The Georgia baseball team hosted Furman for their final home game of the regular season at Foley Field on Tuesday evening, and the Bulldogs’ bats came alive as they downed the Paladins 10-6.
The game didn’t start out well for Georgia as Furman took the Dogs’ starting pitcher Blakely Brown for 3 hits. Along with an error by right fielder Tucker Bradley, the Paladins were able to generate 2 runs off those 3 hits to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Bulldogs were unable to put any runs across the plate in their first plate appearance of the game, despite putting runners in scoring position at second and third who were left stranded when Michael Webb struck out looking and LJ Talley flied out to center field.
Georgia made the first of six pitching changes to start the second inning, bringing in freshman Tim Elliott. The right-hander put in good work, allowing only 1 hit by the Paladins in the inning and no runs. The Diamond Dogs would get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when Adam Sasser hit a single to left field and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Tucker Bradley would drive in Sasser with a single of his own to center field. The second inning ended when Bradley was caught trying to steal second.
Headed into the top of the third, the Bulldogs only trailed Furman 2-1, but the Paladins would draw more blood. After pitcher Tim Elliott walked Furman center fielder Sky Overton, the Dogs made their second pitching change of the game with the call to the bullpen for Drew Moody. The redshirt junior didn’t fair much better than starter B. Brown as he was dinged for 2 runs on 2 hits and the Paladins extended their lead to 4-1. But Georgia would answer banging out 2 runs of their own on 3 hits in the bottom of the third.
The fourth inning was uneventful, and in the top of the fifth, Georgia made yet, another pitching change, bringing in No. 33 Justin Glover. The freshman left-hander allowed 1 double but no runs. The Bulldogs’ bats would come alive in the bottom of the fifth as they pummeled Furman with 6 runs on 6 hits to take the lead 9-4. The bulk of the runs for the Dogs came off a 3-run homer by center fielder Tucker Maxwell sending Will Proctor and Adam Sasser across the plate.
J. Glover would do more good work from the mound in the top of the sixth for Georgia sitting down the Paladin batters 1, 2, 3, and the Bulldogs would add another run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 10-4 headed to the seventh.
To start the seventh, Georgia would make another call to the bullpen and bring in freshman Tony Locey. The right-hander would continue where J. Glover left off from the mound and put down the Furman batters 1, 2, 3 … no fuss, no muss. Georgia batters went the same way in the bottom of the seventh with A. Sasser striking out, W. Proctor fouling out, and T. Maxwell struck out looking. Furman would score the final two runs of the game but it was in vain as Blake Cairnes would strike out 3 of the Paladins’ last 4 batters in the top of the ninth.
The final from Foley Field would be the Diamond Dogs over Furman 10-6 with Justin Glover getting the win out of the seven pitchers Georgia used and the Paladins’ Tyler Kimbrell charged with the loss. Georgia also out hit Furman 16 to 11. Freshmen Tucker Bradley and Cam Shepherd led the Dogs’ bats Tuesday with each of them going 3-for-5 from the plate while freshman Tucker Maxwell led the Dogs in RBI’s with 3 on the night.
“Winning this game was really important for our season and we needed the momentum going into South Carolina because we have to win there in order to get to Hoover,” said T. Maxwell. “We need to keep swinging the bat and our defense needs to keep up with this momentum because our pitchers are really staying on track.”
And Head Coach Scott Stricklin added:
“We needed to keep our momentum. We’ve played really well these past couple weekends, winning two series against top-10 teams. Our kids are feeling a lot better about themselves and playing really hard. Furman is a really good club. The last 20 games they’ve been playing really well. We knew it was going to be a tough test, but we needed to keep the momentum going as we head to Columbia this weekend to play South Carolina.”
Up next for Georgia is a very crucial three-game conference series versus South Carolina in Columbia starting with game one on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and games two and three on Friday and Saturday. Right now, the Bulldogs are up on Tennessee by one game for the final spot in the 12-team SEC Tournament field. The Volunteers host Missouri this weekend in a three-game series of their own; so, the final spot in the tournament will be determined by the outcome of these two conference series.
The SEC Baseball Tournament is set for May 23-28 in Hoover, Alabama, and the teams are seeded based on conference winning percentage with the division winners seeded No. 1 and 2. The good news for Georgia is that they hold the tiebreaker over Tennessee after winning the series in Knoxville 2-1 earlier this season.