ATHENS—- The Bulldogs open Southeastern Conference play Friday at Alabama. First pitch will be at 7:02 p.m. ET, and the entire series will be available on the SEC Network and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.
Both teams enter conference play on winning streaks. Georgia (12-5) has won five in a row while the Crimson Tide (15-3) have won four straight. In records dating back to 1950, Alabama leads the all-time series 49-35. The teams haven’t met since 2016 when Georgia claimed a series 2-1 in Athens. Meanwhile, the 2015 series was played at the Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium as the school renovated Sewell-Thomas Stadium, and Alabama won that 2-1. Georgia’s last trip to Tuscaloosa came in 2012, and it dropped that series 2-1. Capacity for the on-campus baseball facility known as “The Joe” is now 8,500.
Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin is in his fifth season at the helm while Alabama is led by first-year coach Brad Bohannon. Prior to the UGA series, Alabama blanked Alabama State twice to improve to 13-1 at home. Georgia had a midweek tune-up with Kennesaw State and pounded the Owls 15-3.
Georgia began the season 7-1 and then went to Charleston, S.C., for a stretch of five games in five days where it went 1-4. Georgia ended the trip with a win over The Citadel and since then has posted three victories over Toledo and one over KSU. The Bulldogs have employed basically the same lineup all season with the only two platoon spots being first base and catcher. The first four spots in the batting order have been the same all year with sophomore Tucker Bradley (RF) batting leadoff followed by senior Keegan McGovern (RF), sophomore Cam Shepherd (SS) and junior Michael Curry (DH). Curry was a preseason All-SEC selection by the league coaches after earning 1st Team All-SEC DH honors in 2017. Shepherd made the 2017 Freshman All-SEC squad. He has started every game since being on campus (74 games). In the 15-3 win over KSU this past Tuesday, Shepherd and Curry each hit a grand slam. Curry has 23 career home runs and both this year have been Grand Slams! Also of note, sophomore third baseman/pitcher Aaron Schunk (.323-0-12; 1-0, 1.59 ERA) has started all 17 games at third base and is riding a career-best 12-game hitting streak He’s contributing on the mound too and tossed the final three innings of the Toledo series as Georgia posted a 7-6 walk-off in 10 innings.
The SEC Coaches picked the Bulldogs to finish 5th in the East this year. Georgia is averaging 7.8 runs a game while batting .298 with a 3.70 ERA and a .972 Fielding Percentage. Georgia returns all nine starting position players from a year ago and 14 pitchers who saw action including two members of its starting rotation.
SEC Pitching Matchups: UGA at Alabama
G1 at 7:02 pm ET: Chase Adkins (1-0, 2.11), RHP, Sr. vs. Sam Finnerty (2-1, 2.77), RHP, Jr.
G2 at 2:02 pm ET: Emerson Hancock (1-1, 4.09), RHP, Fr. vs. Jake Walters (2-1, 6.41), RHP, Sr.
G3 at 3:03 pm ET: Ryan Webb (0-1, 3.07), LHP, Fr. vs. Garret Rukes (1-0, 0.00), LHP, RFr.
TV: SEC Network (Mike Morgan & Mike Rooney)
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College (David Johnston & Jeff Dantzler)
Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), also via the Georgia Bulldogs app and TuneIn app.
Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA