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Gators outlast Bulldogs to take series opener

Rivera’s only hit delivers the win for Florida
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:59 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Gators Baseball team came in to their final Southeastern Conference series of the season with a lot on the line.

Friday night, Josh Rivera helped them creep closer to hosting a regional playoff game with his tie-breaking rbi single to push Florida passed Georgia, 4-3.

The Gators (34-15) jumped out to an early lead off the bat of Kendrick Calilao. He belted a 2-0 pitch, in the bottom of the 2nd, to dead center and it caromed off the hitters eye for a solo home run. It was Calilao’s third round trip of the season.

The Bulldogs (28-19) answered right back, though. In the top of the 3rd, the red and black scored two runs to take the lead. Josh McCallister tied the game with an rbi single, then Garrett Blaylock put Georgia ahead with a SAC fly to center.

In the home half of the inning, Jacob Young brought the tying run home with an rbi groundout to short.

Top of the 5th, Connor Tate broke the 2-2 tie with an rbi single as McCallister touched home for the second time in the game.

In the bottom of the frame, Young lifted a pitch out to left and it just carried beyond the fielder’s glove to help Cory Acton come all the way around to score from first to even the game, 3-3.

The contest remained gridlocked at three until the bottom of the 8th. Gators shortstop Josh Rivera was 0-3 entering his final at bat of the night, and with Kris Armstrong standing at second with two outs, Rivera had a chance to be a hero.

On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Rivera drove the ball on a line to left field. Armstrong flew around third and slid safely into home to give Florida a 4-3 lead.

Jack Leftwich collected his seventh win of the season as he closed out the top of 9th with the three strikeouts, as the Gators narrowly defeat the Bulldogs to take game one of their three game series.

The two teams will go at it again on Saturday. First pitch scheduled to go out at 6:30 p.m.

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