Georgia Baseball Drops Two of Three to Gators

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The Georgia baseball team lost two of three to the Florida Gators this weekend and will play to extend its season into the SEC Tournament next weekend.

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Despite the return of pitching ace Robert Tyler to the mound for Georgia, the Dawgs dropped the rubber game of a weekend series to eighth-ranked Florida 7-4 on Sunday at Foley Field.

“Robert’s velocity was great,” Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin told Georgiadogs.com. “We put him in a difficult situation not making plays, but I thought he looked fresh.”

Georgia (22-25, 7-16 SEC) gave the Gators’ a jump-start, allowing three unearned runs in the first two innings for a 4-0 early lead. Florida (35-13, 15-9 SEC) saw the lead evaporate with the Bulldogs’ Daniel Nichols long three-run home run to right field and sophomore Stephen Wrenn’s solo shot to left to tie the game at 4-4. The homer was Nichols’ fifth of the season, good for third on the team. Wrenn’s blast was the Georgia centerfielder’s seventh of the season and second in as many days.

“Their pitching staff is as good as you’re going to see.” Stricklin continued with georgiadogs.com. “I thought their pitching staff did a good job of settling our bats down, but the story of the game was us not getting it done defensively.”

Tyler reached his limited pitch count in the second inning and Florida took control of the contest. Tyler has been out since a forearm strain on February 27th against Georgia Southern.

The Bulldogs smashed the Gators on Friday evening 11- 1 and on Saturday, despite a dominant performance from Florida starter A.J. Puk, the Bulldogs had chances to secure the series win. But after a Mitchell Webb double tied the game in the seventh at 1-1 and Wrenn’s solo shot tied the game again at 2-2 after eight innings, the Gators scored the go-ahead run in the top half of the ninth. Georgia received two-out singles from both Webb and Brandon Stephens before Skyler Weber grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

“A.J. Puk for them was outstanding, that was as good as we’ve seen all year long,” Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin told Georgidogs.com. “We gave ourselves a chance to win. We got some clutch hits. Ryan Lawlor kept us in the game, and then we kept getting those hits with two outs, you can’t say enough about that. We got some big hits, we got two hits there in the ninth to give us a chance and just came up a little bit short today.”

Puk gave up only two hits across six scoreless innings while becoming the first Gator to record double-digit strikeouts (11) in a game since 2012. The sophomore retired the last 16 batters he faced. The Saturday outing overshadowed a strong performance from the Bulldogs’ Lawlor, who held the Gators (34-13, 14-9 SEC) to one earned run over five innings with four walks and three strikeouts.

Georgia must win at least one more game than Alabama or Mississippi State next week while on the road at Kentucky to extend its season into the SEC Tournament.