Baseball: Dawgs Sweep Blue Hose

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Baseball: Dawgs Sweep Blue Hose

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 Ninth-ranked Georgia swept a doubleheader from Presbyterian Saturday at Foley Field, winning 7-6 and 8-1.

The Bulldogs went 5-0 on the week to improve to 14-2 overall while the Blue Hose fell to 6-9.

In game one, Presbyterian right fielder Nick Guimbarda (2-for-5, 3 RBI) broke up a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the fifth that ended freshman Cole Wilcox’s outing. Georgia turned to junior Zac Kristofak who kept it a 4-2 contest. Earlier in the game on a delayed double steal attempt, the Bulldogs threw out Guimbarda at home and on the play, freshman catcher Shane Marshall sustained a right shoulder injury and had to leave the game. He will miss one-to-two weeks with a sprained shoulder, according to Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin.

In the sixth, Georgia loaded the bases with two outs and looked to pinch-hitter John Cable, and he drew a walk off reliever Johnny Cook to make it 4-3 and bring up catcher Mason Meadows. However, the Blue Hose escaped the jam as he hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. Presbyterian starter Jake Rice went 5.2 innings and scattered nine hits, allowing three runs with two walks and three strikeouts but did not factor in the decision after Georgia’s rally. In the eighth, the Blue Hose added a couple of insurance runs on a two-run single by Andrew Livingston off to extend its lead to 6-3.

Then, Georgia loaded the bases with one out in the eighth off closer Colton Springs and got a sacrifice fly from Patrick Sullivan and Randon Jernigan drew a walk to load the bases for Tucker Maxwell (3-for-4, 3 RBI). He delivered a two-run single to tie the game at 6-all.  While Maxwell was stealing second, Springs’ pitch home bounced slightly past catcher Jimmy McDonald, allowing Jernigan to score the go-ahead run. On the head first slide home, Jernigan’s shoulder collided with McDonald, who was diving back to the plate to try and apply the tag. The catcher was injured on the play and taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.

In the ninth with Georgia up 7-6, the Bulldogs brought in closer Aaron Schunk and he notched his fifth save. Kristofak (2-0), who pitched 3.2 innings in relief, got the win while Colton Springs dropped to 1-1.

In game two, Georgia used a six-run outburst in the fifth inning to build an 8-1 lead.  A three-run blast from Maxwell capped the scoring in the frame. In the top of the frame, the Blue Hose made it a 2-1 game when Livingston connected for his first home run. Meanwhile for Maxwell, it was his fourth home run of the year.

Junior right-hander Tony Locey (3-0) pitched a career-high seven innings with nine strikeouts for the victory.  Presbyterian starter Reagan Fowler (0-3) got the loss as he was lifted after five innings, surrendering eight runs on 10 hits.

Up next, the Bulldogs face Georgia State Wednesday in Atlanta before opening Southeastern Conference play Friday at No. 25 South Carolina.

Cam Shepherd

Dawg Tracks

  • Senior LJ Talley extended his hitting streak to nine games, which matches his career-best.
  • Junior Cam Shepherd extended his on base streak to 16 games in the doubleheader.
  • Junior third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk picked up his fith save of the year in game one. He is 5-for-5 in save chances this year. Also, he has a six-game hitting streak.
  • Junior right-hander Tony Locey pitched a career-high seven innings with nine strikeouts for the win in game two .
  • Redshirt sophomore Riley King registered his fourth three-hit game of the year in game one of the doubleheader.
  • Junior Tucker Maxwell hit safely in both games to extend his hitting streak to six games and for the doubleheader, he went 5-for-7 with six RBI.

 
Coach’s Corner

Scott Stricklin
  • Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin

On who stood out in the sweep…
“I think Tucker Maxwell performed really well in both games. He was a game-changer today, he had a big hit to tie the game in game one and then had the home run that separated us in the second. The offense and Maxwell were locked in all weekend, every game. Tony Locey also performed really well, that is the best I have ever seen him pitch. He kept his velocity tonight and threw a ton of strikes. It was just really nice to watch him pitch so well tonight.”

Tony Locey

Players Perspective

Junior RHP Tony Locey
On how early series’ prepares for SEC play…
“We had a little adversity this weekend in game two and had to come back which was huge. They were looking really good with their three-run lead, they brought their closer in and we just found ways to battle back to get the win. I’m happy for our guys and the fight that they have.”

On trusting the team to put runs on the board… 
“That’s what it’s all about. We have a great defense, probably have one of the best in the country. I know our guys are swinging really well right now. We left a lot of runners on base, but we also got really good at bats, and we’re getting on base. They’re really good. We just trust a lot in them.”

On games early in the season preparing the team for SEC play…
“It was a great weekend for me, for the whole team. It was a confidence boost. We’re going into SEC play with a lot of confidence coming off the sweep. South Carolina’s really good and we’ll have to be ready.” 

Junior OF Tucker Maxwell
On his successful weekend at the plate… 
“It was just the coaches staying on me about getting on top of the ball, which allows me to create more backspin instead of popping up which nobody likes to do and just trying to get in a routine and stay with it.” 

On his home run…
“I was looking for a pitch I could drive that I could do damage with to try to score the runners, and I just happened to run into it.” 

On how these games help prepare the team for SEC play…
“It’s just about building momentum and confidence in our team and everybody around us, and it just allows us to create more confidence to get better.” 

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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.