Sunday April 20, 2014No. 18 Florida Baseball Starts Fast To Finish Sweep of Georgia, 10-3
Playing their third game in less than 24 hours, No. 18 Florida (27-13/12-6 SEC) tallied three runs in the first and four more in the second inning en route to a weekend sweep of Georgia (21-18-1/7-10-1 SEC), 10-3, on Easter Sunday at McKethan Stadium. The SEC East-leading Gators extended their winning streak to six games and took all three games from the Bulldogs for the first time since 2010.
Junior Nelson Ward (2-for-4, two RBI) put the Bulldogs on the board with a two-out RBI single to right center in the first inning against sophomore Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (5-0). Redshirt junior Conor Welton (2-for-4, two runs) had singled with one down and moved to second on a grounder by junior Hunter Cole before scoring on Ward’s hit.
The Gators answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame against redshirt senior Patrick Boling (3-4), highlighted by a two-run triple from sophomore Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (3-for-3, three RBI, two runs). Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-4, three runs, two RBI) had led off with a single and sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) was hit by a pitch before Bader cleared the bases with his second triple of the year. After junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-4, two RBI) walked, junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) plated Bader with his third sacrifice fly of the year.
Florida added four more runs in the second to build a 7-1 advantage. Freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) and Turgeon started the frame with walks, ending the afternoon for Boling (1.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R). A fielder’s choice by Martin loaded the bases and Bader delivered an RBI single through the left side off of redshirt junior Ross Ripple. Gushue extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run single into left field and freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) lofted a sacrifice fly into center field for a six-run margin.
Ward’s second RBI single of the contest brought the Bulldogs within 7-2 in the fifth but the Gators gunned down Cole at home on a relay from Mattson to Gushue to end the frame. Soon after, Turgeon clubbed a two-run homer over the right-field fence with two down to put the hosts up by a 9-2 count. He matched Gushue for the team lead with his fourth round-tripper of the campaign.
After a leadoff double in the seventh by freshman Skyler Weber off of junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.), freshman Mike Bell brought Georgia within 9-3. However, Reed gave Florida a 10-3 advantage with a sacrifice fly that brought home junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), who had opened the inning with a pinch-hit single and went to third on a double by junior Mike Fahrman (Tampa, Fla.).
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
On the team’s overall performance this weekend:
“Casey Turgeon set the tone once again. It reminded me of the game against Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday night. I’m really pleased that we followed up the first inning with a really good second inning. That offensively distanced us a little bit early. I’m really pleased with how we played this weekend. I thought the approach in the beginning part of the game today was very important to keep the pressure on.”
On the team’s batting execution over the past few weeks:
“Matty (Braden Mattson) got the drag bunt in the second. We scored two runs and moved two more guys over. We are getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different people. Credit our guys defensively, we turned four double plays today. Overall, it was a great weekend. Anytime you get a sweep is good. We’re six games above .500 in SEC play, it was certainly a very good weekend for us. “
Junior second baseman Casey Turgeon
On today’s game after the doubleheader yesterday:
“It was a tough turnaround today. We had two games yesterday, but we came out and played a good game today.”
On scoring early:
“It was good to answer and put a run up there in the bottom of the first inning. It was a good rally starter.”
On his two-run homer in the fifth inning:
“I just got a good swing on it. The wind was blowing out, so that helped out a little bit.”
Sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader
On earning the sweep of Georgia today:
“It feels amazing. Winning the first two games is part of the challenge, but it is an even bigger challenge is winning the third game. I’m glad the pitchers did their job, and the hitters did our job too. It was a great win.”
On going 3-for-3 today in his at bats:
“I was having a tough weekend during the first couple of games, but I was just trying to find some barrel and go up and help the team any way I can.”
· Florida has claimed seven of their last eight series against Georgia (6-1 under Kevin O’Sullivan).
· The Gators registered their 11th come-from-behind win of the season after trailing 1-0 in the first inning.
· UF’s four double plays turned matched a season high (Feb. 19 vs. North Florida).
· The Gators boosted their record at McKethan Stadium to 18-6 this year.
· Sophomore Danny Young’s five innings matched his season best for the third time this year.
· Young scattered eight hits, with two runs, four strikeouts and two walks.
· Sophomore Harrison Bader was 3-for-3 with a season-high three RBI and scored twice.
· The top three hitters in the Gator lineup – junior Casey Turgeon, sophomore Richie Martin and Bader – were a combined 5-for-11 with seven runs and five RBI this afternoon.
The Gators welcome Jacksonville (13-25/7-10 A-Sun) to McKethan Stadium on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert.
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Live stats for each game are available on GatorZone.com and fans can also receive updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.