ATHENS, Ga. ---- Florida scored two runs in the ninth inning to defeat Georgia 4-2 Thursday in front of a crowd of 1,908 at Foley Field .
The Gators (29-25, 14-14 SEC) got on the board in the top half of the second inning. Vickash Ramjit was hit by the first pitch he saw from Georgia starter Blake Dieterich to lead off the inning, and then later reached third on a Harrison Bader double down the right field line. Brady Roberson was then able to provide a sacrifice fly into right-center that scored Ramjit to put the Gators on top 1-0.
The Gators added to their lead in the fourth inning, loading the bases with no outs after a lead off single by Justin Shafer, a double by Ramjit, and Josh Tobias was hit by a pitch. Dieterich allowed just a sacrifice fly to Bader to keep it a 2-0 contest.
Georgia (19-32, 5-20) threatened in the bottom half of the third inning, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Hunter Cole reached on a two out single and then stole second base. Kyle Farmer then reached on an error by Florida shortstop Cody Dent, which allowed Cole to reach third. Florida starter Jonathon Crawford worked Jared Walsh to a 1-2 count with two outs, and then threw a wild-pitch that went to the backstop, allowing Cole to score from third to put Georgia on the board.
Patrick Boling replaced Dieterich for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning and retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a base hit to Ramjit in the top of the ninth inning.
After failing to record a base runner since the fourth inning, the Bulldogs were able to tie up the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Farmer singled into centerfield with one out and then reached second on a groundout by Walsh. Senior Brett DeLoach then delivered a clutch two out single into left field to score Farmer and tie the game at 2-2.
Jess Posey followed DeLoach’s two out single with a base hit of his own to keep the seventh inning going for Georgia, ending Crawford’s day on the mound. The Gators turned to Daniel Gibson who was able to force Daniel Nichols to ground out to Dent at short who made a diving play to end the inning.
The Gators had failed to reach base in 11 straight plate appearances leading into the top half of the ninth inning before their first three batters of the inning recorded singles. Ramjit led off the inning legging out an infield single, then reached third as Tobias smacked a single just over the head of Nichols at first. Bader then drove in Ramjit from third to provide the go ahead run with a single into center field.
Boling was able to settle down and record two straight outs through a sacrifice bunt and a pop out to shallow left field. However, he was called for a balk with two outs and runners on second and third, thus bringing in the second run of the inning and giving Florida a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Johnny Magliozzi entered the game in the ninth to close the game out for Florida and recorded his 12th save of the season. Ryan Harris picked up the win to move his record to 5-3 while Boling dropped to 3-7.
“We were a long shot coming in to make the tournament and now we just have to finish strong, and I think we will,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We’ve had a tough time scoring all season and tonight we made a mistake at the wrong time. Still, we didn’t walk anybody and had a chance in the ninth. This team has fought all year but when you get enough scars, it starts to wear on you. We’re playing good baseball, and this is still an important series so we’re looking for Sean McLaughlin and Jared Walsh to give us good starts the next two days.”
Thursday’s loss coupled with a Missouri victory eliminated the Bulldogs from making the SEC Tournament. Game two of the UF series will be Friday at 7 p.m.