Gator Baseball Completes Road Sweep of Georgia

A team always relishes the opportunity to get a sweep of a rival.

Even more when it’s on the road.

That’s what the Gator baseball team did against Georgia, sealing the sweep with a 4-3 win Sunday afternoon in Athens.

Florida used a strong start from starting pitcher Jackson Kowar (7.0 innings, 3 ER, 6 hits), who improved to 7-0 on the season, while surviving a late eighth inning rally from the Bulldogs to come away with the victory.

Michael Byrne earned the save for Florida, his 11th of the season, after tossing a scoreless ninth inning. Kevin Smith (2-5) took the loss for Georgia after giving up four earned runs and three walks in 5.0 innings of work.

With the win, the Gators (30-13, 13-8 SEC) are now 10-2 in their last 12 games and have won each of their past three conference series. Georgia (17-28, 5-16 SEC) meanwhile remains in last place in the SEC East after the series.

Recap

The Gators jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the seventh inning.

J.J. Schwarz started the scoring with a two-run homer to right field in the top of the second. The home run was part of a solid day at the plate for Schwarz, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

He was one of six Gators to have a base hit, and one of two Gators with multiple hits on the day. The other was Nelson Maldonado (2-for-3, two runs) who also scored on the home run.

In the fourth inning, Florida made it 3-0 via Mark Kolozsvary’s sacrifice fly to center field that scored Ryan Larson.

The fourth inning stood out for what Florida did on defense though, specifically Dalton Guthrie.

Guthrie had three ridiculous defensive plays on the day that would make any episode of SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. Two of them came in the fourth inning. On one play, he made a diving snatch to his left before throwing to first for the out from his back. On the other play, he made a diving, over the shoulder catch in shallow left-center field.

The other “web gem” came in the sixth inning when he made another diving stop in the infield while then spinning to throw out the runner.  The Gators also scored their final run of the game in that inning via a fielder’s choice that scored Maldonado to make it 4-0.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan had high praise for Guthrie’s defensive play on the diamond.

Georgia attempted a late rally in the eighth inning and were able to put three runs on the board.

Shortstop Cam Shepherd drove home two runs on a double to left center field to make it 4-2. The Gator lead then went down to one run after an RBI single through the left side from Georgia third baseman Mitchell Webb made it a 4-3 game. On the next at bat though, Byrne managed a lineout to end the inning and preserve the lead.

In the ninth, Byrne did what he’s done now 11 times this season. He faced only four batters in the bottom of the ninth, and ended the game by forcing Shepherd to fly out.

Up Next

Florida will return to Gainesville for a six game homestand. They host Florida A&M and Jacksonville for midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively; then the Gators will host Ole Miss for a three-game weekend series starting Friday before hosting USF the following Tuesday in another midweek game.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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