Jaden Woods and Ben Harris combined for 6.1 scoreless innings of relief to lead Georgia to a 7-3 win over top-ranked Arkansas Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 7,645 at Baum-Walker Stadium.
The Bulldogs (28-17, 11-12 SEC) notched their third win over a No. 1 ranked team this season and evened the series with the Razorbacks (35-9, 16-7 SEC). Georgia took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a solo home run from Josh McAllister (2-for-4, 3 RBI). It was his ninth of the year. Later in the frame, Connor Tate reached with a two-out double to extend his on base streak to 25 games as well as an eight-game hitting streak. The Razorbacks looked to answer in the first as Zack Gregory made it to third with one out. However, Ben Anderson caught a shallow fly ball in center off the bat of Cayden Wallace and then fired a strike home to Corey Collins who tagged Gregory to complete an inning-ending double play. It was Anderson’s third assist this year. Brady Slavens reached on a leadoff walk in the bottom of the second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Robert Moore to tie the game.
In the third, Arkansas surged ahead 3-1, and in the inning, the Bulldogs lifted Jonathan Cannon with two on and two out and brought in Woods. He kept it a two-run game. In the fifth, Georgia tied the game, scoring two runs on four hits and were aided by a pair of Razorback errors on one play. The inning began with a Cole Tate (3-for-3) base hit. With Fernando Gonzalez at the plate, the home plate umpire Ronnie Teague was struck by a foul ball and had to leave the game. Following a brief delay. Gonzalez lined a single to center. After Arkansas turned a double play, McAllister reached on a bunt single and on the play, there were a couple of throwing errors that allowed him to score and tie the game. In the sixth, McAllister made one of the best defensive plays of the season with a diving catch in shallow right field for the first out. In the seventh, Ben Anderson’s two-run home run off Zack Morris put Georgia in front 5-3.
In the seventh, Woods retired the first two batters via the strikeout before issuing a walk to Matt Goodheart. Georgia turned to Ben Harris. He got ahead of Cayden Wallace 0-2 and then hit him with a pitch. From there, things looked to unravel with three
straight trips to the mound by Collins. Eight consecutive balls loaded the bases for Christian Franklin. Harris battled back to strike him out and maintain Georgia’s advantage. Georgia added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth for the final.
Woods improved to 3-0, tossing four scoreless frames with three strikeouts while Harris took care of the final 2.1 innings with four strikeouts for his third save, all in SEC action. Razorback reliever Ryan Costieu dropped to 6-2.
The rubber game of the Arkansas series will be Sunday at 3:02 p.m. ET. The contest will be available on SEC Network+ and can be heard on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. Georgia aims to win its second road series of the season over a No. 1 ranked squad after beating Vanderbilt two games to one last month in Nashville.
Georgia’s Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the game…
“Jaden Woods was a huge key to the game of settling things down. He comes in and we’re down 3-1, and he just settled things down and gave us a chance to win. And then Benny Harris did a great job of shutting it down.”
On defensive highlight catch by Josh McAllister
“That’s as good a play as you can make. The wind blowing in helped it. Off the bat, I thought it was down for sure, and he just kept closing on it and the win knocked it down. It was almost like a quarterback throwing to a wide receiver, and it was just a complete layout and great catch. That’s gotta show up on SportsCenter.”
On Ben Harris’ strikeout of Christian Franklin with the bases loaded in the seventh
“He had thrown some balls and was having trouble seeing the signs (from Corey Collins). The crowd was really, really loud, and the he comes back to get the big strikeout against one of the best hitters in the country. That settled him down, and after that, he was really good.”