The Georgia Bulldogs baseball team advanced to 2-0 on Saturday after handily beating the Richmond Spiders, 9-3.
The Bulldogs were led by center fielder Ben Anderson as he went 3-for-3 reaching base in all five of his at-bats. Anderson, a redshirt sophomore from Furman, has started out his Bulldogs career strong totaling five hits and scoring six runs through his first two games.
Starting pitcher Cole Wilcox also had a great day on the mound where he finished with a career-high eight strikeouts and gave up only one run on five hits.
After the game, Wilcox expressed that he was extremely confident in himself.
“I feel like a completely different pitcher,” Wilcox said. “Last year, I felt like I was working on a lot of things, and it wasn’t much pitch-making. This year, it was all pitch-making.”
Johnny Hipsman, who was a problem for Georgia Friday night, led off the game with a single. Wilcox struck out the next batter, then catcher Shane Marshall gunned down Hipsman in an attempt to steal second. The very next pitch, Wilcox struck out Spiders’ center fielder Anthony Forte swinging.
In the bottom of the first, Anderson singled to start things off as shortstop Cam Shepherd doubled driving in Anderson the next at-bat. Left fielder Tucker Bradley homered bringing in Shepherd to put Georgia up, 3-0.
Wilcox continued his dominance in the top of the second as he struck out the first two batters, making that four in a row.
In the bottom half of the inning, Anderson reached first on a hit-by-pitch, then advanced to third on an error by the Spiders’ catcher while trying to steal second. Shepherd picked up his second RBI of the game as he singled driving in Anderson putting Georgia up 4-0.
Wilcox continued to cruise through three innings as the Bulldogs went up three up-three down in the third. At that point, he had thrown 32 pitches in an efficient effort striking out four and having several one-pitch outs.
Georgia headed into the top of the fifth inning up 7-0 as they added three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Shepherd singled driving in Cole Tate, then Anderson advanced home on a pass ball, and right fielder Riley King drove in Shepherd on a blooper to right field.
The Spiders finally got on the board in the top of the fifth as catcher Zach Lass drove in a run. A couple of batters later, the bases were loaded with one out as Wilcox ran into his first real troubling situation. Wilcox survived the jam striking out Spiders’ big bats in Hipsman and Dom Toso leaving three runners on base.
Left-hander Justin Glover came in to relieve Wilcox at the top of the sixth. Glover struggled as he gave up two runs on one hit with one run scored on a pass ball as that cut Georgia’s lead to 7-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, Georgia added another run as first basemen Patrick Sullivan drove in Connor Tate to give Georgia an 8-3 lead. Freshman right-hander Jonathan Cannon came into pitch in the eighth and faired well giving up one walk, but no hits.
Ben Anderson reached base for the fifth time as he opened up the bottom of the eighth with a triple. Cam Shepherd singled for the second time driving in Anderson, who scored his fourth run of the day.
After the game, head coach Scott Stricklin said that Anderson is typically a pretty quiet individual, but he saw a change in him Saturday. After Anderson’s triple, Stricklin saw his outfielder emotionally pumping his fist in the air.
“He doesn’t really say much of a word,” Stricklin said. “It was kind of funny to see him get emotional after he hit the triple. … Our guys laughed in the dugout.”
Cannon closed out the game striking out the last two batters in impressive fashion.
Looking ahead, Georgia closes out their series tomorrow as they play Richmond at 1 p.m. at Foley Field. Junior C.J. Smith will take the mound for the Bulldogs.
Here is the video of Stricklin’s post-game interview: