Seventh-ranked Georgia scored a pair of runs in the ninth for its fifth walk-off of the season, a 5-4 decision to even an SEC series with No. 10 Tennessee Saturday at Foley Field.
Senior shortstop Cole Tate provided the game-winner, a two-out, two-run single off UT closer Redmond Walsh who dropped to 2-1. Junior Ben Harris (2-0) pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts for the win as the Bulldogs improved to 14-4 overall, 1-1 in the SEC.
The Volunteers (16-4, 1-1 SEC) made senior Ryan Webb work in the first inning, scoring two runs on two hits, an error and two walks as he needed 41 pitches to finish the frame. UT left the bases loaded as Webb battled back to strike out the side. In the third, Georgia junior Shane Marshall extended his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Tate to make it a 2-1 contest. Webb finished with eight strikeouts before leaving with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Georgia turned to Darryn Pasqua, and he got Jordan Beck to fly out to keep it a one-run game.
The Bulldogs took the lead with a two-out rally in the sixth. Luke Wagner drew a walk, took second on a single by Josh McAllister and scored on a double by Riley King off Mark McLaughlin. Then, UT went to the bullpen for left-hander Kirby Connell to face Chaney Rogers. He lined a single to right, scoring McAllister and King was thrown out at the plate by Jordan Beck. Georgia had its first lead of the series at 3-2 going to the seventh. With one out in the seventh, the Volunteers reclaimed a 4-3 advantage on a two-run home run from Jake Rucker.
In the bottom of the ninth, King led off with a single. Rogers put down a bunt and reached on a throwing error by Walsh. Marshall followed with a sacrifice bunt to move them into scoring position. Walsh came back to retire Anderson before Tate delivered.
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch slated for 1:02 p.m. The game will be available on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Georgia’s Acting Head Coach Scott Daeley
“On Cole Tate being in that situation to win the game…
“We have a couple of guys, Cole and Chaney Rogers are guys that are perfect examples. They both have one hit on the day and both of them are huge hits. Those two don’t waste hits very often. Usually if they get a hit, it’s scoring a game-tying or game-winning run or maybe even getting a rally started. You need your older guys to come through in order to win games like this and they did today.”
Cole Tate, SS, Sr.
On what it takes to settle down and get the pitch he wants in order to do what he did…
“Every time I go up to the plate, I look at my bat, take a deep breath and calm down. Just get as calm as possible and not do too much at the plate. So then I just try and stay relaxed.”
Ben Harris, LHP, RSo.
On his role…
“I think it has definitely been an adventure. When they call my name, I want to be ready and I want to be able to do the most I can for this team, whatever they tell me or whatever we work out. I want to be able to take that up and make the most of it.”