ATHENS, Ga. - The 23rd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated the 16th-ranked Florida Gators 6-1 Friday to clinch an SEC series in front of 3,671 spectators at Foley Field.
"I thought the key to the game was the bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the top of the sixth," said Georgia's Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. "Jonathan Cannon pitched out of it. That's the crazy thing. He didn't have his best stuff today and threw six shutout innings against one of the best offensive teams in the country."
Cannon, who leads the SEC with 47.1 innings, improved to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.71 with 46 strikeouts and just three walks. Georgia's (21-6, 5-3 SEC) offense was led by sophomore Parks Harber. as he went 3-4 with three RBIs, coming off of a key home run in Thursday night's contest. Florida sophomore flamethrower Brandon Sproat, who hit 100 miles per hour multiple times, dropped to 3-3, allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings. He had a shutout until the sixth inning.
Following back-to-back two-out singles from Chaney Rogers and Harber in the second, sophomore Fernando Gonzalez singled off of the second base umpire. Rogers could not advance home due to the ball being declared dead. Former Gator Cory Acton was called out on strikes with the bases loaded to end the Bulldog threat. Stricklin was ejected from the game by the home plate umpire after the inning.
After a quiet third and fourth innings, Florida had runners on first and second with one out in the top of the fifth before Cannon struck out SEC home run leader Jud Fabian. The Gators were also in business in the top of the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs. Redshirt senior Josh McAllister dove to his left and threw a runner out at the plate to get the first out for the Bulldogs. Cannon stymied the next two Florida hitters to get out of another jam, and the game remained scoreless.
Sophomore Corey Collins was hit by a pitch with a 1-2 count in the bottom half of the inning and would advance to second after a Connor Tate single to left field. Junior Buddy Floyd would pinch run for Collins and score following a squeeze bunt by Rogers. The Bulldogs rallied for two more runs in the inning after Harber lined a double to the warning track in left field. Senior right-hander Jack Gowen took over in the seventh inning and pitched the final three innings for his third save. Cannon threw six scoreless innings and allowed five hits, two walks, one hit batter and three strikeouts.
Gowen quickly ran into trouble in the seventh as the Gators put runners on second and third with one out. Sophomore Sterlin Thompson flew out to Connor Tate in left field. Sophomore Mac Guscette tagged up on the play and was thrown out at home following a perfectly-executed relay from Tate to McAllister to Gonzalez. The play highlighted stellar defensive work from the Bulldogs all night.
Sproat exited the game following the sixth inning and was replaced by freshman Philip Abner. He pitched a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout and would be replaced by sophomore Nick Ficarrotta.
Gowen remained in the game in the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff home run from sophomore Wyatt Langford to make the game 3-1.
The Bulldogs responded in their half of the inning after a two-RBI double from Gonzalez. Georgia tacked on another later in the inning to make it a 6-1 ballgame.
After a 7-6 win Thursday and Friday's victory, Georgia will aim for a series sweep Saturday with first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. Prior to the game, Georgia will have its annual Lettermen's Day recognition.
- Today marks the 291st meeting between the Bulldogs and Gators - Florida owns a 189-99-2 advantage over Georgia in the series.
- Johnathan Canon issues his first true walk of the season in 42.2 innings of work. His only other walk was an intentional one against Georgia Tech.
- Graduate Connor Tate extended his hitting streak to eight games with a sixth-inning single.
- Senior Ben Anderson extend his on-base streak to 25 games following a third-inning single.