Fourth-ranked Georgia outlasted Kentucky 10-8 in 10 innings Saturday to clinch another SEC road series.
The Bulldogs (23-5, 7-2 SEC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first off Kentucky freshman left-hander Dillon Marsh. Senior LJ Talley got the scoring started with an RBI-double, and then with one out and the bases loaded, redshirt freshman Connor Tate blasted a grand slam over the fence in left field to make it 5-0. It was his second home run and fifth grand slam by a Bulldog this year.
Kentucky (16-12, 1-8 SEC) got on the scoreboard in the second on a two-out, solo home run by Coltyn Kessler and then an RBI-double from Ryan Shinn in the third made it 5-2. In the fourth, the Wildcats trimmed the deficit to one as a pair of unearned runs scored on an errant pickoff attempt at second by freshman catcher Shane Marshall. The Bulldogs responded in the top of the fifth with a two-out rally. Sophomore Riley King connected on his fourth home run and then Aaron Schunk and Talley followed with base hits. For Talley, it was his third hit of the afternoon. Graduate designated hitter John Cable smacked a two-run double off the wall in right field to exend the lead to 8-4. In the eighth, Kentucky tied the contest, getting a three-run home run from Shinn, his seventh of the year, and a solo home run from Jaren Shelby.
Georgia turned to junior right-hander Zac Kristofak to start the fifth in relief of junior Tony Locey. Kristofak provided three scoreless frames until the eighth inning as he finished with 3.2 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits with no walks and a career-high seven strikeouts. Locey went the first four innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts. Junior Justin Glover got the final out of the eighth. In the ninth with the scored knotted at 8-all, Georgia looked to the closer Schunk. He tossed two innings with three strikeouts for his first win of the year. He entered the series as the national leader in saves with nine. Daninel Harper allowed two unearned runs and got the loss to fall to 2-1.
In the 10th, Georgia pushed across a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit thanks to two errors, three walks and a wild pitch. The go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch while Schunk made it 10-8 with a sacrifice fly. Then, Schunk retired the Wildcats in order in the 10th including a pair of strikeouts.
Georgia continues its season long six-game road trip on Tuesday at No. 15 Clemson (20-6). First pitch will be at 6 p.m. and be available on the Bulldog Sports Network plus streamed on ACC Network Extra. On Wednesday, Georgia plays at Kennesaw State after the original date in February was postponed due to rain. The Bulldogs return to Foley Field Friday for a sold out SEC series against No. 6 Vanderbilt.
- Redshirt freshman right fielder Connor Tate smashed a grand slam in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-best five games. It was his second career home run. He went 2-for-4 with an assist.
- Georgia already has hit five grand slams this season with Connor Tate the latest to join the club. Last year, the Bulldogs hit a school record seven grand slams in 60 games.
- Senior LJ Talley had his seventh career three-hit game.
- The Bulldogs scored three runs with two outs in the fifth on a solo home run by sophomore Riley King and a two-run double by graduate John Cable.
- The road team now has won every series since 2014.
- Georgia played its first extra inning game of the season.
- Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the game
“Bottom line, we found a way to win today and win a road series too, and that’s the goal. We jumped out to a great start but credit Kentucky for coming back. The wind was really a factor today, it was blowing out to left field. You like to have a lead but you’re not comfortable. Connor Tate’s grand slam gave us a cushion but they came back and tied it. Aaron Schunk got us an insurance run in the 10th, and I thought that was big, and then he goes out and finishes it on the mound. ”