Baseball: Georgia's offense comes alive in win over No. 7 Florida
Garrett Blaylock's three-run home run in the first powers the Bulldogs' offense past the Gators
(Photo by Anissa Dimilta)
After dropping the first two games of the series, Georgia got a boost of confidence from senior Garrett Blaylock after his three-run bomb in the first inning to put the Bulldogs up early.
In the top of the first, Cole Tate and Josh McAllister hit consecutive singles off Florida starting pitcher Franco Aleman. Then, Blaylock jumped on a first-pitch fastball that sailed over the fence in right-center field. That home run was Blaylock’s eighth of the year, which is good for third on the team behind freshman Corey Collins (9) and senior Connor Tate (10).
From there, Georgia (28-20, 11-15) never looked back as No. 7 Florida (35-15, 17-9) struggled at the plate.
Blaylock’s dinger gave Georgia starting pitcher Jonathan Cannon some room to work with as he pitched 5.2 innings while giving up one earned run. The right-handed pitcher from Alpharetta also struck out four and walked four in the win. The one earned run Cannon suffered was in the bottom of the second inning while Georgia led 4-0.
Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said after the game that Cannon’s performance was positive, especially after all the injuries that have occurred to the pitching staff throughout the season.
"Jonathan (Cannon) was really big for us,” Stricklin said. “We needed a quality start. The bullpen has been stressed out the last few weeks. We hoped to get to the seventh with him and he got us almost through six. I thought he toughed it out and did a good job."
The Bulldogs used six total pitchers to limit Florida to one run and eight hits on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s six pitchers also stranded a total of 12 men on base, while they limited themselves to just five overall walks. As a staff, the Bulldogs were able to put away 28 of 40 batters faced. Collin Caldwell came in to relieve Cannon, while Michael Polk, Will Pearson, Luke Wagner and Ben Harris all made an appearance.
Cole Tate went three-for-five on Sunday with three hits and McAllister and Collins each had two, respectively. Blaylock and senior Chaney Rogers were the only two other Bulldog batters that had a hit in the rubber of the series. Connor Tate and Riley King, who have both been a big part of Georgia’s offense this season, missed the game. However, the Bulldogs totaled nine hits, despite the absence of Tate and King.
Stricklin said Tate tried to play, although the Oconee County standout couldn’t muster up the strength after getting hit in the leg by a pitch in Saturday night’s contest.
"Tough news, it was about an hour before game time and Connor Tate can't go and Riley was out, too,” Strickland said. “Connor tried to go during BP (batting practice) and just couldn't quite do it. He took a pitch to the back of the leg last night, and it's really painful for him. It's just the next man up, and we had a lot of guys come in and play well today. This was a really good team win for us."
Georgia will return to action this week in hopes of avenging an early-season loss to Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets will square off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 in Atlanta.