Georgia baseball gets a confidence boost ahead of Florida series

Georgia baseball held opening day at Foley Field hosting Evansville in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Evansville won 3-2. [Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald]News Joshua L Jones
Georgia baseball held opening day at Foley Field hosting Evansville in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Evansville won 3-2. [Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald]News Joshua L Jones /

This week, Georgia baseball had to find themselves after dropping the series to Kentucky last weekend. Still, after beating Georgia Southern on Tuesday 7-2 in Athens, the Dawgs have some confidence for the big home series against arch-rival Florida.

That win on Tuesday gave the Dawgs a 2-1 series win over the Eagles and bragging rights.

The Florida series starts Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2 as the Dawgs and Gators will play in primetime.

Georgia baseball got a confident win just in time to take on No. 16 Florida.

This series is much like the football one as it includes a lot of hate and heated games. The Gators and Dawgs began playing each other in 1931, and Florida leads the series 189-97-2.

However, Georgia was the last to win as they beat Florida back in November for a fall exhibition. The Dawgs won 8-5 the Friday night before the football team destroyed Florida 34-7 — what a great weekend.

In 2019, Georgia swept the home series against Florida and fell to the Gators last year 1-2 in the Gainesville series.

There is already an immediate advantage with the Dawgs playing at home this season. Foley Field is a great environment, and the bats seem to stay hot when Georgia plays at home.

Starting Game 1 for the Dawgs on the mound is Garrett Brown, a redshirt sophomore who doesn’t have the best ERA but is a solid option. The Dawgs have to work with who they have because Dylan Ross and Will Childers are out for the season.

That predicament isn’t ideal, but it’s time for Brown to step up and show he can handle Game 1 starting duties.

Florida will likely put Hunter Barco on the mound for Thursday’s game as he is also 5-1 on the year with a 1.41 ERA through 31.1 innings pitched. Barco has 52 strikeouts on the year and five walks.

However, Friday night’s game is the one that will feature Georgia’s stud pitcher. Jonathan Cannon will be on the mound for the Dawgs in Game 2 as the impressive pitcher holds a 5-1 record with a 1.96 ERA. He pitched 41.1 innings, recording 43 strikeouts and one intentional walk.

Cannon is powerful, and when he is on the mound, it elevates the rest of the team.

Graduate center fielder Ben Anderson is red-hot at the plate as he has reached base in 23 straight games. Last week, he led the SEC with a .529 average as he went 9-of-17 at the plate. On the season, Anderson bats .369 and has a .518 on-base percentage.

Anderson is one of the leaders, so when he plays well, other guys follow suit. The Dawgs need to find a groove this weekend against the Gators to get an upset. It is doable, but it will take what we saw against Texas A&M.

Georgia had some injuries that kept Cole Tate out of the Kentucky series, but he will return for Florida. Without him in the lineup, it was evident.

To beat Florida, the Dawgs will have to play defense well because the Gators have already hit 49 home runs this year and have a .295 team batting average and .524 slugging percentage.

As a whole, Georgia bats .289, has 25 homers and holds a .438 slugging percentage. The Dawgs do a better job of getting on base as they have a .405 on-base percentage compared to Florida’s .383 percentage.

The Dawgs needed that win against Georgia Southern to avoid losing three straight games. Georgia hasn’t lost more than back-to-back games so far this season, so it was important for their confidence to know what happened in Lexington was okay, and they could grow from it.

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This series is a big one for the Dawgs, and if they can really set the tone for the rest of the SEC slate by getting this series victory.