Johnson Drives in Five Runs in Win Over GSU

The pitches Brian Johnson is facing at the plate haven't changed, but his approach has. The reigning SEC Player of the Week said he's getting his foot down earlier in the opposing pitcher's delivery to hammer inside fastballs at the plate.

"Early in the season I was probably fouling that ball off, just digging myself in a hole," Brian Johnson said. "Now I'm making contact with that pitch."

As the designated hitter in Florida's 8-2 win over Georgia Southern Tuesday, Johnson made two huge connections at the plate, powering a total of five runs on the board for the Gators.

Johnson heated up early offensively with two outs in the first inning to pull an inside fastball to the face of McKethan's scoreboard for a three-run homer, putting UF ahead 3-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, Johnson was, again, stuck at the plate two outs deep. But he pulled a two-run double into right-center to widen Florida's lead to 7-1.

Though the junior approached the plate in both instances with a two-out deficit, Johnson said it's all the same.

"Two outs is just the same as no outs," he said. "You can get a rally going just as quick as you can with no outs."

Johnson said assistant coach Brad Weitzel has been working with him to get his foot down and see pitches earlier. He said after looking at video from his at-bats earlier in the year, he noticed his foot was in the air on the pitcher's delivery.

Coach Kevin O'Sullivan said the coaching staff moved Johnson into the No. 4 hole in Saturday's game of the Tennessee series in Knoxville to see him "drive the ball a little bit."

Johnson produced in the cleanup position, going 3-5 with a solo homer, contributing to his SEC Player of the Week title.

He started in the No. 5 hole against the Eagles on Tuesday and walked away from the midweek matchup with a .323 batting average, the third-highest on the team.

Johnson and the Gators will tackle Georgia for an SEC series that kicks off Friday at 7 p.m.

"He has been seeing the ball really good," O'Sullivan said. "Your better players need to step up this time of the year. He has certainly had a great week.

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