In his first career SEC Friday night start, junior Tony Locey improved to 8-1 on the year to lead ninth-ranked Georgia to a 6-4 win over Florida in front of 3,106 at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs (35-12, 14-8 SEC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Gator starter Tommy Mace who pitched 3.1 innings and walked a career-high seven before Florida went to the bullpen. The Gators (28-19, 9-13 SEC) employed six pitchers on the night.
Locey provided six innings before the Bulldogs turned to the bullpen for the final nine outs. Locey scattered three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Ryan Webb took care of the seventh and Zac Kristofak notched his sixth save by taking care of the final two frames.
Bulldog junior Tucker Maxwell smacked a leadoff home run for the second time this year. It was his team-leading 10th home run of the season. After three consecutive walks by Mace (7-4), Georgia junior Cam Shepherd grounded out to second for an RBI to make it 2-0. Florida responded in the top of the second with back-to-back singles off Locey and a miscue by Georgia first baseman Patrick Sullivan to cut it to 2-1.
The Bulldogs loaded the bags in the bottom of the fourth when Riley King and freshman Randon Jernigan reached on walks and LJ Talley was hit by a pitch. Jernigan crossed the plate on an RBI- single to center by graduate designated hitter John Cable. A deep fly ball to left by Shepherd allowed King to tag up and score increasing for a 4-1 advantage. The scoring was capped by an RBI single by freshman right fielder Chaney Rogers scoring Talley. Georgia added a run in the sixth before the Gators got a pair in the seventh and one in the ninth for the final.
Locey was making the Friday Night start in place of sophomore ace Emerson Hancock who missed his second consecutive start due to rest a lat muscle. The Bulldogs also were missing their leading hitter in third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk who is out with a sore heel/Achilles. The Bulldogs left 13 men on base.
-Tucker Maxwell hit his second leadoff home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning. His first was on April 9 against Ga. Tech. Maxwell leads the Dawgs in home runs at 10 for the season.
-Junior Tony Locey now leads the team in wins at 8-1.
-Junior Zac Kristofak had another two-inning save, his sixth of the year.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On getting momentum back with an SEC win…
“It certainly feels good to get a win up on the board. We didn’t play well last week against a really good team in Mississippi State so it’s nice to get back on the winning track in the SEC. Florida is really good at swinging the bat. It was one of those uncomfortable wins because we left so many guys on base and we had so many opportunities to expand our lead. At the end of the day our defense bailed us out and our pitching did their job.”
Graduate John Cable DH
On the win…
“It’s big to come out this weekend and get the Friday night win especially after last weekend. We have two more games to play so we really just need to keep the energy going.”
On his approach…
“I struggled at Mississippi State but got it going a little at the Citadel on Tuesday so tonight I just wanted to get ahead in the count and see some fastballs. I definitely got back to my approach tonight and got to put the ball in play.”
Junior RHP Tony Locey
On his performance…
“With the lead, it’s really easy. You just have to man your fastball, get your breaking ball over to get them off the fastball and let them hit it because we have a great defense.”
On getting back to winning…
“We got back in the win column on Tuesday. We had to keep it rolling tonight to try to win the series tomorrow. I don’t think we have won a series against Florida in six years, we want to come out on top.”
Georgia continues the SEC series against Florida at Foley Field Saturday at 2 p.m. (SEC Network+). Lettermen festivities will begin at 1:40 p.m.