Florida Takes Doubleheader from Georgia

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Gainesville, FL - Ninth-ranked Florida swept a doubleheader from Georgia, winning 3-2 and 8-1 Saturday at McKethan Stadium.

With the sweep, Florida improved to 26-13 overall, 11-6 in the SEC while Georgia fell to 21-7-1 overall and 7-9-1 in the SEC. The series concludes Sunday with first pitch slated for 12:03 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPNU. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher for Sunday.

“I thought Ryan Lawlor pitched well enough to win in game one, but we couldn’t get two bunts down and we didn’t execute in a few scoring opportunities against a team that is ranked number one in the country in RPI,” said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. “In game two, we went backwards, and it reminded me of our series at Florida State when we gave up the big inning. We didn’t compete very well in the second game. We had some good at bats to get the bases loaded a few times and then had poor at bats once the bases were loaded. We’ve got enough arms left for Sunday, but in this league, you’re going to have to be able to score more than one or two runs to win games.”

Game One: #9 Florida 3, Georgia 2

Georgia got a complete game from sophomore Ryan Lawlor, but a solo home run by freshman John Sternagel proved to be the difference as ninth-ranked Florida edged the Bulldogs 3-2.

Georgia struck first in the third inning off freshman right-hander Logan Shore. Junior Hunter Cole (2-for-4) delivered a two-out run-scoring single to bring sophomore Jess Posey home who drew a leadoff walk. Posey went to second on a base hit by freshman Skyler Weber and remained there until Cole came through. Georgia put the first two on to start the fourth as Nelson Ward (2-for-4) singled and Zack Bowers drew a walk. Then with two outs, Weber smacked an RBI-single to make it 2-0. Shore came in to the game with a 1.67 ERA. He was lifted after five innings as the Gators turned to left-hander Bobby Poyner, and he tossed the final four frames with a career-high seven strikeouts for his third save.

Down 2-0, the Gators tied the game in the fourth as Peter Alonso and Justin Shafer picked up RBI. In the fifth, Sternagel connected for his first home run to give Florida a 3-2 edge. It was the first home run that Lawlor had allowed this season, a span of 56.1 innings. Shore earned the win to improve his record to 4-2 while Lawlor, who pitched his second straight complete game, dropped to 3-3.

Game Two: #9 Florida 8, Georgia 1

Florida used an early six-run outburst to post an 8-1 win over Georgia to complete a doubleheader sweep Saturday.

The Gators struck for a pair of runs in the third, collecting three hits and were aided by a pair of wild pitches including one that scored the game’s first run. Coming in to the game, freshman right-hander Robert Tyler had two wild pitches on the year. Centerfielder Harrison Bader notched an RBI-single to make it 2-0.

Georgia loaded the bases to start the fourth as Conor Welton (3-for-4) smacked a double, Nelson Ward followed with a single and Daniel Nichols was hit by a pitch. Then, Zack Bowers struck out on three pitches. Freshman Skyler Weber battled back from a 0-2 count to register an RBI-fielder’s choice to make it 2-1, and that would be all the scoring for the Bulldogs as right-hander Aaron Rhodes maintained Florida’s edge by retiring Brandon Stephens. He went 5.1 innings to pick up a victory and move his record to 4-2.

The Gators extended their lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six runs on four hits. They chased Tyler, who allowed a career-high six runs on seven hits, and dropped to 4-3. He left with the game 3-1 and the bases loaded and nobody out. Georgia looked to junior Jared Cheek, and the Gators eventually sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning. Cheek pitched four innings and gave up two runs. Sophomore David Gonzalez took care of the final inning for the Bulldogs.

Georgia had one more chance to close the gap in the sixth, loading the bases with one out. However, Florida reliever Kirby Snead battled back to strike out Weber and pinch-hitter Heath Holder. Snead pitched 2.1 innings and Florida brought in Dean Dunning who went the rest of the way. The Bulldogs left 11 on base in the nightcap while the Gators made three errors.

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