Second-ranked and SEC-leading Georgia heads back on the road to play Tennessee in a league series starting Thursday night. First pitch in Knoxville will be at 7 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Network and available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Friday’s game will be at 6:30 p.m. with Saturday at 3 p.m., both on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
The Bulldogs (28-6, 9-3 SEC) are off to their best start since 2009 when that club was 28-6 (8-4 SEC) after 34 games. Georgia leads the SEC by one game after winning its first four series (@USC, @ UK, home versus No. 5 VU, home versus No. 10 LSU). This past weekend, Georgia claimed a series over fifth-ranked Vanderbilt. After dropping the opener 3-2 in 11 innings, the Bulldogs stormed back to win the series, posting an 8-3 win in game two and a combined one-hitter in a 3-1 victory Sunday. Bulldog junior righthander Tony Locey who went the first seven innings Sunday, earned SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. Tennessee is 24-10 overall and 4-8 in the SEC. The Bulldogs and Volunteers won their midweek games game as Georgia crushed No. 17 Ga. Tech 12-2 while UT beat Lipscomb 11-2.
Georgia’s starting pitchers this year are 21-3 with a 2.15 ERA (45 ER in 188 IP). The team ERA is 2.83 and that ranks eighth nationally. The Bulldogs began the week leading the nation in Fewest Hits Allowed/Per Nine Innings (5.9). In the series win over the hot-hitting Commodores, Georgia held them to a .129 average (13-for-101), and of the seven runs allowed, four came via solo home runs. In the 12-2 win over the Yellow Jackets Tuesday, both of their runs came on solo home runs too. Also, Georgia is on pace to set a school record for fielding percentage at .981, and it has been even better in SEC games at .989.
For the UT series, the Bulldogs will stick with their regular SEC rotation of sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock (6-1, 1.02 ERA), sophomore LHP C.J. Smith (3-1, 2.51 ERA) and junior RHP Tony Locey (5-0, 2.18 ERA). The Volunteers have not announced their rotation.
Senior second baseman LJ Talley (.377-5-24) continues to lead the offense, and he’s fielding .992. Two-way All-America standout Aaron Schunk is hitting .323-5-26 and on the mound is 1-1, 2.65 ERA, 10 SV. Redshirt sophomore OF Riley King (.320-5-32) has been the RBI leader all year including hitting Georgia’s sixth grand slam of the season during an 8-3 win over No. 5 Vanderbilt last Saturday. The school record is seven set by the 2018 club. In the 12-2 win over Tech Tuesday, Georgia welcomed back a pair of starters in sophomore catcher Mason Meadows and junior first baseman Patrick Sullivan. Both went 1-for-3 with Sullivan smashing a home run in his first at bat. Also, of note, for the first time this season, junior shortstop Cam Shepherd did not bat leadoff, moving to the sixth spot, and he went 1-for-2 with 2 RBI. Junior centerfielder Tucker Maxwell moved to the top of the order and crushed a leadoff home run, his team-high seventh this year.
The Bulldogs are 10-5 versus UT under Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. The Bulldogs have captured four of the past five series including going 5-1 in Knoxville. In records dating back to 1950, UT holds a 116-104 edge in the series.
TV: SEC Network Thursday @ 7 pm
(Dave Neal & Mike Rooney)
Friday @ 6:30 pm on SEC Network+
Saturday @ 3 pm on SEC Network+
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