Fifth-ranked Georgia combined on another one-hitter to complete an SEC series sweep, beating No. 21 Missouri 4-2 Saturday at Foley Field.
The Bulldogs (33-8 overall, 13-5 SEC) earned the sweep behind another strong outing from junior Tony Locey followed by Ryan
Webb and Zack Kristofak. Locey improved to 7-0, going six innings and allowing two runs on one hit with five walks and five strikeouts. Webb, who made his first appearance since March 6 due to arm soreness, took care of the seventh, and Kristofak pitched the final two innings for his fifth save. Back on April 7 at Foley Field, Locey and Kristofak combined on a one-hitter in a series-clinching win over fifth-ranked Vanderbilt.
Georgia wasted no time getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore Riley King doubled to the right field corner. Junior Aaron Schunk followed up with an infield single advancing King to third. The Bulldogs gained a 1-0 lead when King crossed the plate on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the third, senior LJ Talley smashed a two-run home run to extend Georgia’s lead to 3-0. It was his sixth of the year.
The Tigers (26-15-1, 7-10-1 SEC) loaded the bases with three walks in the fourth. Senior Tony Ortiz picked up an RBI on a hit-by-pitch. Senior Paul Gomez followed up with an RBI single to third base that made it a one-run contest.
In the bottom of the fifth, Talley made his way around to third on a walk, balk, and wild pitch by Missouri junior LHP TJ Sikkema. Talley touched the plate for the second time of the afternoon on a passed ball to make it 4-2. Sikkema fell to 4-3, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings.
- LJ Talley launched a two-run homer to right field collecting his sixth home run of the season.
- Sophomore LHP Ryan Webb made his first appearance since March 6 due to arm soreness.
- The Bulldogs earned their second SEC sweep of the season, the last one being at South Carolina in Columbia to open conference play.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On team’s performance today…
“Well, Tony Locey was big for us today. I think their hitters went 1-19 off of him. He’s just so hard to hit. He’s throwing 96 miles an hour. He’s throwing a breaking ball and a changeup well, so he really competes for us well, and it was great to see Ryan Webb come back. It’s been six or seven weeks since he has been on the mound so to have him back was big for us. He had a clean inning, and I thought Zac Kristofak threw his best all year long, and for him to get that save was huge. LJ Talley had the big two-run homer, which was the difference.”
On what’s next for the Bulldogs…
“The biggest thing is we have Georgia Tech on Tuesday and playing at SunTrust Park for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta so a huge charity event. It will be the rubber match of the series. We’re tied 1-1, so whoever wins, wins this series. We’re going to have a great crowd. The weather looks great, so we are excited about that chance of playing Georgia Tech at SunTrust. Then, we are going to Mississippi State, and they are one of the best teams in the country, really one of the most complete teams in the country. Their pitching, defense, and hitting are as good as they come in college baseball, and we have to play at their place. It will be a challenge, but it will be a lot of fun.”
On Missouri pitcher TJ Sikkema…
“That was their best pitcher that they were throwing today, so it was tough to get some good swings on some balls. I don’t think he had his stuff from the beginning, and he was throwing me a lot of balls and off-speed pitches. He was kind of throwing everybody backwards, pitching a lot of off-speed pitches at first. When I hit the home run, I was ahead in the count 2-0, and he threw two curveballs, so I was sitting fastball, and I got a pretty good swing on it.”
On pitcher Tony Locey…
“Tony is very competitive. He’s one of the most competitive guys on the team, so even if he doesn’t have his stuff, like I said, he is still going to battle and give us a good start no matter what.”
On hitting in the rainy weather…
“You just have to do the same thing. I don’t think you do anything that different. I mean the bat will be a little wet, so I’ll try to dry it off with something, but I really don’t think you switch anything up unless you are Randon [Jernigan] or [Tucker Maxwell] and have a lot of speed. Then you can maybe put more bunts down because of the wet grass. It’s tougher for the defense to make a play on the wet ball, but other than that you don’t change anything.”
On team’s confidence exiting the weekend…
“I think we’re very confident. We had a pretty good weekend, so I think we did enough to win, but we can definitely get better. Overall, we were 4-0 this week, so it’s a good week. The goal right now is that we want to win an SEC Championship. Coach says, “Great teams sweep, good teams will be ok with winning the series.” So, it was a good thing that we swept.”
Georgia will travel to SunTrust Park in Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Tuesday at 7 p.m.