Seventh-ranked Florida used four home runs to post a 9-2 series-clinching win over Georgia Saturday in front of crowd of 3,471 at the Florida Ballpark.
The Gators (35-15, 17-9 SEC) got a pair of home runs from Jud Fabian, who leads the conference in that category with 20, while Kendrick Calilao and Justin Rivera had one piece to pace a 10-hit attack. Georgia (28-20, 11-15 SEC) took a 2-0 lead in the second as junior left fielder Randon Jernigan (2-for-4, RBI) drove in a run and another scored on a wild pitch by Hunter Barco. However, the Gators came right back in their half of the inning as Jacob Young tied the game with a two-out, two-run single off freshman Jaden Woods. In the third, Fabian’s solo shot gave Florida the lead for good.
Barco improved to 9-2, going 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Woods dropped to 3-1, allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Darryn Pasqua, Nolan Crisp and Hank Bearden all pitched in relief for the Bulldogs. Bearden pitched a scoreless frame with one strikeout.
Georgia redshirt junior Connor Tate extended his on base streak to 27 games when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth and then singled in the eighth to give him an 11-game hitting streak, both career bests. Freshman Fernando Gonzalez doubled and scored in the second to give him a career-high eight-game hitting streak. Jernigan started in place of Riley King in left field who was a late scratch. Along with the two hits, he made a running catch on a sinking liner and then fired to second to complete an inning-ending double play in the fourth.
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch at 12:02 p.m. The game will be available on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. Georgia will start sophomore right-hander Jonathan Cannon (2-2, 4.53 ERA) while the Gators counter with junior right-hander Franco Aleman (1-2, 5.17 ERA).
Georgia’s Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the game…
“The home runs and free bases, that’s going to hurt you any time. They are a really good team and played really well tonight. (Hunter) Barco was awfully good, and he’ll be a first round pick next year, and he pitched like it. We struck for a couple there in the second inning, and we needed a shutdown inning, and we just didn’t get it. We got to get ready to play tomorrow.”
On Randon Jernigan’s game…
“Randon played really well. He’s a hard-nosed player. He’s always ready to go in there, and I was proud of the way he performed.”