Eighth-ranked Georgia completed a three-game sweep of Florida Sunday for the first time since 2006, claiming a doubleheader by scores of 9-1 and 4-1 at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs improve to 37-12 overall and 16-8 in the SEC while Florida drops to 28-20, 9-14 in the SEC. Georgia’s pitching staff, which leads the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings, limited the Gators to a pair of runs on five hits in the doubleheader. Georgia played the entire series without ace right-hander Emerson Hancock, No. 2 starter C.J. Smith and starting third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk.
In game one, a crowd of 2,807 watched Georgia hit three home runs and use a five-run outburst in the third inning to cruise to a 9-1 series-clinching victory. The scoring began in the bottom of the third with a double from Riley King, brining in Mason Meadows. Two more runs were tacked on the board after an LJ Talley single scored Cole Tate, who was pinch-running for Tucker Maxwell, and King. Cam Shepherd hit a two-run home run, bringing in Talley.
Florida put their first run on the board in the top of the fifth with a Brady McConnell solo home run. King added a run in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to right field. Shepherd gave Georgia its seventh run in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run, his second on the day. As Meadows reached on a fielder’s choice, Chaney Rogers scored. Two batters later, Tate singled to right, bringing in Meadows and stretching the Bulldogs’ lead to 9-1.
Junior pitcher Tim Elliott (6-3) threw five innings, allowing just one run on three hits with three strikeouts to secure the victory. Sophomore Ryan Webb took care of the final two frames. The Gators’ Jack Leftwich (4-5) allowed eight run on seven hits in five innings to fall to 4-5.
In game two, freshman Cole Wilcox (2-0) made his first SEC start a memorable one, pitching a complete game two-hitter in front of a crowd of 2,845. King hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, John Cable brought King home on a groundout to give Georgia a 2-0 lead. Rogers smacked a run-scoring double to right, scoring Talley. The Gators reacted in the sixth with a solo home run from McConnell, his 12th of the year. Georgia’s Tate executed a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the sixth to score Rogers, giving Georgia a 4-1 advantage.
Wilcox finished with seven strikeouts, allowing just one run, two hits, and giving up only one walk. Florida’s freshman pitcher Nolan Crisp (3-2) got the loss, surrendering three runs on four hits in 2.2 innings.
-Junior shortstop Cam Shepherd hit two home runs in game one, marking his third of the week and fourth of the year. He is the first Bulldog to hit two home runs in one game this year.
-The five-run third inning in game one marked the 27thtime this season the Bulldogs have put up at least four runs in one inning.
-Sophomore third baseman Riley King hit two home runs on the day for his sixth and seventh of the year.
-After claiming the victory of both games on Sunday, Georgia swept the Gators for the first time since 2006 and that was in Gainesville. Prior to Sunday, Georgia’s last sweep of Florida in Athens came in 1983.
-Freshman Cole Wilcox pitched a complete game two-hitter in his first SEC start to improve to 2-0 this year to finish off the Gators.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the pitching staff…
“Both starting pitchers were great for us today. Tim Elliott gave us a great start in game one followed by Ryan Webb with two really great innings. Cole Wilcox, that is as good as he has been as a Georgia Bulldog. We always knew he had it in him and we’ve seen flashes of it off and on but he’s really just gotten better and better as the season has gone on. To throw a complete game I thought he was outstanding.”
On the offense…
“It’s been great to see Cam Shepherd swinging the bat like that. He has three home runs this week so he’s really starting to get on fire at the right time and Riley King has just been steady all season long. Riley is a really consistent player and a really dangerous hitter so we’re really liking the way he has performed. Cole Tate came in and made some great defensive plays but had a squeeze, an RBI, and a base hit. Everyone really has just done their jobs and it could not have come at a better time.”
Cole Wilcox on the team’s effort today…
“A sweep was going to be huge this weekend. Winning the first two was huge, but winning that third one is where Coach Stricklin always says good teams win two but great teams win all three. So I knew we had to win the game. I just tried to compete with everything I had, throw a lot of strikes, and it worked out. Our defense made every play.”
Riley King on sweeping Florida for the first time since 2006…
“That’s huge obviously getting the sweep, but two just for momentum. Obviously, last week was not what we wanted, but we came back around and turned the page and did our thing that we know we can do.”
Georgia travels to Jacksonville State for a Wednesday showdown at 7:30 p.m.