No. 1 Gators Clinch Series Over Georgia

Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan thought the ball was caught. With the way his team's luck was going, it wouldn't have surprised him. Instead, Daniel Pigott's opposite field blast went out of the reach of Georgia right fielder Justin Bryan for a three-run home run that gave the Gators the momentum. No. 1 Florida secured a 6-3 win to clinch its sixth straight regular season series over Georgia.

"It would've been par for the course," O'Sullivan said with a laugh about thinking the ball was caught.

The ball dropped over the fence to break the tie and give Florida (31-9/11-7 SEC) a 6-3 lead. That's where the game would stay.

Justin Shafer started the inning with a single and scored when Preston Tucker followed with a double to left field. Mike Zunino followed with a single to left. Brian Johnson then bunted the two runners up. Pigott then launched an opposite field fly ball that looked like a sacrifice fly off the bat. However, Bryan went back further and further before running out of room and watching the ball sail over his reach.

"It was a fastball up and away," Daniel Pigott said. "In that situation, I'm trying to get the runner in from third, so I'm looking for a ball to hit on the ground up the middle or get up in the air. He left it up and away, so I was trying to drive it to the outfield."

It was more of the same from Pigott. The senior ended the series going 7-12 at the plate with two home runs and a double.

"He has days like this where he sees the ball really good," O'Sullivan said. "That was obviously the biggest at-bat of the game. When he hit the three-run homer there, it kind of separated us from them. It was a really good at-bat. Not many balls go out to that side of the field."

The Gators were dependent on the bullpen Sunday since Hudson Randall was making his first start in three weeks, and as they have all season, the group delivered positive results.

Despite Greg Larson, Austin Maddox and Steven Rodriguez each throwing at least three innings during Friday's 16-inning game, the trio threw five innings, allowing two hits, one run and five strikeouts.

"We've taken care of their arms," O'Sullivan said. "Maddox's fastball was as good as it has been in a while. Rodriguez was up to 93-94 (mph) and same with Maddox. We've been careful with those guys and haven't overused them. I said before the season I wasn't going to be afraid to extend those guys as the season goes on."

The relievers knew the importance of Sunday's game. Both were unavailable to pitch on Saturday because of the amount they threw on Friday night, but Rodriguez and Maddox spent time in the bullpen talking about the outings they knew needed to happen in the rubber game.

"After yesterday's loss, me and (Maddox) were just like, ‘We have to come out there and give them a show.' We basically did that," Rodriguez said. "We came out and we did our jobs and that's what we try to do when we come out of the pen."

Karsten Whitson threw two-thirds of an inning in relief, allowing two hits and one walk. He picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the season.

After a 5-3 loss to Georgia (24-17/8-10 SEC) on Saturday, the Gators knew it was important to get off to a good start. After both teams didn't score in the first inning, Mike Zunino launched the first pitch of the second inning well over the left field bleachers to get the Gators on the board.

It can get lost in the shuffle during a game with nine runs scored, but his home run put momentum in the Florida dugout to start the game.

"I was just trying to get a pitch up that I could drive and hopefully get some momentum for the team," Zunino said. "I was able to get that."


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