Randall Holds off Bulldog Offense

Hudson Randall knows how to rebound. After struggling last Friday at Mississippi State, the sophomore tossed 6.1 innings of three-run baseball to hold the Georgia offense at bay while the No. 4 Florida (27-8/10-3 SEC) offense tacked on the runs. The Gators won the series opener 5-4 over the Bulldogs (18-17/8-5) Friday at Foley Field.

"I didn't doubt that he was going to give us a chance to win," said Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan, who recorded his 150th win at Florida. "You obviously don't know if he'll get the "W" or not, but I knew he'd bounce back. That's what separates him from most. He's got this way about him that he handles success in the right way and handles failures in the right way, as well."

Randall (6-1) allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) while recording only one strikeout. It was a vintage Randall performance, forcing hitters to put the ball in play and trusting his defense to make the plays.

Randall allowed two of the runs during the seventh inning and exited the game with first and second and one out.

Nick Maronde got the call out of the bullpen, and he recorded a fly out and a strikeout to end the seventh inning without any more damage.

Austin Maddox threw the eighth inning and recorded the first two outs of the ninth, although giving up a run and getting two strikeouts. With a runner on first and two outs, O'Sullivan brought left-hander Steven Rodriguez into the game to face Georgia second baseman Levi Hyams, who was 2-for-4 on the night heading into the at-bat.

The Florida fifth inning started with back-to-back singles from Brian Johnson and Austin Maddox, who are both starting to show signs of breaking out from their slump that lasted the first half of the season. Tyler Thompson advanced them with a sacrifice bunt, and Daniel Pigott scored Johnson with a single to center field. Jeff Moyer hit a ball to shortstop that looked like an inning-ending double play, but he beat the throw out to let the run score and give the Gators a 3-1 lead.

"I thought the big inning was when Johnson and Maddox both had those two-strike hits to start it," O'Sullivan said. "Daniel got a nice hit through the middle to drive in two runs, and that was a big momentum lift for us."

The Gators loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning on singles from Josh Adams, Preston Tucker and Mike Zunino. After Johnson struck out on a fastball inside, Maddox drove a single into right-center field to give Florida a 5-1 advantage.

Both teams got on the board in the first inning. Florida's run came on an RBI single from Tucker while Georgia's came on sacrifice fly by Zack Cone.

The teams will continue the series on Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. The Gators will start sophomore left-hander Brian Johnson (5-1, 2.54) against Georgia junior right-hander Michael Palazzone (5-1, 2.28).


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