Fifth-ranked Georgia opens a three-game series with North Florida Friday at Foley Field with first pitch slated for 5:02 p.m.
Georgia (7-2) is batting .297 as a team with a 2.72 ERA and a .977 fielding percentage. UNF (3-6) is hitting .265 with a 6.343 ERA and .966 FLDG%. Senior LHP C.J. Smith (0-1, 1.64) will start the opener against UNF. He pitched well last Saturday against Gardner-Webb, tying his career high by going seven innings, but got a no decision in a game Georgia won 3-2. Senior preseason All-America LHP Ryan Webb (0-0, 0.00) made his 2021 debut this past Saturday on a pitch count as he is coming back from an illness. He looked sharp, going three scoreless innings, allowing one hit with no walks and four strikeouts. He will start Saturday. Georgia’s other preseason All-America pitcher, RHP Jonathan Cannon, is slated to make his 2021 debut next week. Freshman LHP Jaden Woods (0-0, 5.19) will make his third career start on Sunday.
Redshirt junior OF/1B Connor Tate leads the Bulldogs in batting at .500 (16-for-32) with eight RBI. Tate went 7-for-17 with five RBI last week and then was 2-for-3 with an RBI against KSU Wednesday. His identical twin, Cole, serves as the starting SS, and is batting .370-1-4. However, Cole did not play Wednesday for the first time all year due to a hamstring injury and is day-to-day. Freshman DH/C Corey Collins is batting .370 with two home runs, six RBI and a team-high seven walks. He has reached base safely in all nine games.
The Ospreys are coached by former Miss. State two-sport standout (QB/INF) Mike Parenton. He is in his fourth season with the Ospreys. UNF opened the season with a 7-4 road win over No. 21 Florida State. They have named starters for Friday (Max McKinley, 1-1, 6.14) and Saturday (Austin Bogart, 0-0, 3.00) with Sunday TBA. UNF’s leading hitter is senior Trey Spratling-Williams at .526-0-2. Senior shortstop Abraham Sequera (.258-2-5) hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a loss to then No. 1 Florida last month. The Ospreys are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference and have been Division 1 since 2006.
The series continues Saturday and Sunday with first pitch on those days set for 1:02 p.m.
Selected Comments From Thursday Media Session
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
After nine games, what are some areas to improve
“The free passes, the walks can put you in trouble especially if you’re playing close games. If you’re not going to score eight, nine, 10 runs a game, and I don’t think our offense is built to be a juggernaut, so we’re going to have play a little cleaner, which means no free passes and cutting down on the walks, hit by pitches and wild pitches. When you’re in a close game, those things stand out. Offensively, I need to see our hitters have better at bats. On the mound, I want us to challenge more hitters and let our defense make plays.”
On Buddy Floyd’s recruitment
“Every time I went out to watch him play, he was 3-for-4 and made diving plays, and turns the double plays as good as anybody. He can really pivot at second base. He’s a consistent, steady, tough guy. He always performed when I saw him, and he played on a team with a lot of players that are playing college baseball right now. The final time I decided we were going to go after him, I told Coach Daeley and Coach Kenny that I’m going to go watch this guy and pretend like he’s 5-11, 175 pounds. I’m going to close my eyes to the size and just look at results. That day, he went 3-for-4 and again made every play. I got a lot comments and texts from other coaches that said, ‘Man, I loved that guy, I couldn’t quite pull the trigger on him. He’s going to be really good.’ Sometimes this game can be a little biased on size, but you can’t judge that heart, and he plays with a lot of it.”
Buddy Floyd, INF, So.
On playing for Georgia
“Coach Stricklin took a chance on me. He knew I was a hard worker and played with that chip on my shoulder as you mentioned. He knew I liked to get after it. I know the work I put in is going to pay off. I trust myself and my actions.”
On being ready to play
“Coach Stricklin always preaches you have to stay ready and be ready when your name is called. And when you go in, get after it, and that’s what I had to do last Sunday when Cole (Tate) left in the second inning.”
Jaden Woods, LHP, Fr.
On coming out of same high school as former Bulldog standout Tony Locey
“I do talk to him (Tony) a good bit. Coming in to UGA, I talked to him a lot. I was in eighth grade when he was a senior, and I kept track of him because I watched the high school team play a lot. There was DL (Hall) Tony (Locey) and Tanner Hall, all those great pitchers to see what I could learn. It was very interesting to watch the games.”
On his drive to be successful
“My dad is a big factor. He’s taught me over the years to never be satisfied; you can always get better. I’ve always liked to be the best even sometimes when I’m not. I work each and every day to reach my full potential not just on the field but off the field as well.”