Georgia baseball searching for spark, looks to avoid Florida sweep

Georgia outfielder Randon Jernigan (4), shown in this file photo, came through with two hits against Florida in his second SEC start on Saturday. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)
Chamberlain Smith

Georgia baseball takes the field at high noon today at Florida Ballpark looking to avoid what would be its first four-game losing streak of the season.

The Bulldogs are counting on sophomore Jonathan Cannon (2-2, 4.53 ERA) to keep the No. 7-ranked Gators in check in the SEC Network-televised game.

Florida scored a 9-2 victory over Georgia (28-20, 11-15 SEC) in Saturday’s game, blasting four home runs off UGA pitchers and knocking freshman Jaden Woods (3-1) off the mound with four runs off four hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Randon Jernigan, a junior from Brunswick, delivered an RBI hit and then scored on a wild pitch.

The Gators (35-15, 17-9) came right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame, and then added two more in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good and send Scott Stricklin to his bullpen.

It was Georgia’s sixth loss in its last seven games.

“The home runs and free bases, that’s going to hurt you any time,” Stricklin said after the defeat. “They are a really good team and played really well tonight.

“We struck for a couple there in the second inning, and we needed a shutdown inning, and we just didn’t get it.”

Oconee County’s Connor Tate was hit by a pitch and delivered a single in the eighth inning to extend his on-base streak to 27 games and his hit streak to 11.

Jernigan’s 2-for-4 performance in his second SEC start of the season was another bright spot at a time when Stricklin needs to find a spark to re-ignite his program.

“Randon played really well,” Stricklin said of the former Glynn Academy standout. “He’s a hard-nosed player. He’s always ready to go in there, and I was proud of the way he performed.”

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