Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs Series Preview
The Florida Gators are back house for a three-game weekend series versus the Georgia Bulldogs. This series versus Georgia will be Florida’s last house stint this
The Georgia Bulldogs are among the leading groups in the SEC East led by their pitching personnel. The Bulldogs have a 28-11 record with an 11-13 record in SEC play. Georgia is coming off a difficult weekend series versus the top-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks as they lost 2 out of 3 video games.
The Florida Gators will seek to rebound versus Georgia after they lost their last midweek video game of the season versus the Stetson Hatters. Nevertheless, Florida still has a 33-15 record and are the ninth ranked group in the nation by D1 Baseball.
The Georgia Bulldogs arrive in Gainesville, Florida, and will play at Florida Ballpark for the first time since the stadium was opened. The Bulldogs will be led by their head coach, Scott Stricklin, who is in the middle of the eighth season at the University of Georgia.
The Georgia pitching staff has some elite arms on their roster including two top 100 prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft. The Bulldogs have the fourth-best group ERA in the SEC with a 3.83 and they’re also third for third in opponent batting average with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Liam Sullivan will get the start for the Bulldogs on Friday night. This will be Sullivan’s second start of his collegiate career as he made his first start last weekend versus Arkansas.
Another freshman left-handed pitcher that will start versus the Florida Gators is Jaden Woods. The true freshman has made fourteen appearances this season including three starts. Woods has posted a 3-0 record with a 4.00 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and .168 opponent batting average.
Georgia has not announced a starting pitcher in the series finale but it’s expected to be right-handed pitcher Jonathan Cannon. The 6’6” 215-pound right-hander has pitched as well as many expected him to. Cannon has a 2-2 record in ten starts with a 4.53 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 1.6 BB/9. Georgia will miss left-handed pitcher Ryan Webb as he’s out for the season with an elbow injury.
As for the Bulldogs offense, they are the tenth-ranked hitting in the SEC with a .277 team batting average. Georgia’s offense is ranked eighth in the SEC in hits and tied for third in triples with Florida.
Outfielder Connor Tate is currently the leading hitter for the Bulldogs and has been their most productive hitter this season. Tate is slashing .348/.408/.558 with 63 hits, six doubles, ten home runs, and 14 walks, and a team-high .966 OPS.
Another Tate that has produced for the Georgia Bulldogs this season is senior infielder Cole Tate. Georgia’s everyday shortstop is slashing .320/.370/.408 with 54 hits, five doubles, two triples, 19 RBIs, and a .778 OPS. Two other Georgia Bulldogs to watch this weekend are outfielder Ben Anderson and designated hitter Corey Collins.
The Florida Gators will look to stay hot in their home ballpark as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators have an impressive 26-6 home record with half of those home losses coming against SEC opponents.
Florida’s head coach, Kevin O’Sullivan, has made changed the pitching rotation but will keep the same pitchers as before. Right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace will get the start on Friday. Mace has been solid this season with a 5-0 record in twelve appearances and eleven starts. Mace has a 4.43 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a 10.8 K/9.
Left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco will get the start for Florida on Saturday. This will be the very first time in Barco’s career that he’s the #2 starter in Florida’s weekend rotation. Barco has an 8-2 record in twelve starts. He also has a 4.26 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and a 10.8 K/9.
The Florida Gators’ offense has been very good during the 2021 season. The Gators have a .286 group batting average which ranks third in the SEC. Florida likewise ranks fourth in walks with 223 and 3rd in hits with 466.
The leading hitter for the Gators is catcher Nathan Hickey. The 2nd-year freshman is slashing .331/.458/.567 with some of the best striking numbers in the SEC. Hickey is 5th in on base portion and thirteenth in batting average.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.