The Georgia Bulldogs baseball team posted a 3-2 walk-off over No. 22 Texas A&M Friday at Foley Field. The win is Georgia’s fourth walk-off this season.
After the Bulldogs (15-11-1) and Aggies (17-10, 3-4 SEC) traded two-run innings in the first and third, respectively, the pitcher’s duel held until the bottom of the ninth.
Freshman Stephen Wrenn led off Georgia’s final inning with an infield single and advanced to third on a throwing error by pitcher Parker Ray (2-2), who received the loss in two-thirds of an inning in relief. The sophomore allowed one run on one hit and struck out one. With Wrenn on third, the Aggies walked the next two batters to load the bases for Jared Walsh.
With A&M’s infield on the edge of the infield grass and a fifth infielder brought in instead of having a left-fielder, Walsh lined a sharp grounder to Cole Lankford at first base, and it brought home Wrenn from third to clinch the victory for the Bulldogs.
Georgia left-hander Ryan Lawlor started his seventh game of the season, and the sophomore southpaw went seven innings, throwing 108 pitches and allowing two runs on eight hits. His eight strikeouts were a career high. Jared Cheek (4-2) got the win in his 11th relief appearance for Georgia this season. The junior threw two innings of hitless ball, striking out one.
For Texas A&M, Daniel Mengden gave up a pair of runs in the first and then settled in to toss seven and one-third innings, allowing just three hits and struck out 10.
“Both starting pitchers were very good tonight, we knew we had to try and strike early against Daniel Mengden,” said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. “Ryan Lawlor gave us one of the best starts of the season and Jared Cheek shut them down for the final two innings. We battled for nine innings and came through in the ninth. We needed a win like this, and it came with a little different lineup. I credit the coaches, I asked them about changing the lineup, and it was Coach (Scott) Daeley who suggested we put Jared Walsh in the leadoff spot. It was good to see him up there in the ninth.”
Georgia pushed across two runs in the first after two hit-by-pitches, two walks and an RBI-single by junior Nelson Ward. It extended his hitting streak to seven games and gave him a team-best 19 RBI. Brandon Stephens was the second Bulldog to be hit by a pitch before a Wrenn walk brought Conor Welton home to make it 2-0.
The Aggies responded in the top of the third as they used three singles and a double to tie the game at 2-2. With two on and one out, Lankford singled home center fielder Jace Statum cutting the Georgia lead in half. Designated hitter Mitchell Nau, hit his third double of the year bringing home second baseman Patrick McClendon for the tying run.
Georgia returns to Foley Field for the second game of their series with the Aggies. First pitch Saturday is scheduled for1 pm EDT.