Georgia baseball is counting on a pair of freshman pitchers against No. 9-ranked Florida in Gainesville, starting with Friday night’s 6:30 p.m. game.
The Gators (33-15, 15-9 SEC) have won 15 of their last 17 at home and 8 of their past 10 against Georgia (28-18, 11-13) in Gainesville.
Bulldogs coach Scott Stricklin said left-hander Liam Sullivan (2-2) will be on the mound Friday night coming off his impressive start at No. 1-ranked Arkansas last week.
Sullivan, a former Marist standout, has pitched 10 innings of four-hit, one-run ball while fanning 16 in his last two outings.
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Left-hander Jaden Woods (3-0), a Houston County High School product, will get the start in the Saturday game at Florida Ballpark at 6:30 p.m.
Woods has starred in long relief appearances, allowing three runs over 12.2 innings in his most recent three appearances against SEC opponents.
Georgia’s late-season pitching shake-up is attributed to the team shutting down senior left-hander Ryan Webb, who has an elbow injury.
Sophomore right-under Jonathan Cannon, who has struggled in his starts of late, could be relegated to the bullpen.
Webb and Cannon have combined for 21 starts and 104.4 innings this season.
“When you look at our depth chart from the fall, four of our top five guys are not pitching for us,” Stricklin said.
“Three of them really haven’t pitched all year (Garrett Brown, Will Childers. C.J. Smith). It has been tough. I’m really proud of how our pitching staff has rallied to piece it together, to get it done and put us in a position to be in in the postseason.”
Georgia was looking forward to the return of Smith, but it was announced last week that Smith will also be shut down for the remainder of the year after experiencing arm soreness during a bullpen session.
Stricklin said his Bulldogs will need to dig in and play with the same sort of focus and fight they showed in going 3-3 in games against powerhouses Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
“We played really well at Arkansas and obviously played really well at Vanderbilt, in hostile environments,” Stricklin said. “We’re going to have to do the same to position ourselves for the postseason.”
Georgia most recently swept Florida at Foley Field in 2019. A top-ranked showdown last year was cancelled due to the pandemic.