Saturday April 19, 2014No. 18 Florida Sweeps Doubleheader, Clinches Series Over Georgia
Center fielder Harrison Bader tallied a pair of RBIs in Florida's 8-1 win over Georgia in game two.
A six-run fourth inning lifted No. 18 Florida (26-13, 11-6 SEC) to an 8-1 victory, a doubleheader sweep and a series win over Georgia (21-17-1, 7-9-1 SEC) on Saturday at McKethan Stadium.
The Gators took the first game, 3-2, and will go for the sweep tomorrow at 12 p.m. on ESPNU. The Gators lead No. 6 South Carolina and No. 22 Kentucky by two games in the SEC East and are one game behind league-leading No. 19 Alabama in the overall race.
The Gators batted around the order in the big inning and tallied six RBI on four hits, two sacrifice hits, two walks and a hit batter. UF pitchers forced the Bulldogs to strand 11 runners on base, including a pair of innings with the bases loaded. Sophomore Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) (4-2) pitched 5.1 efficient innings to collect the victory and freshman Kirby Snead (Alachua, Fla.) (2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K) and freshman Dane Dunning (Fleming Island, Fla.) (1.1 IP) held Georgia off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Florida opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the third. Freshman third baseman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) led off with a single, but was out at second on second baseman Casey Turgeon’s (Palm Harbor, Fla.) fielder’s choice. Shortstop Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) reached on a one-out bunt and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. A second wild pitch during center fielder Harrison Bader’s (Bronxville, N.Y.) at-bat scored Turgeon, and Bader’s single to left scored Martin.
Georgia loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but only managed to score one run on Skyler Weber’s fielder’s choice RBI. Florida also loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half, which led to the six run fourth.
Junior right fielder Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) led off with a single and freshman designated hitter A.J. Puk (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and freshman left fielder Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) both walked. Sternagel blooped a single behind first, scoring Mattson and chasing UGA starter Robert Tyler (4-3). UGA brought in Jared Cheek, and Turgeon greeted him with a first pitch RBI single to right. Martin was hit in the next at-bat, bringing in the third run of the inning. Bader added to the lead with a sac fly and Gushue tacked on one more with a single to right. Junior first baseman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) chipped in the sixth run of the frame with a squeeze bunt RBI.
Rhodes allowed a pair of singles in the sixth and was replaced by Snead. Snead allowed a single to load the bases, but battled back with a pair of strikeouts to strand three Bulldogs. Dunning replaced Snead in the eighth and recorded the final four outs of the game.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan
On the Gators’ pitching today…
“Any time you can win two games in one day, you have to feel good about it. I thought Aaron (Rhodes) gave us a good start. Kirby Snead did a really nice job at the end. That’s probably as good as Dane Dunning has thrown. That’s the Dane we saw in the preseason and the fall, so I think he’s heading in the right direction.”
On the hitting of the Gators today…
“I think eight of the nine starters got hits tonight, and the six-run inning was huge for us. We got a little sloppy at the end defensively and made some errors that we probably wouldn’t have made under normal circumstances. Overall, it was a very good day and I’m very pleased with how they played. We have a chance to sweep a team in the league, which doesn’t happen very often. Their starter (Robert Tyler) was a very quality arm; he threw the ball up there at 95-97 mph. I thought we put some good at bats today. It was a very good day. We’ll enjoy this and get ready to play tomorrow.”
Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner
On combining with right-handed pitcher Logan Shore for four wins this year:
“I just try and come in and hold his win. You never want to give up somebody else’s win. Together we’ve just done a good job. I just try to locate the ball down, in and out. That’s all I really think about. He’s (Logan) a really competitive guy. I even thought he threw the ball well at South Carolina. He’s always competitive and you know he’s always going to give you his best effort. There’s night’s that he has his best stuff and nights that he doesn’t. He still gave us a chance to win a 3-2 game. That’s all you can ask for.”
Sophomore center fielder Harrison Bader
On having the same four guys at the top of the order every game:
“Having the same order game-to-game has really been helping out. Everyone’s been picking each other up, doing their job and swinging the bat really good so having the same order is good. The hits and the way we have been manufacturing runs is really important. Playing for the big inning is what we’ve been doing, and we’ve been doing a good job.”
Game 2 Notes:
· Mattson extended his hitting streak to five games with a single in the second. Mattson added a single in the fourth, giving him 13 multi-hit games this year.
· Powers’ single the other way in the second inning upped his hitting streak to three games.
· Martin increased his hitting streak to three games with a bunt single in the third.
· Bader’s RBI single in the third gives him five runs batted in this season. Bader proceeded to steal his fourth base of the year. Bader’s sac fly RBI in the fourth gives him his first multi-RBI game of the year.
· Gushue extended his career best hitting streak to 13 games with and tied his career best with his 33rd RBI.
· Sternagel recorded a pair of singles and two multi-hit games this year.
· Rhodes’ 5.1 innings was his second-longest outing of the year and his second-consecutive SEC five-inning game.
Gators by the Numbers:
· The Gators improved to 17-6 at home and extended their winning streak to five games.
· UF is now 10-9 when the starter receives the decision following Shore’s five innings of work.
· UF is 16-1 this year when its opponent scores two runs or less.
· The Gators are 16-3 this year when scoring first, 16-1 when leading after six and 20-0 when leading after eight.
· The Orange and Blue tallied eight or more runs for only the fifth time this year and are 4-1 in these types of games.
· Florida scored six in the fourth, marking just the fourth time this season the Gators have had an inning with 5 or more runs.
· Eight of Florida’s nine starters recorded a hit.
The Gators and Bulldogs will wrap up the series tomorrow at noon. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert. ESPNU will carry the game with Gabe Gross, Tom Hart and Mike Rooney on the call.
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