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BASEBALL

Florida baseball takes 2 of 3 from Georgia in final SEC series. Takeaways from series win

Kevin Brockway
Gainesville Sun

Florida baseball kept its slim 2024 NCAA Tournament hopes alive by taking 2 of 3 games against Georgia at Foley Field in Athens, Ga.

The Florida Gators (28-26, 13-17 SEC) bounced back from a 9-4 loss on Thursday to beat Georgia 7-4 in 10 innings on Friday and 19-11 on Saturday, closing the regular season on a positive note. Florida will begin SEC Tournament play on Tuesday as the nine seed against eight seed Vanderbilt (4:30 p.m., SEC Network).

Fueled by a 12-run fourth inning, Florida scored a season-high 19 runs in the series finale and most runs since beating LSU 24-2 in Game 2 of the 2023 College World Series finals.

Second baseman Cade Kurland went 2-for-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs, and first baseman Luke Heyman went 2-for-5 with a double and 4 RBIs. Jac Caglianone started the game on the mound and belted his 29th home run of the season, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs.

Righty Fisher Jameson (4-0) picked up the win in relief of Caglianone, allowing 2 earned runs in 3.2 innings

Florida snapped a string of six straight SEC series losses, dating back to taking 2 of 3 against Mississippi State from March 29-31.

Here are three takeaways from UF's series win:

Florida baseball C/1B Luke Heyman, 2B Cade Kurland step up offensively over the weekend

Heyman went 5-for-15 with three home runs and 10 RBIs during the three-game series with Georgia, while Kurland went 4-for-13 with 3 home runs and 6 RBIs.

On Friday, Kurland delivered a clutch two-run homer to tie the score at 4-4 in the fourth inning. Then, Heyman delivered the go-ahead blow, a three-run shot in the 10th inning off Georgia reliever Brian Zeldin, giving the Gators a 7-4 lead.

Florida baseball RP Brandon Neely delivers a stellar effort out of the pen on Friday

Neely (2-4) allowed just one run on two hits in 4.2 innings of relief and finished off Friday's game in the 10th inning to pick up his second win of the season. Control was a key for Neely, who struck out six and did not walk a batter. Of Neely's 73 pitches, 49 were strikes.

Florida baseball makes change at leadoff spot

Florida made a change at the leadoff spot in the order, and it provided a spark. Right fielder Ashton Wilson, a transfer from Charleston Southern, started all three games and led off, going 4-for-13 with 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored. The Gators have been struggling all season to find a consistent leadoff hitter, and Wilson could be the guy with whom the Gators continue to go in the postseason.