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Vandy secures rematch vs. UF

OMAHA, Neb. — Now comes the hard part for Vanderbilt.

The Commodores extended their first appearance at the College World Series with a 5-1 victory over North Carolina on Wednesday night.

Their reward is another game against SEC rival Florida (2 p.m. Friday, ESPN), which has beaten them in four of five meetings this season.

"We're not thinking, 'How the heck can we beat Florida?' It's not really in the back of our minds at all," said outfielder Connor Harrell, who hit a three-run homer against UNC. "We feel we can compete with them. … We're going to come in confident."

Taylor Hill and Corey Williams combined on four-hitter, and Curt Casali also homered as Vanderbilt (54-11) beat the Tar Heels (51-15) for the second time in the CWS.

The Commodores would need to beat the Gators (52-17) Friday and again Saturday to reach next week's best-of-three championship finals. UF won the previous CWS meeting 3-1 on Tuesday as former Plant standout Preston Tucker hit a three-run homer.

Hill (6-1) outdueled Greg Holt (7-2) in a matchup of Nationals draft picks. Hill, taken in the sixth round, allowed a run and four hits in seven innings.

"He did a good job of neutralizing their offense and got us deep into the ball game where we could put Corey in," Vandy coach Tim Corbin said. "Connor's home run was big and followed up by Curtis. We did enough offensively to get by."

Gators nab coveted kicker from Georgia

Atlanta Marist kicker Austin Hardin committed to the Gators, saying he wanted a strong academic program along with football. ESPN ranks him as the No. 2 kicker in the nation.

He said UF told him he will kick off next season and work toward taking over field goals when redshirt junior Caleb Sturgis graduates.

More Gators: Former UF Heisman Trophy quarterback Danny Wuerffel said he continues to make encouraging progress in his recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. … Former UF cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was dismissed in April after his second arrest for marijuana possession in four months, will play for Division II North Alabama, led by former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.

Oklahoma: Athletic director Joe Castiglione believes the school is closer to resolving the NCAA investigation into its men's basketball program.

Castiglione said there "probably will" be developments he can comment on this summer.

The university has refused to release any records pertaining to the investigation since acknowledging in April 2010 that it was working with the NCAA.

Former player Keith Gallon has said he took $3,000 from a Florida financial adviser so his high school would release his transcripts and he could play for the Sooners.

Oklahoma was on probation for major rules violations involving impermissible recruiting phone calls by former coach Kelvin Sampson at the time the new investigation started.

Jeff Capel, who was Sooners coach when Gallon was recruited, was fired in March and replaced by former Gators coach Lon Kruger.

More Sooners: University regents approved amended contracts for football coach Bob Stoops' assistants, giving each one a $25,000 bonus if the Sooners finish in the top five of the BCS standings. … The Red River Rivalry game vs. Texas, this year scheduled for Oct. 8, will start 11 a.m., ABC announced.

Southern Cal: Former receiver Lonnie White admitted in a story he wrote for the website TheDaily.com to accepting $14,000 in illegal payments and benefits during his four years at the school in the 1980s. Calling it an "act of survival" because he needed money for rent and bills, White wrote that most of the money came from selling the four season tickets provided to every scholarship player. The transactions were made without the knowledge of coaches.

Vandy secures rematch vs. UF 06/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:58am]

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