Georgia baseball digs in to even series at rival Florida after gut-wrenching defeat

The Georgia baseball team desperately needs a win at Florida. The Bulldogs, shown in this file photo, have lost 5 of their last 6 as of May 15, 2021.
Rob Davis

Georgia baseball will look to even the series with rival Florida at 6:30 tonight in Gainesville after a gut-wrenching defeat on Friday night.

The Bulldogs (28-19, 11-14 SEC) will send freshman Jaden Woods at the No. 9-ranked Gators (34-15, 16-9) hoping the former Houston County High School star can contain Florida.

It’s a UF team that has won 14 of its past 18 games and 10 of its last 11 at home.

SEC baseball standings 5-15-21.
SEC graphi, Dawgnation

The Bulldogs dropped the 4-3 decision to the Gators at Florida Ballpark in dramatic fashion Friday, the Gators pushing the winning run across the plate with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

UGA relief pitcher Ben Harris got ahead of UF freshman Josh Rivera 0-2 in the count, but the Virginia transfer and former Milton High School standout didn’t have the stuff to finish him. Rivera fouled off three pitches before delivering the clutch RBI single.

“They just made one more play than we did,” said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin, whose team has dropped five out of its last six games, including two to last-place Auburn.

The Bulldogs could have helped themselves by taking the bat off their shoulders on Friday night.

Seven Georgia players took a called third strike as Florida pitchers piled up a season-high 16 strikeouts. To be fair, it was a strike zone with wide corners.

The Bulldogs’ offensive inconsistencies led to another fruitless quality start from freshman Liam Sullivan.

“Liam Sullivan gave us a great start and a chance to win,” Stricklin said. “At the end of the day, they got the big hit, and we just couldn’t get it done at the end.”

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Sullivan, a 6-foot-6 freshman from the Marist School, gave up three runs in five innings, striking out seven while not allowing any walks.

Harris falls to 4-1 with the loss, surrendering the game-winning run on the two ninth-inning hits and a walk.

Josh McAllister led the Bulldogs with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate, but McAllister fanned with the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first to end the game in the top of the ninth.

Florida reliever Jack Leftwich (7-3) got the job done for his Gator teammates, pitching two innings, allowing two hits and striking out five.

The Gators win snapped what had been a four-game Georgia win streak in the rivalry series. Florida leads the series 190-110-2.

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