Gators pounded in series opener at UGA

Florida baseball got off to a difficult start in Athens.

After losing the series to Kentucky last weekend, the Gators dropped game one of the series against Georgia 11-1 on Friday. Florida (33-13, 15-7 SEC) has now lost three of its last four games.

“Some of these guys need a history lesson in how important it is to play Georgia,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said on the postgame radio broadcast. “This is a rivalry. That’s not acceptable. Every conference game is important, but this is Florida-Georgia. Our players need to realize that. We need to come out tomorrow ready to play. We’ve just got to play better, it’s the bottom line.

“It’s unfortunate. I expected to us to play well tonight. We had a good week of practice, guys are done with final exams. To be honest with you, this one caught me by surprise.”

Florida actually started out with a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but the pitching staff fell apart soon after. Starter Logan Shore lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up five hits, two walks and five runs and while striking out two. He threw just 65 pitches before Kevin O’Sullivan went to the bullpen for left-hander Kirby Snead.

Georgia’s lead was 6-1 after six innings, but the Bulldogs put it away with a five-run seventh inning.

The Florida pitching staff has been inconsistent throughout the year. It got ahead of the Georgia hitters on Friday but couldn’t put them away.

“It’s been an issue we’ve had over the course of the year,” O’Sullivan said. “We’ve gotten to two strikes and just haven’t made good pitches with two strikes.”

The Florida offense wasn’t any better. The Gators had just four hits and worked three walks. After Florida scored in the second inning, the Gators had just one base runner reach second base the rest of the way.

“We’ve got to do a better job with fastballs,” O’Sullivan said. “We just didn’t hit the fastball tonight. We’ve got to get Bader going. He has to start hitting in conference, it’s the bottom line. Pete (Alonso) has to start going. We had a couple situations where he needed to help us and hit into two double plays. He has to elevate the ball.”

Game two is set for Saturday at 12 p.m. on ESPNU.

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