Athens, GA –-The Gators baseball team traveled to Athens this weekend, to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. After dropping game one of the scheduled three game series, Florida hoped to bounce back on Saturday. Mother Nature had other plans.
Games two and three were played as a doubleheader on Sunday due to rain washing out Saturday’s meeting. Florida fared no better there, as they fell to 28-21 on the season.
Tommy Mace (7-4) was chased off of the mound on Friday night after walking seven batters and giving up four runs through as many innings. Mace gave up a solo shot to Tucker Maxwell in the first inning, and things spiraled downward from there.
After he walked the bases loaded, an RBI groundout gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead before Mace escaped the inning.
Brady Smith and Wil Dalton began the second inning with back-to-back singles, and Smith scored as a result of an error that allowed Cory Acton to get on. With the score set at 2-1, Florida held fast until the fourth inning.
Georgia extended their lead by three runs, forcing Kevin O’Sullivan to call on his bullpen to relieve his floundering sophomore pitcher. The Bulldogs then added one more, just for good measure, in the sixth.
Florida attempted to rally, late, with an RBI double by Cory Acton and an RBI groundout from Brady McConnell. With the score, 6-3, the Gators stranded the tying runs in the eighth. Freshman, Jacob Young scored the final run for Florida, as he rounded the bases on a wild pitch.
The Gators dropped game one, 6-4.
Jack Leftwich continued the shoddy pitching performance by the Gators, this weekend, in game one of a doubleheader. The Bulldogs went yard on Leftwich three times, while scoring eight runs on just seven hits through five innings.
Although there were plenty of fireworks for Georgia on the offensive side of the diamond, the Gators mustered only a solitary score. Brady McConnell posted his eleventh home run of the season in the 9-1 loss.
Florida was bottled up in game three, managing only two hits versus Cole Wilcox and the Bulldogs. Just as in the front end of the doubleheader, Brady McConnell was the only Gator to reach home on a solo home run. The solo shot gives him twelve on the season.
Georgia tallied three runs through three innings and added one more in the bottom of the sixth. With the 4-1 win, the eighth ranked Bulldogs secured the weekend sweep of the Gators.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan was very complimentary of Georgia’s pitching, during post game interviews.
“Credit their pitchers. Their first pitcher was really good, we had to earn everything we got today. He had pretty good command. We hit a lot of balls hard in the first game, just didn’t have much to show for it. In the second game, another really good arm. He was still hitting 96-97 there in the seventh inning. He had 25 walks in 34 innings coming in and only walked one today, walked Kendrick after the double, that was it. Wilcox rose to the occasion and pitched really well in the second game. I don’t think we quit, that we didn’t compete, it was just one of those games where he was just really good.
“The biggest thing is, we talked about it before SEC play even started, we’ve won one road game in the league – the Thursday night game at LSU. We’ve got to avoid trying to get swept, we’ve got to win at least one on the road and we weren’t able to do that at Vanderbilt, Ole Miss or here. It’s one of the main reasons we’ve put ourselves in a tough position here.”
The Gators return to Gainesville for their final home stretch of the season. Florida hosts the USF Bulls on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before beginning a three game series against Tennessee on Friday.