Gators Take Series from Georgia

Junior right-hander Patrick Keating limited No. 5 Georgia to two runs over 6.2 innings and senior Brandon McArthur had a key three-run double to help Florida claim its weekend series over the league leaders with a 7-2 victory at McKethan Stadium in front of 3,271 fans on Sunday afternoon.

Freshman Josh Adams (2-for-4) connected on a two-run shot in the eighth and senior Josh Edmondson threw 2.1 scoreless innings to pick up his second save. UF (27-16/12-9 SEC) ended a three-series losing skid in conference action and handed UGA (29-14-1/15-5-1 SEC) its first defeat in seven SEC series.

"This win obviously puts us in a better situation," head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Before the weekend, we were three games above .500 in the league and to beat a team like Georgia will give us confidence going into a tough stretch of games this week."

"(Patrick) Keating has been really consistent for us," O'Sullivan continued. "He struck out (Matt) Olson in a big situation in the middle of the game and really came through and made a big pitch when he needed to. He has been doing that all year for us."

"Georgia needed this win just as much as we did," the first-year Gator skipper said. "A team can be in a good spot one week and a week later be in a bad spot in the league. This was just a typical Florida versus Georgia game, it's a rivalry. Their team was pumped before the game and so were we. It was a tough battle but those big innings were what helped us."

"To a lot of us, this game was one of the biggest of the season," Keating said. "We have been struggling during the last couple of SEC weekends and to come out and beat a good team like Georgia is going to help us. We have a couple tough games this week and then we go up and face South Carolina, so I think that this is one of the biggest wins for us this season."

The Gators jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third, highlighted by a bases-clearing three-run double by McArthur off junior Nathan Moreau (1-2). Sophomore Jonathan Pigott and junior Avery Barnes drew consecutive walks to start the frame and a ground ball from Adams forced Pigott at third. Sophomore Cole Figueroa (3-for-4) sliced a single into left to fill the bags with one down and McArthur roped his eighth double of the season just inside the left-field line for a three-run advantage. Sophomore reliever Dean Weaver was summoned to replace Moreau (2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R) and was greeted by a two-out RBI single into right field by senior Jon Townsend to bring home McArthur.

Keating worked out of trouble in the fifth to keep the Dawgs off the board. Sophomore Matt Cerione singled into left field, stole second and sophomore Michael Demperio drew a walk for two runners aboard. A fielder's choice by senior Ryan Peisel erased Demperio at second and advanced Cerione to third. Peisel moved into scoring position with a stolen base and Keating struck out senior Matt Olson on a 3-2 pitch after the batter had fouled off several pitches.

Florida's bid for another run in the sixth was cut down when Adams was thrown out at the plate on Figueroa's two-out double. Adams was attempting to score from first base but a perfect relay from freshman left fielder Lyle Allen to junior shortstop Gordon Beckham to junior catcher Bryce Massanari.

Georgia tallied three hits in the seventh and reached Keating for two runs. Allen led off with a base-hit through the right side and sophomore Robbie O'Bryan earned a free pass before Cerione bashed an RBI double into the left-field gap. With runners on second and third, Demperio lofted an apparent sacrifice fly into right field. However, Pigott gunned down junior pinch runner Adam Fuller at the dish with a perfect strike to junior catcher Teddy Foster for the double play. Edmondson relieved Keating (6.2 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 2 R) and yielded a single to Peisel that brought across Cerione. The righty had Olson ground out to keep UF in front by two runs.

Sophomore Alex McRee replaced Weaver (3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R) before the home part of the seventh and permitted an infield single by sophomore Matt den Dekker and a walk to Townsend with one down. The southpaw had senior Dustin Bamberg fly out and Foster delivered an important RBI single to provide the Gators with a 5-2 lead.

Adams cranked his seventh homer with Barnes aboard in the eighth for a 7-2 cushion. Barnes drew a leadoff walk and Adams sent a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left center to complete the scoring. Florida did not commit any errors for the third-straight contest and out-hit the Dawgs, 12-8. The Gators will host Florida Gulf Coast University (29-12/19-5 A-Sun) in the opener of a two-game series on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. UF edged the Eagles, 2-1, on March 11.

Courtesy UF Sports Information

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