After taking the series opener in Athens and ending Georgia’s post season aspirations, the Florida Gators (29-26, 14-15) dropped the second game of the series to the Georgia Bulldogs (20-32, 6-20) on Friday night, 3-1. The loss evens the series at a game apiece and puts the Gators in jeopardy of dropping their third straight conference series.
Florida was able to get on the board first in the second inning. Justin Shafer led the inning off with a walk, followed by a strikeout from Zack Powers and a ground out from Vickash Ramjit that moved Shafer to second base. That’s when freshman Josh Tobias stayed hot with men in scoring position and knocked in Shafer with a two-out RBI double.
Bobby Poyner did his part, holding the Dawgs scoreless through five innings to protect the Gators’ one run lead. In fact, Poyner had retired 10-straight batters before getting into trouble in the sixth inning. It was in the sixth inning that everything would fall apart for Poyner and the Gators.
Right fielder Heath Holder opened the inning with a lead off walk, followed by a throwing error on Poyner as Georgia attempted to sacrifice bunt. With men on first and second, Nelson Ward was able to advance both of his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt of his own. Third baseman Curt Powell would reach on a scoring error by Richie Martin, who was starting his first game back at shortstop since March 3, which scored Holder from third.
Just like that, the Bulldogs evened the game but the Dawgs weren’t done yet.
Left fielder Hunter Cole lined a single into right field scoring Smith from third base and gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would never relinquish. First baseman Daniel Nichols would single later in the inning, giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
When it was all said and done, the Gators would go through three pitchers (Poyner, Aaron Rhodes, Danny Young) while giving up three runs, all unearned, on two hits and two errors.
After giving up an early run, Georgia starting pitcher Sean McLaughlin would settle down. McLaughlin finished the night with 7 innings pitched, 4 hits allowed, 1 run given up, four strikeouts and three walks. He shut the Gators down and Georgia’s bullpen would close the game out in the eighth and ninth innings.
Florida will attempt to win their final game of the regular season and avoid losing yet another SEC series tomorrow while trying to spoil senior day for seven Georgia players. First pitch is scheduled for 2:08 p.m. at Foley Field.