By Joshua MixonFor the Athens Banner-Herald

One win was all No. 15 Georgia needed from its road trip to top-ranked Florida, and one win was what it got.

The Bulldogs (35-16, 16-11 SEC) dropped the first two games of the series – the first time they have lost Games 1 and 2 of any series in 2018 – but rebounded in the series finale to secure a vital win. The Bulldogs are all but guaranteed to host an NCAA Regional thanks to their 4-1 series finale win.

Here’s three things to know about the series:

Birthday win for Kevin Smith

Bulldogs pitcher Kevin Smith won yet another game on his birthday in the series finale. The junior celebrated his 21st birthday by allowing only three hits and one earned run in seven innings pitched.

Last year on his birthday, Smith defeated No. 6 Mississippi State 4-1 at Foley Field, pitching seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

Smith improved to 7-1 on the year and has quietly emerged as one of Georgia’s most consistent starters on the mound.

“This was one of the biggest wins of the year and good to see us come back after Saturday’s performance,” said Bulldogs coach Scott Stricklin. “Kevin Smith was outstanding on his birthday again.”

Half an inning away from a series win

The Bulldogs were a half-inning away from winning the series, save for a late rally by the Gators (41-11, 20-6 SEC) in Game 1.

Georgia opened up a 5-3 lead, capped by a grand slam by L.J. Talley off Gators ace Brady Singer. The Gators tied the game up, but a passed ball by Gators catcher J.J. Schwartz put the Bulldogs ahead 6-5 in the top of the ninth inning.

The lead wouldn’t last, though, as the Gators tied the game on