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Georgia pitcher Cole Wilcox (13) throws a pitch during a game against UMass Lowell at Foley Field on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs beat the River Hawks 13 to 5, with half of Georgia’s points being scored in the first inning.

On Sunday, Georgia accomplished a feat it hadn’t since 2006.

The Bulldogs completed a sweep of Florida with a 4-1 win in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader, which was a shortened seven-inning contest. It was the first time Georgia swept its rival Gators since 2006 and the first time in Athens since 1983. 

“I was shocked when I heard that,” head coach Scott Stricklin said. “That's a long, long time. But that tells you how good Florida has been over the years.”

The Bulldogs were without their leadoff hitter, Tucker Maxwell, after he suffered a minor hamstring strain in game one.

Despite the many injuries Georgia was already dealing with, the Bulldogs didn’t seem fazed by Maxwell going down. Cole Tate pinch ran for him in game one and started at third in game two, collecting a hit and an RBI. Cam Shepherd took over the leadoff spot for Maxwell.

“We're getting all the guys who haven't gotten as many reps, they're getting time,” sophomore Riley King said. “It's just building our depth. It might look like we're getting banged up, but we're getting better because we've got guys getting more experience.”

King continued the trend of the day in the first, blasting a long solo homer over the left field fence to give Georgia an early lead for the third straight game.

King was then hit by a pitch in the third to spark a two-run rally. LJ Talley followed with a single, and a groundout from John Cable plated another Georgia run. Chaney Rogers tacked on another by lining a double to right field to make it 3-0.

A masterful outing from right-hander Cole Wilcox held Florida in check and allowed the Bulldogs to cruise to victory. 

Georgia’s starter for game three was listed as “to be announced” until shortly before first pitch. Wilcox had an idea going into the weekend that he might be starting Sunday, but Friday’s game created some uncertainty, as he might have been forced to come out of the bullpen if game two had been played on Saturday. The rain postponement made his start possible.

Wilcox dealt through seven innings, allowing just two hits and a walk and striking out seven. His only blemish came in the sixth, when Brady McConnell hit a solo home run to left to get Florida on the board and make it 3-1.

Florida’s bullpen shut Georgia down in the later innings, but Wilcox singlehandedly matched them, pitching a complete game and turning in the best outing of his freshman season.

“At the beginning of the season, I feel like I was kind of hoping I was going to throw strikes,” Wilcox said. “Today, it was just attack and compete. Just put everything aside and just compete, was the big thing.”

The sweep was the best possible response for the Bulldogs after they were swept by Mississippi State in Starkville last weekend.

“Winning that first one's good, but winning that third one is where Coach Stricklin always says good teams are great teams,” Wilcox said. “You could tell as soon as we left [Starkville], we were going to be pretty motivated coming into this week.”

Top Performers

Cole Wilcox – The right-hander shut down the Florida bats and put together his best outing of the year. He pitched a complete game and racked up five strikeouts in the seven-inning game.

Riley King - King hit the ball hard all day on Sunday, and his solo homer in the first got things started for Georgia. He went 2-for-2 on the day, and his ability to play multiple positions was a big help for the injury-plagued Bulldogs.

Brady McConnell – McConnell was Florida’s only source of offense on Sunday. After hitting a solo homer in game one, he provided another in the top of the sixth of game two to cut into Georgia’s lead. He was one of two Florida batters to record a hit off Wilcox.

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