BASEBALL: UGA Sweeps Charleston Southern

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BASEBALL: UGA Sweeps Charleston Southern

Georgia pitcher Sam Vaughn (18) pitches during an NCAA baseball game between Georgia and Charleston Southern at Foley Field in Athens, Ga. on Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2016. (Photo by David Barnes)

Junior pitcher Andrew Gist spun a gem in his first career start, throwing a career-best six innings of shutout ball and fanning five while allowing only two hits as Georgia (6-3) claimed a 5-3 win over Charleston Southern (3-5) to complete the midweek sweep on Wednesday night at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs, who led 4-0 into the late stages of the game, allowed three runs in the eighth inning but answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame and were able to hang on to win.

Offensively, Georgia wasted no time getting started with a run in each of the first three innings. RBI in the contest went to Daniel Nichols for a first-inning single up the middle, two to Michael Curry for a solo shot in the second and single in the eighth, Trevor Kieboom with a single to right in the third and Skyler Weber with a base knock in the sixth.
Nichols tied his career high with three hits in the contest, and Kieboom reached base in all three at-bats, going 2-for-2 with two singles in his first start of the year.
Georgia claimed a run in the first inning as Daniel Nichols shot a single up the middle to score Weber, who led off the game with a single to left. The lead grew to 2-0 in the very next inning as Curry launched his second career homer, an opposite-field solo homer to expand the lead to 2-0 in the early running.
The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the third, taking advantage of a leadoff single and stolen base from Wrenn as Kieboom came through with his first RBI of the season to come through in his first starting nod on the year.
Gist was in control as the offense went quiet, limiting the Buccaneers to just three baserunners over the next three innings as he reached a new career-high with six innings pitched. Georgia extended the lead to four in the bottom of the frame, using a two-out RBI single from Weber to build the lead into the final third of the contest.
Adam Goodman took over for Gist in the seventh inning, tossing a scoreless frame but running into some trouble in the eighth as he was charged with three earned runs to allow Charleston Southern to cut the lead to just one.
Georgia answered immediately as LJ Talley roped a double with two down and Curry followed with a hot shot through the left side for a RBI single to produce the decisive score of 5-3. Drew Moody was credited with the save for his 1.1 innings of work to seal the win.
Dawg Tracks

– Andrew Gist went a career-best six innings and totaled five strikeouts in his first career start as a Bulldog.
– Michael Curry’s homer in the second inning was the second of his young career. His RBI single in the eighth inning to score LJ Talley gave him his first multi-RBI game.
– Trevor Kieboom claimed his first RBI of the season with a single to right to score Stephen Wrenn in the third. It was the first start of the year for Kieboom, and he reached base in all three at-bats.
– Daniel Nichols tallied three hits for the second consecutive game, the ninth time in his career, to match his career high in a contest. He finished the series with six hits after entering midweek play with five on the year.
Stricklin Says

Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin

On the game…
“I thought we swung the bats really well tonight, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the big hit to open that thing up. We had a lot of chances, but we had a couple of guys thrown out on the bases. I really thought we swung the bats well. Michael Curry had the big hit in the eighth just to give us a little breathing room. They had all of the momentum right there, and we were able to get it back with LJ (Talley) getting the double and Michael (Curry) getting that hit, so the freshmen we big right there.”

On Andrew Gist’s performance…
“Midweek you need to get someone out there to put up some zeros and give you a chance to win. A lot of times midweek you see a lot of runs scored just because the pitching is a little thinner from the weekend. But when you can have a guy like Andrew Gist, who has a lot of experience, (that’s a plus). Again, he pitched in the (Junior College) World Series last year. He’s got a lot of experience. He throws strikes. He competes. It’s nothing overpowering. It’s frustrating to hit off him just because he never gives you much room to breathe. He’s always throwing a strike and he’s staying in the zone with three different pitches. I thought he did a really good job.”

On Michael Curry’s performance…
“I put him (eighth) to hide him down there a little bit. Let him relax, let him breathe a little bit. I gave him the day off yesterday and he was out early yesterday, he was out early today doing early work. He’s a kid that you have to lock the doors on him to keep him out of the batting cage and out of this field. He works so hard. It was really good to see him have that kind of day. “
Players’ Perspective
Jr. P Andrew Gist

On his strong start today…
“It felt good being back in the starting (role). That’s what I did in junior college, so I’m pretty familiar with the territory. My stuff today, it was pretty good. I had pretty good command of my fastball, but the change up was a little off. I had to work with my curveball a little bit more and my slider a little bit more to compensate for that.”

On the defensive play behind him…
“That’s a huge philosophy that we have – let the hitters hit it and they’ll get themselves out most of the time. Just trust yourself. Let (the defense) do the rest.”
Fr. C Michael Curry

On the series sweep…
“The pitching staff did a great job. Andrew Gist attacked and did an outstanding job. We just hit the ball. Our approach was a lot better and as a team our intensity was there. We took care of business.”

On his offensive performance…
“It felt great after my last game. After an 0-for-5 game it’s tough to swallow. I just stayed within myself and worked on my swing. I came out today and just tried to keep it as simple as possible. That’s been all of our approaches is to keep it as simple as possible and pull it right field and that’s been working out pretty well for us.”

On Deck

The Bulldogs will host Wright State for a three-game set this weekend, slated to begin on Friday at 5 p.m.

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Greg is closing in on 15 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.