Series Preview: No. 9 Florida baseball hosts Georgia Bulldogs this weekend

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The No. 9 Florida Gators (33-15, 15-9 SEC) host the Georgia Bulldogs (28-18, 11-13 SEC) this weekend in the penultimate regular-season series for both teams as summer quickly approaches. For UF, the three-game tilt represents a chance to pad its win column with the SEC Tournament on the horizon, while UGA looks to play spoiler for its most fierce rivals.

It has not been the greatest season for the Dawgs out on the diamond, posting a losing record in conference play — albeit it, in the best baseball conference in the country. They come into the series having lost two of three against the top-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks last weekend and winning just four of their last 10 games. Despite stealing one from the Hogs, there just have not been many signature victories for Georgia this season.

Historically, Florida has a firm grasp on the all-time series notching a 189-110-2 record since the schools first met in 1931. Georgia won seven of the first 10 games against the Gators and ran off its best run of nine-straight from 1939 to 1946 before the Orange and Blue took over. UF’s best streak of 12 games occurred between 1990 and 1993, and recently won seven straight from 2016 to 2018. However, UGA has won the last four meetings dating back to 2018.

Here is a look below at the starting pitchers lined up for this weekend’s series along with the projected starting lineup. Scroll down further for interesting excerpts from the media guide.

Game 1: Friday (6:30 p.m. EDT)

Starting Pitcher Florida: RHP Tommy Mace (5-0, 4.43 ERA) UGA: LHP Liam Sullivan (1-1, 3.96 ERA) WATCH: SEC NETWORK+ LISTEN: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM WRUF RESULT: https://gatorswire.usatoday.com/2021/05/14/florida-baseball-georgia-bulldogs-game-1-recap/

Game 2: Saturday (6:30 p.m. EDT)

Starting Pitcher Florida: LHP Hunter Barco (8-2, 4.26 ERA) UGA: LHP Jaden Woods (3-0, 4.00 ERA) WATCH: SEC NETWORK+ LISTEN: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM WRUF RESULT: https://gatorswire.usatoday.com/2021/05/15/florida-baseball-georgia-bulldogs-game-2-recap/

Game 3: Sunday (12 p.m. EDT)

Starting Pitcher Florida: Franco Aleman (1-2, 5.17 ERA) UGA: TBD WATCH: SEC NETWORK LISTEN: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM WRUF

Projected Starting Lineup

FLORIDA HOSTS GEORGIA

No. 9 Florida (33- 15, 15-9 SEC) hosts Georgia (28-18, 11-13 SEC) this upcoming weekend in the team's last home series of the season. Florida is 26-12 overall vs. Georgia under Kevin O'Sullivan, including 14-4 at home. The Gators enter Tuesday having won 15 of their last 17 home games including nine of their last 10 at Florida Ballpark. Overall, Florida was won 13 of their last 17 games including five of their last seven.

GATORS IN THE RANKINGS

Florida ranks inside the top four in the SEC in sacrifice flies (tied first; 28), doubles (tied second; 92), hits (third; 469), triples (tied third; 12), batting average (fourth; .283), total bases (fourth; 762) and walks (fourth; 229). As a pitching staff, the Gators rank second with 16 saves, third in fewest walks allowed (142) and tied for third in innings pitched (428.2). After recording his third two-homer game of the season against Kentucky on May 7, OF Jud Fabian is tied for second in the SEC and third nationally with 18 home runs. Fabian also ranks third in the SEC in total bases (112), fifth in slugging (.626), fifth in walks (36) and ninth in runs (46). OF Jacob Young is tied for third in the SEC with 51 runs scored (T13th nationally) while pacing the conference in plate appearances (239) and at bats (205). Young is also tied for second with 14 doubles, tied for sixth in hits (65; T23rd nationally) and tied for sixth in stolen bases (12). C Nathan Hickey is tied for second in the SEC in doubles (14), tied for third in walks (39), fifth in OBP (.458) and tied for fifth in RBI (47). On the mound, RHP Hunter Barco is tied for second in the SEC with eight wins on the season while Jack Leftwich is tied for seventh with six victories of his own. Leftwich also ranks seventh with a .189 BAA and 13th with a 3.51 ERA. Tommy Mace is tied for 10th in the SEC with 83 strikeouts and ranks sixth with 69 innings pitched.

GOING STREAKING

OF Jud Fabian has reached base in 23 consecutive games dating back to April 2, while INF Kirby McMullen currently owns an active on-base streak of 20 games. During their streaks, Fabian is slashing .304/.441/.759 while McMullen has batted at a .297/.404/.473 clip. OF Jacob Young and INF Cory Acton also own double-digit on-base streaks of 15 and 11 games, respectively.

HERE COMES THE JUD

Over Florida's last 15 games, OF Jud Fabian is slashing .365/.507/.885 with a team-high seven home runs, 15 RBI and four stolen bases. Fabian boasts an 11-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that time, improving his season slash line to .268/.387/.626.

BARCO DAY EQUALS WINNING WAYS

With 6.2 scoreless frames to clinch a series win over Kentucky, RHP Hunter Barco improved to 8-2 on the season and 5-0 across his previous six starts. Across those six starts, Barco leads the Gators with a 3.03 ERA, 32.2 innings, 33 strikeouts and a .231 ERA. He has not lost a start since March 28 at South Carolina.

UNIQUE HITTING STREAK

Sophomore Jacob Young broke Tim Olson’s 21-year-old record on Sunday, March 7, as he singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to a record 30 games. Young hit .415 (51-123) over the streak, with 11 doubles, 18 RBIs and 23 runs.

SULLY MAKES SCHOOL HISTORY

Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan passed Dave Fuller for the most wins in program history. O’Sullivan has 580 career wins and a .682 winning percentage (which ranks third among active coaches with at least 10 Division I seasons). Fuller finished his illustrious Gators head coaching career with 556 wins from 1948-75.

NEXT TIME OUT

Florida wraps up the regular season with a three-game road series at Arkansas from May 20-22.

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