Even if the opponent is the top-ranked team in the country, the worst thing for a baseball team going into the final weekend of the regular season is to fall victim to a sweep the last time out.
Georgia avoided just that on Sunday in Gainesville.
A 4-1 win helped the 15th-ranked Diamond Dawgs avoid a sweep, giving them momentum going into the weekend toward next weekend’s final series of the regular season when Arkansas comes to town. It’ll hardly be a cakewalk. Like Georgia, Arkansas is also angling to host a regional and gain a national seed, so to say there will be much on the line next weekend is an understatement in a series that follows Tuesday’s home tilt against Presbyterian.
Truth be told, Georgia (35-16, 16-11) should have won the series. Multiple rallies had the Bulldogs in position to win on Friday before Florida did what top-ranked teams do - find a way to win. But there’s also much to be said with how Georgia stood tall all weekend against a team with two likely first-round draft picks in its batting order to begin with.
Kevin Smith’s late-season surge is a main reason for a Georgia win coming out of the weekend. He shut Florida down on Sunday, hurling seven innings as he gave up one run.
Like Friday, Georgia came from behind, leading 3-1 in the third on a Keegan McGovern homer. This time, the bullpen held the Gators off with Ryan Webb and Aaron Schunk pitching the final two innings.
In baseball, especially late in the year, momentum is everything.
Georgia manufactured it on Sunday.