Baseball: Georgia Opens Mizzou Series with Shutout, 3-0

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Baseball: Georgia Opens Mizzou Series with Shutout, 3-0

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Sophomore Emerson Hancock pitched eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks to lead fifth-ranked Georgia over No. 21 Missouri 3-0 Thursday at Foley Field.

Hancock (7-2) faced just one over the minimum and retired 19 of the final 20 batters he faced. Junior Zac Kristofak pitched the ninth for his fourth save on the year as the Bulldogs improved to 31-8 overall and 11-5 in the SEC. The Tigers fall to 26-13-1 overall and 7-8-1 in the SEC.

Emerson Hancock
Emerson Hancock

Georgia junior Tucker Maxwell led off the bottom of the sixth with a bunt single to second which marked Georgia’s first hit off Jacob Cantelberry. Then, sophomore Riley King took followed with an RBI double to left field, scoring Maxwell.  Junior Aaron Schunk singled to right field advancing King to third. With two on and one out, senior LJ Talley made it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly to center field.  Graduate John Cable entered the game to pinch hit for Austin Biggar and delivered a run-scoring double to extend Georgia’s lead to 3-0.

Cantleberry took the loss, falling to 3-3.  He allowed three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings. 

Dawg Tracks

  • Sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock matched his career high for innings pitched with eight shutout innings and 11 strikeouts. He improved to 7-2 with a 1.04 ERA on the year.
  • Graduate John Cable smacked a pinch-hit RBI double.
  • Junior Zac Kristofak now has 10 career saves to go with 10 career wins after pitching the ninth to collect a save.
LJ Talley
LJ Talley

Coach’s Corner

Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On pitcher Emerson Hancock…
He was awfully good. He threw eight innings, faced one over the minimum. Three baserunners got on, and we got two guys off, picked one off, and threw one out stealing. You can’t be much better than that through eight innings with 11 strikeouts, and no walks. He made them uncomfortable in the batter’s box. With a fastball up to 96, he can throw inside and some changeups and sliders. He’s awfully tough.”

On what he told the team prior to the game…
“Well, just to be focused. It’s natural to be a little bit fatigued. The day after the day. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and we played six and a half hours of baseball. A lot of these guys had some heavy legs. We were really light on them yesterday, and we were lighter today pregame than we normally are, trying to get some of those legs back. So, just to be as focused as can be because we knew Emerson was going to be locked in. He didn’t play on Tuesday, so we knew he’d be just fine, but just to make sure that we’re focused. Pitch and play defense, then find a way to score some runs.”

On scoring today…
It was huge. Emerson has two losses and a no decision in the league, and he really easily could have nine wins. He’s just been awfully good, so great to get him a win. Tucker Maxwell got us going with that bunt, and we kind of went from there. We got some momentum. Heck, he [Missouri pitcher] was no hitting us into the sixth inning. Tucker leads off with a bunt, and we put some hits together and scored some runs.

Tucker Maxwell
Tucker Maxwell

Player’s Perspective 

Sophomore RF Riley King 
On playing after Tuesday’s 20—inning game…
“I don’t think we prepared any differently after Tuesday’s game. Baseball is baseball and we just want to come out and treat every game like opening day. It was a long game, but we knew that we had to wake up and come back at it again.”

On the 3-run inning…
“It was huge for us to give Emerson Hancock some run support. He’s always out there doing his thing and staying consistent. But having Tucker Maxwell get that leadoff base hit was really the push we needed. Seeing hits makes it contagious for the dugout and really got us all going.”

Sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock
On the defense…
“I was just trying to get ahead of them and let the defense make plays. They always show up for me in big games and tonight was nothing different.”

On having run insurance…
“Anytime I see the guys lock in on the other pitcher I always feel like I can settle a little bit more. I just try to get our guys in and out of the dugout as quick as I possibly can so we can have some runs.”

Up Next 
Georgia will continue the SEC series against No. 21 ranked Missouri in Athens  Friday at 7 p.m. (SEC Network+)

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.