Baseball: Pitching Duel Ends With 1-0 LSU Win

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Baseball: Pitching Duel Ends With 1-0 LSU Win

Emerson Hancock

LSU junior starter Zack Hess (2-1) threw eight shutout innings, yielding eight hits and striking out nine to bring the Tigers mark to 17-5 (4-0 SEC). Sophomore reliever Devin Fotenot pitched the ninth for his first save.

Meanwhile, Georgia starter sophomore right-hander Emerson Hancock (5-1) was the hard luck losing pitcher for the first time this season despite a career high of eight innings pitched and allowing just one run on two hits with four strikeouts. He entered the game with a 0.58 ERA and has given up just one or no runs in all six of his starts this year.

In the top of the seventh inning, LSU right fielder Antoine Duplantis began the inning with a double in the left-center field gap. Hancock then induced a groundout, but the runner was able to move to third base. Then, Daniel Cabrera, flew out to left field, scoring Duplantis on a sacrifice fly for the only run of the contest. 

The Bulldogs saw their 10-game winning streak snap and fall to 19-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Georgia had three good opportunities to score. The first came in the first inning, when junior third baseman Aaron Schunk and senior second baseman LJ Talley both singled setting up the Bulldogs with runners on the corners. However, Hess was able to get the next batter, senior John Cable, to strike out and end the frame. 

Aaron Schunk

The second opportunity came with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore catcher Mason Meadows singled up the middle, and sophomore first baseman Chaney Rogers doubled to right, setting up the Bulldogs with two runners in scoring position. Hess was then able to work out of trouble, retiring the next two batters to end the threat.  The last big opportunity for Georgia was when junior Cam Shepherd began the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to right field. After sophomore Riley King laid down a sacrifice bunt and junior Aaron Schunk flew out to left field, senior LJ Talley singled to second base. However, Shepherd was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Talley’s single to end the inning. Junior Justin Glover pitched the ninth for the Bulldogs.

Up next, the Bulldogs will face No. 10 LSU at 1 pm, and the game will be televised by the SEC Network and be heard on the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network.  The inaugural Foley Fest will be held prior to the game in the outfield parking lot from 10:30 am to 12:30 p.m. It will feature live music, interactive games and more.

Dawg Tracks

–      Sophomore Chaney Rogers made his fourth consecutive start at first base.

–      With a single in the first, junior Aaron Schunk has now reached base safely in 13 consecutive games. 

–      In the fifth inning, junior Tucker Maxwell doubled down the left-field line, which brings his consecutive on base streak to 17 games. This ties junior Cam Shepherd for the team’s season high. 

–      Sophomore Emerson Hancock set a new career high of eight innings pitched. He has now pitched at least six innings in five of his six starts this season. In addition, in all of his starts this season, he has allowed no more than one run. 

–      In the seventh inning, sophomore Mason Meadows singles up the middle, extending his hit streak to four games – a season high. This also extends his streak of reaching base safely to 11 games. 

–      With a single in the third and seventh inning, junior Cam Shepherd has his seventh multiple hit game of the season. 

Mason Meadows

Coach’s Corner

Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin

Coach Stricklin on the crowd at tonight’s game…

“Yeah it was a great crowd. We knew it was going to be a great atmosphere. The fans showed up, and they were great. I hate that we didn’t get a win for them, but it was a really good baseball game. Both teams fought very well. They fought back and forth. Both pitchers were really great. Both defenses were great. They just made one more play than we did.”

Coach Stricklin on Emerson Hancock…

“He settled in. I thought early on, he was just trying to find it. I think that really shows how far he’s come because last year I’m not sure if he gets through those first three innings. He just found a way to get through it until he got settled in, and he got better as he went. I thought his sixth, seventh, and eighth was the best that he threw. I’m really encouraged by that. To have him not have his best stuff early on, but then to find it, compete, and get his job done. He certainly didn’t deserve to lose.”

Coach Stricklin on Georgia’s offense today…

“I thought we had some good at bats until we got guys in scoring positions. We had some chances. We had our opportunities. We just didn’t make it happen. You have to tip your hat to Zack Hess. He pitched lights out. He was really good. And the defensive plays they made… that’s as good of a play as you’re going to see. Everyone did everything right there. As far as base running, you have to send them – there are two outs. He just threw a bullet to home plate, and that was a gut punch right there. That was a tough one. They made the play, and they were able to get the win.”

Players Perspective

Sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock  

On the teams defense…

“The first couple innings it felt like I couldn’t throw a strike but I settled in later on. When the guys behind me make plays the way they do you just find a way to jam strikes in there. The double-plays, Chaney Rogers making his plays on first and Tucker Maxwell running down balls all night was just really awesome.”

On his performance…

“I think its just baseball. You won’t be spot on every outing so you have to find ways to get around the mental blocks. I really don’t think it has anything to do with the opponent.”

On Zack Hess’ performance…

“Anytime on Friday night it will be a close game. You’ll always go up against a great pitcher and I mean credit to him he threw very well tonight and kept us off balance. One to nothing is just about all you can ask for on a Friday night.”

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.