ATHENS, Ga. — Needing just one win in their final two games to clinch a top four seed and bye in next week’s SEC tournament, the Georgia Bulldogs (36-17, 17-12) rallied in extra innings to beat the 6th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks 8-7 in dramatic fashion.
The top four finish in the SEC regular season marks the first time the Bulldogs will enter the tournament as such since the 2008 College World Series Finalist team.
It was once again a high scoring affair between two of the top four offense in the conference as the lead was exchanged three times in the opening three frames. The visiting Razorbacks, the SEC’s top hitting team, struck first in the opening frame when leftfielder Heston Kjerstad rifled a two run homerun to right field.
The resilient Bulldogs picked up freshman starter Emerson Hancock who lasted just 1.1 innings, scoring four times in the bottom of the first. Aaron Schunk answered the Razorback two-run homer with a two-run homerun of his own. RBI singles by Adam Sasser and Mason Meadows capped the hit parade giving Georgia a 4-2 lead.
After trading solo runs in the second the Razorbacks pushed across three runs in the third inning off of Bulldog reliever Zac Kristofak, reclaiming a 6-5 lead. As the teams completed a scoreless fourth inning, inclement weather struck delaying the contest two hours and two minutes.
The Bulldog bats picked up right where they left off after the stoppage in play and as play resumed in the fifth inning Michael Curry promptly put the Bulldogs ahead on a long two-run homer to left giving Georgia a 7-6 edge.
Freshman C.J. Smith assumed duties on the mound moving from center field after the rain delay and turned in three scoreless innings of work inducing two inning ending double plays but ran into trouble in the eighth inning. A Cody Martin double and an RBI groundout off Smith knotted the game at seven. With two outs in the inning the Bulldogs called upon closer Aaron Schunk who stranded the go-ahead run at third base.
Schunk dazzled in relief limiting the Razorback offense to just one hit in 2.1 innings on the mound as the teams took their 7-7 affair to extra innings.
Senior Keegan McGovern led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a controversial double that was ruled fair on the field and confirmed after replay review. The Razorbacks walked the bases loaded and with one out second baseman LJ Talley delivered the game-winning hit on a clean single through the hole in the left side scoring McGovern giving the Bulldogs their 17th SEC victory of the year.
The Bulldogs (36-17, 17-12) will conclude their regular season with the a rubber match versus the Razorbacks tomorrow afternoon with first pitch of Senior Night scheduled for 12pm.