for UWF and is currently ranked fourth in UWF All-Time ERA Records (2.34).

A home run in the bottom of the first inning by senior Jean Figueroa gave the Argos the first lead in the game, a lead they would carry on throughout the next eight innings. Freshman Robert Lopez hit his third home run of the season in the second inning. Lopez was named GSC player of the week this past week for his stellar performance against Mississippi College.

Big plays from Figueroa, sophomore Nic Strasser, junior Justin Ambrosino, and senior Alex Greene in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Argos to score three more runs to reach a 5-0 lead.

The Argos went on to score two more runs in the sixth and one last run in the eighth to win game one 8-0.

Senior pitcher Josh McLaney made his sixth appearance of the season by relieving O’Conner in the eighth inning and closing Game 1 for the Argos.

The Argos went from shutting the Blazers out in the first game to being shut out by the Blazers in the second game of the day.

Junior JT Granat took over the mound to start the second game for the Argos. Granat gave up three runs in the first five innings of the game.

While the Argos offense came out with vigor in the first game, they were no match for the Blazers’ senior pitcher Kellan Baily and lost heat in the second. Baily played all seven innings, only allowing the Argos four hits and zero runs.

“We came out with all intensity in the first game,” Ambrosino said. “We came out fired up, but by the second game we didn’t have it and they did.”

Junior Jared Petree relieved Granat and pitched the last two innings of the game. While the Argos lost the second game 0-3, a night’s rest would give the Argos the time the needed to finish the series on Sunday.

Junior Anthony Mazzurco took the mound in the start of Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. A slow start to the game resulted in a scoreless tie game until the bottom of the fifth when Greene hit a single to allow senior catcher Kyle Hamner to score for the Argos.

The Blazers would also score in the next two innings to take their first lead of the game. The Argos tied the game back up in the bottom of the seventh when Ambrosino brought it home after a single hit by junior Michael Savas.

Senior pitcher Brandon Nagem took over for Mazzurco in the sixth inning and pitched through the seventh. While he allowed one run, he recorded abutting strikeouts against the Blazers.

Junior pitcher Steve McClellan relieved Nagem in the eighth inning, leaving the Blazers scoreless in the eighth, ninth and 10th. Senior pitcher Sean Kennedy took the mound in the 11th inning to close for UWF. Just when it looked like game three might head into 12th inning, a walk-off single by Hamner allowed junior Ladeavon Matthews to score at the bottom of the 11th to win the series for the Argos 3-2.

Beating Valdosta State marks a huge triumph for the UWF baseball team, as the Blazers were ranked No. 3 in the South Region and No. 18 nationally. UWF now has extended its nine-game winning streak at Jim Spooner Field against the Blazers.

The UWF baseball team will return to The Spoon to face off against Stillman College at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.

For a complete season schedule, visit goargos.com.

Argos baseball wins home opener against Mobile

By Spenser Garber

Contributing Writer

 Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season. Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season.
Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

The University of West Florida baseball team took on the University of Mobile Rams at home on Tuesday, Feb. 9. With 12 hits and 6 runs, the Argos dominated the game, beating Mobile 6-4.

Pitcher Troy Brown, a freshman at UWF, made his first collegiate start against Mobile. Brown started the game strong with three up and three down in the first inning. In the second inning, he gave up a single, and three consecutive walks followed shortly after, resulting in a run for Mobile. Jarrod Petree replaced Brown in the fourth inning.

“He’s got good stuff,” Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat said when asked about Brown’s performance. “He has pitched well in the fall and early January leading up to the season.” Jeffcoat said he believes the cold weather could have affected Troy’s game, as he comes from further south, in Lakeland.

The game started picking up for the Argos in the fifth inning when junior Ladeavon Matthews hit a three-run homer to give the Argos a 4-2 lead. This was followed by a two-run homerun by freshman Robert Lopez in the sixth inning, bringing the Argos’ lead up 6-2.

Matthews is a transfer from Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. He was an all-star at LSCC who led the team in at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. “This (UWF) is the most talented team I’ve ever been on,” Matthews said. “It just makes me want to compete even more.”

The eighth inning saw two runs from the Rams, but ultimately did not affect the outcome of the game. The game ended with a 6-4 win for the Argos, bringing the home win-loss total to 73-13 over the past 3 seasons.

For the complete season schedule, visit the UWF baseball team’s website.

 

 

The Argos sports teams look forward to the spring 2016 seasons

Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

With the spring sports season just around the corner, the University of West Florida hosted a Spring Sports Media Day and Luncheon to spotlight men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball teams. UWF currently holds 83 championship titles, 53 of which were won by spring sports teams. Head coaches and two athletes from each sport attended to answer questions in the Argonaut Athletic Club on Wednesday afternoon.

MEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Kenny Brasil, Head Coach Derrick Racine and senior Alex Peyrot address the media regarding their nationally ranked tennis team.

 

 

 

Men’s tennis took the podium first. Head Coach Derrick Racine brought senior Kenny Brasil and junior Alex Peyrot to share the spotlight. Racine has been coaching for UWF tennis for 18 years with a career record of 409-89 and three NCAA National Championship titles alongside the men’s tennis.

Both Brasil and Peyrot were on the National Championship Team in 2014 and are nationally ranked in the top 22 players in the singles rankings. UWF men’s tennis is ranked No.4 in NCAA DII preseason rankings. With such high standards set for the tennis team in the preseason, the players approach the season with confidence.

“We have the same team we had last year,” Brasil said. “Everybody is back, were confident, we’re practicing hard and we’re hoping for good things this year.”

The men’s tennis program lost only one player off last year’s roster and has not added any new players to this year’s roster. The men’s tennis team is extremely confident going into the spring season with the same roster as last year, but with more experience. The UWF men’s tennis will begin its season at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, see the men’s tennis page.

 

WOMEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Nina Bubelova, Coach Racine and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic were all smiles in anticipation for their spring tennis season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s tennis, also coached by Racine, followed the men. Senior Nina Bubelova and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic attended. Racine has also coached the women’s team for 18 seasons and has a record of 375-124.

While the men have made little changes from last year’s team, the women have made drastic changes to its roster after losing multiple top players. They have added six new players to the 2016 roster. Despite the personnel losses, UWF women’s tennis is ranked No.6 in NCAA Division II preseason rankings. Both Bubelova and Dikosavljevic are ranked in the top 42 players in national singles rankings.

Spirits are high as the UWF women’s tennis team heads into the regular season. They are confident that its 13-player roster has strengthened from challenging each other to be the best players they can be.

“I think that having a lot of girls at the same level creates a really competitive environment,” Dikosavljevic said. “We know what happens on the court, stays on the court, and we just all try to push each other every day and try to be the best that we can be.”

The women’s team said it believes that this year will be a battle for the top spot and it plans to treat every point as such. UWF women’s tennis will also open at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, visit the women’s tennis page.

 

BASEBALL

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From left to right: Senior Kyle Hamner, Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat and senior Brandon Nagem address the media after news of their second place pre-season ranking in the Gulf South Conference.

 

 

Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat brought along senior catcher Kyle Hamner and senior pitcher Brandon Nagem. Coach Jeffcoat, a former UWF baseball player, has been coaching baseball for 15 years. In his 10 seasons at UWF, Jeffcoat’s 356-190 record includes the NCAA National Championship in 2011.

As for the players, Hamner was named to American Baseball Coaches Association’s South Region Gold Glove Team for his performance in 2015. Nagem was selected last year as the 2015 Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Year, and ABCA South Region Pitcher of the Year. UWF baseball was selected to finish second behind the University of West Alabama in the GSC this year in preseason polls. Nagem, senior Alex Greene, senior Chase Kiefer and junior Jarrod Petree were selected on the preseason All-GSC Team.

According to Jeffcoat, because the preseason polls are based on last season, they are insignificant to the performance of the players this upcoming season.

“The ranking are kind of subjective, opinionated and really based on what you’ve done in the past,” Jeffcoat said. “Where we start is definitely not indicative of where we finish.”

Jeffcoat will coach alongside other former Argonaut baseball players Kyle Brown and Justin Bennett. The UWF baseball team will start its 2016 spring season at Florida Southern College on Saturday, Feb. 6. See the baseball schedule.

 

MEN’S GOLF

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From left to right: Freshman Bryce Geraghty, Head Coach Steve Fell and senior Talin Rajendranath are optimistic about their spring season due to fall successes.

 

The UWF men’s golf team followed the baseball team. Head Coach Steve Fell was joined on stage by freshman Bryce Geraghty and senior Talin Rajendranath. Fell has coached the UWF men’s golf team for 22 seasons with two NCAA National Championship titles in 2001 and 2008 as head coach. The golf team came out of its fall season as the No.1-ranked team in the nation.

Both Geraghty and Rajendranath finished in the top three players at fall tournaments. Players said that on a team of 13 players, team chemistry is key to success as a team and for the players’ individual achievements. Geraghty, a freshman from Gulf Breeze, said he feels he is adjusting well to the transition from golf at the high school level to college level.

“I’ve known these guys for a semester and I feel like I’ve known them my whole life,” Geraghty said. “We help each other on and off the course, we hang out together all the time and it’s things like that which make the transition really easy.”

The UWF men’s golf team will begin its spring season at the Matlock College Classic hosted by the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Monday, Feb. 8. Find the schedule here.

 

WOMEN’S GOLF

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From left to right: Senior Daisy-May Kenny, Head Coach Bryan Clarke and senior Fanny Starzmann address their fall season as well as their upcoming spring season.

Head coach Bryan Clarke addressed the media with seniors Daisy-May Kenny and Fanny Starzmann. Clarke, a UWF graduate, has coached the women’s team for four seasons. Both Kenny and Starzmann have been on the team since Clarke’s inaugural season as head coach.

Over the fall season, the women had the opportunity to go to the NCAA preview in Denver to practice on a high-altitude course. They hope to return in May for the NCAA Championship tournament. Because a team from the southern region has won the NCAA Tournament every year, except for last year, Clarke said she believes that if the women’s team can be successful in the southern region, they have a great chance at Nationals.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on our team, and we’ve got a couple new players,” Kenny said. “We’re fighting against each other but at the same time, we’re pushing each other, and I think that’s important to have a strong team.”

With nine women on the team, only five are selected to play in any particular tournament over the course of the season.

The women will start its spring season at the World Golf Invitational at the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Feb. 7. Find the complete schedule here.

 

SOFTBALL

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From left to right: Senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew, Head Coach Melissa Paul and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman hope their momentum from last season carries on into the spring.

 

Last to address the media was the softball team. Head Coach Melissa Paul brought along senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman to represent the team. This season is Paul’s second season with the team and fifth as a head coach.

After losing all but one starter, the Lady Argos did not start its season the way it wanted. The Lady Argos finished with a lot of momentum and hope it carries into its 2016 spring season. With experienced players such as Pettigrew and Chapman returning this season, the team hopes to improve its record.

“This year has changed because we’ve really focused on building our culture,” Pettigrew said. “I think that this year that is our focus; being good teammates and playing hard and holding each other accountable more.”

Paul said they are trying out a new, creative system this year in order to develop skills and improve play. The UWF softball season will commence on Feb. 5 at Tuskegee University. Find the complete schedule here.

UWF spring athletics, a look ahead

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

Spring 2016 will mark the University of West Florida’s last semester without football.

However, the Argonauts will boast a lineup of teams that features a three-time NCAA Division II national champion men’s tennis team, two-time national champion men’s golf team and one-time national championship baseball team.

An overview of this spring’s Argonaut athletic schedule.

Baseball

2016 is UWF Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat’s 11th season. During his tenure, the Argonauts have won the national title and compiled a .652 winning percentage.

Jeffcoat is hoping his team can snap a two-year NCAA Division II tournament drought, which has come following a four consecutive appearances (2010-2013).

Last year UWF finished 30-18 overall, and fourth in the Gulf South Conference with a 21-11 record, according to UWF Athletic Communications. This year’s schedule is 50 games in total, with the Jim Spooner Field home-opener scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., when they will meet the University of Mobile.

Returning from last year’s squad is the entire infield, as well as the team’s top-performing pitcher, according the UWF Athletic Communications.

Jeffcoat’s lineup will feature five of the last year’s top seven batters, including versatile sophomore Nick Kerkmann, of Oviedo, Florida, who led UWF with a .338 average last year.

Pensacola’s Brandon Nagem returns for his final season. The Pine Forest High School product’s 2.00 ERA ranked third in the GSC in 2015.

The Argos home schedule is highlighted by a three-game series against defending national champion the University of Tampa, on Feb. 12-14.

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team closed out the fall portion of their 2015-2016 ranked first in the nation.

The Argos’ schedule resumes on Feb. 8, when they travel to Lakeland, Florida to take part in the Matlock Collegiate Classic, which is hosted by Florida Southern College.

The team’s lone home course appearance will be when UWF hosts the three-day Argonaut Invitational, beginning Monday, April 4. It will take place at the Tiger Point Golf Club, in Gulf Breeze. The tournament will take place assuming Head Coach Steve Fell’s team maintains something close to their current form, they will open GSC tournament play on Monday, April 19 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The NCAA Division II National Championships will be in Denver, hosted by Metro State University, and begin on Monday, May 16 for all who qualify. Fell led the Argos to the national title during the 2007-08 season.

Women’s golf

The women’s golf team resumes play on Sunday, Feb. 7, at the World Golf Invitational in St.Augustine, Florida.

The first opportunity for UWF fans to watch the team will be at the Argonaut Invitational on Monday, April 4, which will take place at the Stonebrook Golf Club, in Pace.

The GSC tournament begins on Monday, May 2, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. UWF will host the NCAA Division II Super Regionals in 2016. The three-day event, which will be in Pace, begins on Sunday, May 1.

The national tournament, for those who qualify, begins on May 19, in Aurora, Colorado.

Softball

Last year’s team finished with an overall record of 19-30.

The 2016 edition’s offense looks to be fueled by two sophomores. Meghan Toney’s .320 batting average was third best on last year’s team, when she was a freshman. The sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama will team with Pensacola native, and fellow sophomore Kaylen Rowell. Rowell led the Lady Argos with five homeruns in 2015, and was second with 25 RBI.

Becca Taylor, the team’s best-performing pitcher of 2015 returns. The Panama City product, now a junior, finished last year a record of 11-8 and a 2.62 ERA.