Eight-ranked Georgia clinched an SEC road series at Auburn Saturday after the teams split a doubleheader in front of 3,340 at Plainsman Park.
Georgia (39-14, 18-9 SEC) claimed the nightcap 10-8 Saturday after winning the series opener Friday 11-2. The Tigers (30-21, 13-14 SEC) rallied past Georgia 4-3 in 10 innings to start the action Saturday. It marked the first series win for the Bulldogs over the Tigers on the Plains since 2006 and first since sweeping them in Athens in 2012.
In game one of the doubleheader, Will Holland gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with his sixth home run with one out in the second. It was only the fourth home run allowed by Emerson Hancock this season. In the third, catcher Mason Meadows tied the game with his second home run of the year, launching one over the Green Monster in left field off Tanner Burns. In the fourth, Aaron Schunk extended his hitting streak to eight games with a base hit and right fielder Steven Williams misplayed it allowing him to get to third. However, Tiger centerfielder Judd Ward got a flyball from Talley and fired it home to get Schunk and complete a double play to get out of the inning. In the fourth, the Tigers went up 3-1 as Holland and Rankin Woley picked up RBI. Georgia cut it to 3-2 in the fifth after graduate designated hitter John Cable smashed his sixth home run over the centerfield fence. Cable would strike again in the sixth. With two outs, Talley reached with a base hit for a six-game hitting streak. Then, Cable crushed an RBI-double off the Green Monster to tie the contest.
In the 10th, designated hitter Connor Davis lined a run-scoring single to left for a 4-3 win to cap three straight hits off Wilcox in the frame. Cody Greenhill went four scoreless innings in relief of Burns for the victory to improve to 2-2. Wilcox went 2.2 innings with three strikeouts but dropped to 2-1.
In game two, Georgia watched Auburn rally from a 7-2 deficit to tie the contest in the seventh. However, a two-out, three-run home from junior Cam Shepherd with two outs in the eighth gave the Bulldogs the series. The game began with a double by Shepherd, a single by Riley King and a three-run home run from Aaron Schunk. It ended Tiger starter Richard Fitts’ outing. In the bottom of the first, the Tigers got one back on an RBI-double by Davis and another in the third as Ryan Bliss reached on a two-out single, took third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on a wild pitch. Georgia went on top 4-2 on an RBI-single from Chaney Rogers, scoring Talley who led off the inning with a base hit to give him a seven-game hitting streak.
In the sixth, Rogers struck again with an RBI-single and freshman Shane Marshall delivered a two-run single to put Georgia in front 7-2. The Tigers responded by loading the bases with nobody out in their half of the inning as the Bulldogs then lifted Tim Elliott in favor of Ryan Webb. The Tigers would get four in that frame and eventually tie the contest in the seventh on a two-out, run-scoring single by Matt Scheffler. The Bulldogs answered with two outs in the eighth. Marshall notched his career-best three-hit game and Jernigan followed with a base hit. Shepherd followed with an opposite field blast to right field for his fifth home run and a 10-7 lead.
Bulldog junior Zac Kristofak (4-0) pitched the final 3.2 innings for the win. Tiger reliever Blake Schilleci (0-2) got the loss after surrendering the home run.
With rain in the forecast the next two days, the teams scheduled a doubleheader for Saturday to complete the series.
- In game two, junior Cam Shepherd broke up a 7-all game with a two-out, three-run home run in the eighth inning
- Junior Aaron Schunk extended his hitting streak to nine games going 1-for-4 in game one and then a three-run home run in his first at bat of game two. Schunk has nine home runs on the year.
- Senior LJ Talley hit safely in both games of the doubleheader to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
- In game two, freshman Shane Marshall had a career-high 3-hit game with two RBI.
- In game one, sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock made his first start in two weeks due to a lat muscle. He did not factor in the decision of game one, going 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
- Graduate John Cable went 2-for-3 with a home run and 2 RBI in game one.
- Junior Zac Kristofak went 3.2 innings for his fourth win of the year to clinch the series.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the doubleheader…
“It was tough to lose that first one in extra innings but we bounced back in the second game. You have to credit Auburn for coming back in both games. It’s tough to win a series in this league especially on the road because everybody has good crowds but we did it. We got up 7-2 in the second game and then all of sudden here comes Auburn and they tied it up. We responded and did everything with two outs. I was proud of our two freshman in Randon Jernigan and Shane Marshall getting base hits there in the eighth and then Cam Shepherd came through with the clutch home run.
“I’m glad to see Emerson Hancock back in the rotation. He wanted to keep going in that first game but he was around 95 pitches so we went to Cole Wilcox. I thought Cole pitched well, but Auburn strung a few hits together and got that first game in extra innings. In game two, Tim Elliott got us to the fifth and Ryan Webb and Zac Kristofak went the rest of the way. Both got some big strikeouts, and Zac was able to close it out. Our defense made some key plays too. We’ve matched our SEC win total from a year ago at 18, and we still have one more SEC series to go and thankfully we’re at home. Our crowds at Foley Field have been tremendous this year and hoping to see them again starting Thursday for the Alabama series. ”
Georgia concludes the regular season with an SEC home series starting Thursday versus Alabama. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday on SEC Network+.