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SOFTBALL: Florida splits opening day games at Cathedral City Classic

Top-ranked Florida softball split its opening-day slate at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., on Thursday, downing No. 16/14 Texas A&M, 6-4, before falling, 5-2, to No. 5/7 Washington in the second game at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Cathedral City.

The Gators moved to 10-1 overall this season and 1-1 against Top-25 opposition on a hot day in Palm Springs, first putting up six runs on five hits against future Southeastern Conference institution Texas A&M. The Orange and Blue scattered its six runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings, limiting the Aggies to just one score through six innings before A&M got a rally going with three runs on five hits to close the gap in the top of the seventh.

Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (6-0) earned her sixth victory of the season with a complete-game effort in the circle against the Aggies, allowing four runs on nine hits - five of which came in the seventh - while walking two and fanning seven to give Florida its 10th victory of 2012.

The Gators will be back in action at 1 p.m. ET Friday for its first-ever meeting with BYU, before re-matching with No. 8 Texas at 3:30 p.m. (ET). The Gators and Longhorns last met in 2011 at the Cathedral City Classic in an extra-innings contest that saw Florida walk away with a 6-5, nine-inning victory from a Moultrie walk-off RBI single.

TICKETS FOR U.S. SOCCER MATCH WITH SCOTLAND ON SALE MARCH 1

Individual tickets for the U.S. Men’s National Team match against Scotland will go on sale at 10 a.m. ET on March 1. The teams will meet at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, May 26.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will hold a public training session at the stadium the day before the game. More information about the free session will be available in the near future.

Jacksonville is hosting a U.S. Men’s National Team for the first time since Feb. 6, 1999, when the USA recorded a massive upset of defending European Champion Germany with a 3-0 victory.

Following the Scotland match, the USA will continue its preparations for FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying with a game against Brazil on Wednesday, May 30, in Landover, Md., and against Canada on Sunday, June 3, in Toronto.

The U.S. will return to Florida to open Group A play in FIFA World Cup qualifying against first-time opponent Antigua & Barbuda. The teams will meet in Tampa on June 8 at Raymond James Stadium.

Tickets start at $22 and will go on sale to the public on Thursday, March 1, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Jacksonville area (including many Walmart stores). Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. The game will be the first for the USA in Jacksonville in more than 13 years.

2012 GATOR GATHERING SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

The University of Florida Alumni Association, in partnership with the University Athletic Association and Gator Boosters, has announced the 2012 Gator Gathering schedule for Head Football Coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp will be visit Jacksonville on Tuesday, May 1

Gator Club volunteers in the area will plan the gatherings which are open to the general public. A fee is required to attend the event. Proceeds from these events enable host Gator Clubs to support numerous academic initiatives at the University of Florida. UF Alumni Association members receive discounted admission.

COACHES PICK JU SECOND IN LACROSSE LEAGUE PREVIEW

The High Point Panthers have been selected as the team to beat in the National Lacrosse Conference for the 2012 season while Jacksonville University has been picked second.

JU, which won the NLC regular-season title last year, was picked second. The Dolphins were the NCAA statistical champions for goals per game (16.21) last season.

Sophomore Morgan Derner leads the Dolphins and is recognized as the NLC preseason Player of the Year. Joining her on the preseason All-Conference team are both Ellyn Spangenberg and Rachel Hannon, both of who were on the 2011 postseason team.

High Point, which completed its inaugural campaign as NLC champions with a 6-1 conference record and 15-4 overall mark, were picked in a vote of league coaches. They beat JU in the conference tournament final in overtime.

The coaches selected Davidson fourth and Liberty fifth. Presbyterian and Detroit followed them.

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