Florida Takes Two-Game Lead With Sweep

ATHENS - No. 17 Florida scored six runs in the top of the ninth highlighted by a go-ahead three-run home run by Preston Tucker to complete a sweep of No. 6 Georgia with a 10-8 win Sunday at Foley Field.

The Bulldogs (33-15, 14-10 SEC) led 7-3 when the Gators (34-14, 16-8 SEC) scored a run in the eighth, then pulled to within 7-5 on a passed ball with one out in the ninth. Tucker then gave Florida its first lead on his 11th home run of the season. The Gators added two more runs in the inning and handed Georgia its fifth straight SEC loss and sixth overall. Florida now holds a two-game lead over the Bulldogs in the SEC East.

"The weather and big innings got us this weekend," Georgia coach David Perno said. "It was a gut-wrenching game. What a difference an inning makes. It's tough when you lose three games by four runs. Our lineup and run production was solid and with our pitching staff we should have won a couple of games. I trust our leaders, and they've worked hard and they will get these guys going. They don't like losing and we're going to turn this thing around."

Georgia lost depite three hits by Matt Cerione including two home runs. Rich Poythress went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI and has driven in 75 runs this season, just two shy of Gordon Beckham's record 77 RBI last year. Michael Demperio and freshman Colby May, Levi Hyams and Peter Verdin and also had two hits each for the Bulldogs. Lyle Allen hit a solo home run with one out in the ninth.

Patrick Keating (3-3) picked up the win for Florida while Cecil Tanner (3-1) was charged with the loss. Billy Bullock earned his 10th save second of the weekend.

Georgia starter Justin Grimm held the Gators to three runs on seven his in six inning, striking out five while walking just one.

The Bulldogs grabbed the early lead as Cerione doubled to start the first and Colby May singled to right field, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Poythress then hit a sacrifice fly to center field giving Georgia a 1-0 lead.

Josh Adams tied it at 1-1 with an opposite field home run on the first pitch of the second inning, but the Bulldogs came back in the third as Demperio hit Georgia's first triple in SEC play, scoring Verdin with two outs.

Florida came back to tie it in the top of the fifth, but Georgia took the lead again on an opposite field home run by Cerione in the bottom half. May followed with a single, then Poythress launched his 21st home run of the season and drove in his 74th and 75th runs to give Georgia a 5-2 lead.

The Gators cut the lead to 5-3 in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Jonathan Pigott, but Cerione's home run to lead off the seventh pushed the lead back to three runs, and Georgia added another run on a dropped fly ball to go ahead 7-3.

Matt den Dekker's RBI single in the top of the eighth pulled Florida to within 7-4 before the Gators rallied in the ninth.

Georgia returns to action next Friday when the Bulldogs open a three-game series against Vanderbilt at 7 p.m.

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