Bader knocks in three as No. 9 Gators sweep Bulldogs

Published: Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.

Sophomore Harrison Bader went 3 for 3 with three RBIs, and juniors Casey Turgeon and Taylor Gushue each went 2 for 4 and knocked in a pair of runs as No. 9 Florida completed a three-game SEC sweep of Georgia with a 10-3 win Sunday at McKethan Stadium.

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Harrison Bader went 3 for 3 with three RBIs in Florida's 10-3 win over Georgia on Sunday at McKethan Stadium.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer

“When you've got a chance to win three games, it doesn't happen very often,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “You've got to play good baseball, and you've got to treat each game differently.

“You can never be satisfied because the league is usually won or lost by one game. When you get a chance when you're playing well and you're playing at home, you just can't give any games away.”

With their sixth win in a row, the Gators improved to 27-13 overall and 12-6 in SEC play to remain two games ahead of No. 11 South Carolina (30-10, 10-8) in the SEC East race while moving into a tie for the overall league lead with SEC West leader and No. 8 Alabama (28-12, 12-6), which lost at Tennessee, 10-9.

“It feels amazing,” said Bader, who in addition to his three hits, reached base in all five plate appearances thanks to a hit by pitch and a walk.

“Winning the first two games is part of the challenge, but an even bigger challenge is winning that third game. I'm glad that our pitchers did their job and our hitters did our job, too. It was a great win.”

The Bulldogs (21-18-1, 7-10-1), losers of four straight, scored in their first at-bat on a two-out, RBI single by cleanup batter Nelson Ward, but the Gators answered quickly.

Turgeon led off the UF first with a single, Richie Martin was hit by a pitch and Bader brought them both home with a ringing triple to the fence in right-center field. He later scored the third and final run of the inning on Braden Mattson's sacrifice fly.

Florida added four more runs in the second to go up 7-1, chasing Georgia starter Patrick Boling in the process. Bader had a bases-loaded, RBI single, Gushue followed with a two-run, bases-loaded single, and freshman Peter Alonso capped it with a sac fly to center.

The Bulldogs did scrape across single runs in the fifth and seventh, but UF answered each time.

Turgeon homered for the fourth time this season, tying Gushue for the team lead, with a two-run shot over the fence in right in the fifth, and freshman Buddy Reed ended the scoring with a sac fly in the seventh that scored Zack Powers, who singled to lead off the inning and went to third on a double by designated hitter Mike Fahrman.

“When you score seven runs in the first two innings, obviously it gives you a lift,” O'Sullivan said. “I think we were very fortunate today as well, though. We gave up 14 hits, but we only walked two.

“The lead-off man got on for them six of the nine times, so it was trouble for most of the day. It felt kind of uneasy even though we had the lead, so credit Georgia's hitters for doing a nice job.”

The Bulldogs actually outhit the Gators, 14-10, but the lack of a big hit and four UF double plays doomed the visitors' chances.

“The pitchers made pitches when they needed to,” Turgeon said. “They got us some ground balls, and we turned it up for them. You know, they were excited and we were excited.”

UF starter Danny Young (5-0), who had not allowed an earned run since March 4 against Southern Miss, scattered eight hits and allowed two runs, both earned, through five innings to pick up the win, with Justin Shafer and A. J. Puk combining to throw the final four frames.

Boling (3-4), the first of five Georgia pitchers, took the loss.

UF continues its eight-game homestand with midweek contests against Jacksonville and Florida A&M Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, at 7 p.m. before hosting Missouri for a three-game SEC series starting Friday night at 7.

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