The bats stayed hot Sunday as the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs defeated the UMass Minutemen 6-0, completing the series sweep at Foley Field.
RIght-hander Logan Moody got his first start of the year Sunday, instead of the usual weekend closer C.J. Smith. As Moody tossed a great game, three more Bulldogs threw on Sunday to complete the shutout.
“We needed to get to Tuesday in good shape bullpen-wise, and we are. Everyone is going to be available, and that goes for Wednesday, too,” Stricklin said. “We just didn’t want to burn guys or have to burn guys so we couldn’t use them on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that’s going to be our same philosophy going into Friday. We’re going to have to use guys out of the bullpen, but we’re going to have to be really careful about burning guys, because we’ve got to be ready for Florida, too.”
In the first inning, the Minutemen were able to load the bases, but Georgia’s defense was able to make a few key plays to keep their opponent from scoring. The offense was able to tack a run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the half first as Patrick Sullivan’s double scored Cam Shepherd.
Moody then proceeded to put away six straight batters in the second and third innings. The Bulldogs were able to get one more on the scoreboard in the third as Ben Anderson scored on a sacrifice fly from Cole Tate.
Anthony Videtto led off the fourth inning with a triple, but Moody was able to put away the next three batters. Of those batters, Moody struck out two of them swinging. In Moody’s first two combined 2020 appearances, he pitched three complete innings allowing no runs and striking out two. Through four innings on Sunday, he had tied that total strikeouts number.
“It definitely helps a lot,” Moody said after the game in reference to getting out of the inning scoreless. “That leadoff triple and the next guy popped up. I was really trying as Coach (Sean) Kenny was calling pitches so that would happen. So, it worked out and I knew with the defense behind us would be able to make a play. We’ve got Shep and some guys behind us who can make plays. So I was really confident about it afterward.”
DH Connor Tate led off the bottom of the fourth with with a long shot that left the ball park to extend Georgia’s lead to 3-0. Coming into the game, Tate was batting .267 and that home run was the first of the season for him. That home run was his fifth hit of the weekend, and the 13th straight time he has reached base successfully in a game.
Moody tied career-high in innings pitched and strikeouts as a starter in the fifth. The LaGrange native put away three of four he faced in that inning holding yet another Minutemen on base.
Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin decided to pull Moody after five strong, scoreless innings. In those five innings, Moody allowed three hits, no runs, and finished with four strikeouts while only walking two.
“I felt good entering this, and we have a good defense behind us. I trust coach (Sean) Kenny) with pitch-calling and all that type of stuff,” said Moody. “So, I felt really good and I knew that if I threw strikes, and they hit it, that the defense would take care of it.”
Senior left-hander Justin Glover took to relieve sixth, and another scoreless inning when the Minutemen were threatening with runners in scoring position. Georgia added three more runs in the bottom of the inning; Riley King scored on an Anderson single, Kaden Fowler crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice, and Anderson reached on a single from Cole Tate.
Glover tossed a scoreless seventh, and freshman Will Childers took over in the eighth. Tucker Bradley moved from center field to the mound to close out the game. Both Childers and Bradley threw a combined two scoreless innings to end the game. That makes Sunday’s win the fourth shoutout thrown by the Bulldogs’ pitching staff this season.
“It was good to see Glover get out there and get those two innings,” Stricklin said. “It was also good to see Childers go out there and throw really well, and Tucker hadn’t pitched in two weeks, so he had to pitch today regardless. Again that gets us ready for Tuesday-Wednesday.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Cam Shepherd as he went 3-for-4 with a walk. Cole Tate, Riley King, and Ben Anderson all had multi-hit games as well.
Stricklin said Friday night that he was disappointed the way his team started off the weekend offensively, but the last two games seemed to have changed his mind Sunday afternoon.
“Our guys weren’t happy with the way we played in Friday’s win,” said Stricklin. “We have got some older guys who kinda stepped up and said something. I don’t really want to have to say something, and I did. But our older guys really kind of led the talk, and yesterday they started to swing more consistently. Today, too.”
Georgia is set to take on Georgia Southern in Statesboro on Tuesday, and Wednesday against he Eagles at SRP Park in Augusta.