After a one-night hiatus, the No. 18 Florida Gators (26-13) swept the division rival Georgia Bulldogs (21-17) Saturday at McKethan Stadium. The Gators captured a 3-2 victory in game one and then dominated game two to win 8-1. The doubleheader sweep clinched the series for the Gators and gives Florida a five-game winning streak heading into the series finale on Sunday.
In game one, Florida came from behind after being down 2-0 early in the game. After Georgia scored single runs in the third and fourth innings, the Gators came back to tie the game with RBI hits from freshman Peter Alonso and junior Justin Shafer. With the game tied at two a piece, third baseman John Sternagel broke the stalemate with a solo home run in the fifth inning off Georgia starter Ryan Lawlor (3-3). That would be all the Gators could get and need.
Freshman Logan Shore (4-2) picked up the win. He tossed five innings giving up two runs on six hits. Bobby Poyner came in for a four-inning save, his third of the year. The left-handed junior did not allow a run with only two hits as he struck out seven.
Georgia scored two runs on eight hits and had no errors. The Gators collected only five hits as a team but were able to score three times. They committed no errors defensively.
The second game of the doubleheader was not as close as the first; Florida won by a decisive seven runs despite three errors as Georgia left 11 men on base and scored only one run. Sophomore Aaron Rhodes (4-2) won the game by giving up only one run on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Freshmen Kirby Snead and Dane Dunning combined to close out the game and gave up only two hits.
Robert Tyler (4-3) took the loss for Georgia as the freshman gave up six runs on seven hits in only three innings on the mound. The freshman threw 73 pitches before being taken out of the game. Florida’s first run of the game came courtesy of a wild pitch from Tyler, allowing second baseman Casey Turgeon to score. That was followed by a single from center fielder Harrison Bader to give the Gators a two-run lead.
Georgia’s lone run of the game came in the fourth inning when freshman Skyler Weber reached on a fielder’s choice that scored left fielder Conor Welton. It would be the only scoring allowed by the Gator defense.
Florida broke the game open in the home-half of the fourth with a six-run effort off of four hits. Sternagel, Turgeon, and catcher Taylor Gushue had RBI singles. Shortstop Richie Martin had an RBI after he was hit by a pitch. Bader had a sacrifice fly, and Zack Powers had a sacrifice bunt to get his RBI for the merry-go-round inning. The Gators sent ten men to the plate and either reached base or scored a run from nine of them.
Every Florida starter reached base and eight of them had at least one hit. Right fielder Braden Mattson was 2-4 and Sternagel was 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Mattson also has a five-game hitting streak.
Game three between Florida and Georgia will be at noon on Sunday. The game will be televised on ESPNU so be sure to tune in as the Gators go for the sweep at home.