The second ranked Florida baseball team got a great start from lefty AJ Puk on the mound but it was not enough as the Gators went on to lose at home to Georgia 2-1 in 12 innings Thursday night in Gainesville. The Gators lost for only the third time all season at home to fall to 34-6 overall and to 11-5 in the SEC.
The Gators would get a hot start in the first inning when freshman Deacon Liput doubled into right field and JJ Schwarz would hit a single giving the Gators an early 1-0 lead—it would be the only run the Gators would score in the game.
Many predicted a pitcher’s duel in this game between Puk and Georgia starter Robert Tyler and that’s exactly what transpired. Both were outstanding but neither got the win.
Puk dominated the Georgia lineup but the Bulldogs managed to tie the game in the seventh inning. Puk had retired 18 consecutive batters until a lead off double from junior Trevor Kieboom would start it for Georgia. Later, a double off of Puk on his 103rd pitch of the game would tie things up at 1-1. Puk would be relieved by junior Dane Dunning having pitched 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts while allowing just three hits.
After a second double from Kieboom in the ninth Dunning was relieved by junior Kirby Snead. The lefty came in top strike out left handed hitting Keegan McGovern and was then relieved by Shaun Anderson. Anderson pitched 2.2 innings and allowed no runs.
Georgia starting pitcher Robert Tyler held the Gators scoreless after allowing that first inning run; he pitched 8.1 innings, allowing eight hits while striking out nine Gator hitters. Heath Holder would relieve Tyler in the ninth with two on after Schwarz and Peter Alonso hit singles but he struck out Jonathan India and Mike Rivera to end the threat.
Florida had numerous chances to add runs in the game but could not do it and the Bulldogs finally pushed across a run in the 12th. Frank Rubio would relieve Anderson to start the 12th, giving up consecutive singles. After a successful sacrifice, freshman Brady Singer would come in the game for the Gators and he allowed a single up the middle by LJ Talley to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
Up next the Gators will compete in Game 2 of the series against Georgia on Friday. Junior Logan Shore will start on the bump against Bulldog junior Connor Jones. O’Sullivan says offense has to improve in order to compete against a very tough Georgia team.
First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and you can hear live coverage on ESPN Gainesville 95.3 FM.