Georgia Grabs Opener from Gators

Fifth-ranked Georgia raced out to a 6-0 lead in the third inning on its way to a 7-4 victory over Florida on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.

Junior Bryce Massanari was 3-for-5 with four RBI, highlighted by a three-run homer, junior Gordon Beckham went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of runs and sophomore Joey Lewis was 3-for-5. Junior Trevor Holder (6-2) worked seven innings for the victory and senior Joshua Fields struck out all five batters he faced for his 12th save.

"(Trevor) Holder was outstanding," head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "He threw 75 pitches through seven innings, while Billy (Bullock) threw 112 pitches in six innings. Holder threw a ton of first-pitch strikes and I think Billy was 10 out of 32 for first-pitch strikes. We were behind in the count and got into some hitters' counts and they really made us pay for it."

"Billy wasn't commanding his secondary pitches like the slider and change-up," O'Sullivan continued. "I think he threw 50 percent strikes, which is hard to do against a good-hitting team like Georgia. We needed him to move the ball in and out and change speeds and he just wasn't able to do that."

The Bulldogs (29-12-1/15-3-1 SEC) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against sophomore Billy Bullock (3-3) on a bases-loaded RBI single by Massanari and a sac fly by freshman Lyle Allen. Senior Matt Olson and Beckham had back-to-back singles before sophomore Rich Poythress walked on four pitches to fill the sacks. Massanari sent a 2-0 offering into right field and Allen flew out to right to give UGA a quick lead.

Georgia plated four runs on six hits in the third to build a 6-0 lead. Olson led off with his sixth homer to right field and Beckham smacked his 15th double before Poythress had a base-hit for runners on the corners. Massanari bashed his fifth round-tripper to clear the bases for a six-run margin. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one down, as Lewis singled, sophomore Matt Cerione doubled and sophomore Michael Demperio walked. Bullock worked out of further trouble by having senior Ryan Piesel ground into an inning-ending double play.

An RBI single by sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) put the Gators on the board in the fourth off Holder. Junior Avery Barnes started the frame with a double down the left-field line and moved to third on sophomore Matt den Dekker's grounder. Figueroa stroked a base-knock into right to drive in Barnes and freshman Josh Adams came through with a hit for two runners aboard with one out. Holder induced a grounder by senior Brandon McArthur that resulted in a 6-4-3 double play.

Beckham's second double of the game provided Georgia with a 7-1 advantage in the sixth. Peisel had doubled to begin the inning and Beckham ripped a two-bagger to the fence in left for his third hit of the contest.

The Gators pulled within 7-4 in the seventh, highlighted by a towering two-run homer by senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) off the top of the scoreboard overlooking right field. McArthur doubled with two down to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and senior Jon Townsend laced an RBI single into center to score sophomore pinch runner Clayton Pisani. Barber stepped to the dish and jacked Holder's initial offering out of the yard for his second dinger of 2008.

Barnes reached on catcher's interference with one down in the eighth against sophomore Alex McRee, who replaced Holder (7.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R) at the start of the inning. den Dekker battled back from an 0-2 count to earn a free pass and Figueroa deposited a Texas Leaguer into shallow center to load the bases. Fields was called slammed the door with strikeouts of Adams and Pisani. The fireballer retired the side in order to end the ballgame.

Bullock set a career high with seven strikeouts but surrendered 12 hits and seven runs over six innings. The trio of freshman Travis Lawler (College Station, Texas) (1.0 IP, 2 H), sophomore Tony Davis (0.2 IP) and sophomore Clint Franklin (1.1 IP) combined to keep UGA scoreless over the final three stanzas. The Bulldogs held a 15-9 edge in hits, as the Gators had three players with two apiece. Junior Stephen Locke (2-2, 3.45) will start Saturday's second game for UF at 3 p.m., live on Sun Sports, against right-hander Stephen Dodson (5-1, 3.46).

Courtesy UF Sports Information

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