The Georgia baseball team clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament with a 6-3 win over South Carolina in Columbia at Founders Park on Thursday night.
Georgia’s victory coupled with a Tennessee loss to Missouri clinched the Bulldogs a place in the 12-team SEC Tournament, slated for May 23rd through May 28th in Hoover, Alabama. Georgia will play next Tuesday with the opponent and time of the game to be determined in the next couple of days. Teams are seeded 1-12 based on conference winning percentage with the division winners assured of the top two seeds.
The Diamond Dogs (24-30, 10-18 SEC), winners of seven of its last nine games, got a tremendous pitching performance from senior Andrew Gist, who tied his career-high by tossing eight innings. The Bulldogs grabbed a 4-0 lead in the second courtesy of a two-out rally. Freshman Austin Biggar made it 1-0 with an RBI-single to deep shortstop. Then, freshman Tucker Bradley followed with a two-run double off the wall in left field. Georgia’s final run scored courtesy of a passed ball.
The Gamecocks (31-22, 12-16 SEC) ended Gist’s shutout bid in the seventh when Justin Row drew a leadoff walk and scored on a one-out double by Jonah Bride. The Bulldogs got the run back in the ninth when Biggar singled and scored on a base hit by freshman Cam Shepherd (3-for-5). Junior Keegan McGovern followed Shepherd with an RBI-single to make it 6-1. Georgia’s offense collected 14 hits on the night.
Gist provided eight innings, allowing just one run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts to improve to 3-4. He faced just 28 batters on the night. Freshman Zac Kristofak took care of the ninth but not before the Gamecocks scored two runs on two hits for the final. USC junior Wil Crowe fell to 5-5, surrendering four runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
CLICK HERE for the final stats and box score from game one of the Georgia-South Carolina series.
The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will continue their three-game series with game two on Friday, this evening, with first pitch set for 7:02 p.m. ET and available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.
Senior Andrew Gist tied his career high with eight innings pitched for the win to move his record to 3-4. He pitched eight innings in a 3-1 road win over #19 Ga. Tech in 2016.
Freshman Austin Biggar gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single in the 2nd. He finished 2-for-4.
Freshman Tucker Bradley made it 3-0 in the 2nd with a two-out, two-run double, his seventh of the year. He ended up 2-for-5.
Freshman Cam Shepherd registered his team-leading 16th double including 12th in SEC action to start the fifth frame. He finished 3-for-5 and has a team-high 19 multi-hit games.
Coach’s Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
“We’re playing really good baseball right now and this was our best game of the year. It was good to add to our lead late because you never know and South Carolina rallied in the ninth. I thought Andrew Gist was outstanding. I’m proud of him tonight and all season how he’s handled pitching the first game of a SEC series. I’m proud of this team. I think back to three weeks ago when we’re headed to play fourth-ranked Kentucky, it’s cold and raining and Friday morning we get the call to ask about moving the game up to an afternoon start. We agreed to it and then we won that game and found a way to win the series, and we’ve been playing really well since that day.”