In a showcase of freshmen, it was Luke Wagner who delivered the final blow, smashing a three-run shot to left to lift the Black team to a 7-5 walk-off in seven innings to capture the Bulldog Fall World Series Sunday at Foley Field.
In the early going, the Black team was held in check, scoring just two runs over the first five frames. Trailing 5-2 in the sixth, freshman Parks Harber hit a solo home run that helped spark the comeback. Freshman left-hander Collin Caldwell was in line for a save before putting runners on first and second on walks. Freshman Caleb Ketchup delivered a single to left, scoring Josh Stinson to close the gap to 5-4. Wagner stepped up to the plate and drove one deep to left to secure the win for the Black team.
Wagner, a two-way standout from New Cumberland, Penn., began the day as the starting pitcher and designated hitter. He tossed two innings and recorded two strikeouts. Jack Gowen came in to throw two innings and recorded two strikeouts as well. Then, junior Chaney Rogers came in relief and was followed by sophomore Nolan Crisp who picked up the win.
The Red squad was cruising in the early going, thanks to two-run home runs from freshman Corey Collins and redshirt sophomore Connor Tate. Shane Marshall, Lane Watkins and Trippe Moore contributed as well, each recording a hit with Moore’s being a double. Collins registered three RBI. Redshirt sophomore right-hander Darryn Pasqua started for the Red team and pitched three innings with four strikeouts. Freshman Will Pearson provided two innings of relief before being replaced by Caldwell.
The three-game World Series marked the conclusion of fall workouts for the Bulldogs.
Comments From Georgia’s Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On this year’s freshmen class…
“We had three freshmen hit home runs today. Corey Collins, Parks Harber and Luke Wagner. You put Fernando Gonzalez in there with two hits, and he almost had a home run today too. Garrett Spikes is another freshman we’re excited about with the bat. We’ve got Wagner on the mound and Jaden Woods too. [Collin] Caldwell, it was a tough inning for him, but he’s got a really good arm from the left side for us. Will Pearson was very good. A lot of really good freshmen on this club, and they’re going to be expected to contribute.”
On what he learned about his team over the fall…
“I think we knew that we had a lot of depth. I think what we’re seeing is that these freshmen are pretty close to being game ready, and they’re going to need to be. That was the good thing about the fall. We played a lot of scrimmage innings. We got a lot of at bats for our freshmen, and we got a lot of innings on the mound. We have a lot of depth and a lot of options. We’re competitive at just about every position, and that’s what you want.”
On what stands out about his freshmen specifically…
“This group, we’ve always said ‘gosh, the kids just keep getting bigger and bigger,’ but this is probably our most physical freshmen class we’ve had. When you see Corey Collins and Parks Harber and Jaden Woods walking around. They turn your head because they look like they’re 25-years-old. They’re just very physical, very mature and very athletic too. It’s an athletic group. We’re excited about that bunch, and we have a really good core of older players too. We’ve been saying it for the past couple years that we’ve been building this thing, our freshmen are going to play because they’re talented enough to play, not because they have to play. That’s what we’re excited about.”