Baseball: Georgia Takes Game 1 in Oxford

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Baseball: Georgia Takes Game 1 in Oxford

Aaron Schunk
Aaron Schumk

OXFORD, MISS—–The 19th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated seventh-ranked Ole Miss 3-2 Friday in front of a Swayze Field crowd of 10,399.

Sophomore third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk drove in a pair of runs and pitched the ninth for his sixth save as the Bulldogs improved to 27-11 overall and 10-6 in the SEC. The Rebels (30-9, 8-8 SEC) lost for just the third time at home this season after entering the contest with a 20-2 mark at Swayze Field. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead to the sixth and a 2-1 advantage to the eighth and each time the Rebels managed to tie the contest. In the ninth, Bulldog sophomore Tucker Bradley laced an RBI-single off Rebel closer Parker Caracci to make it 3-2.

Georgia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out RBI-single by Schunk. It extended his hitting streak to six games as Cam Shepherd (2-for-4) scored following a walk and a base hit by Michael Curry (2-for-3). Georgia had a chance to extend its lead in the sixth but left the bases loaded. The Rebels missed out on a scoring chance in the first as they loaded the bases with one out and senior Chase Adkins got Cole Zabowski to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Ole Miss tied it in the sixth with a leadoff home run by sophomore Grae Kessinger, his third of the year. It was just the Rebels third hit of the evening and ended a string of nine straight retired by Adkins. In the seventh, Will Golsan led off with a base hit and that ended Adkins night as Georgia turned to junior Kevin Smith. He kept it a tie game as Golsan was stranded at third. Adkins proved six innings, allowing one run on four hits. Ole Miss starter Ryan Rolison pitched seven innings and surrendered two runs on seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

Georgia took a 2-1 lead in the top of the eight as Keegan McGovern led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Schunk. The hit extended his on base streak to 26 games. The Rebels responded in the bottom of the frame with three straight one-out hits, capped by an RBI-single by Thomas Dillard to make it 2-all. Then with two outs and runners at second and third, Georgia brought in Zac Kristofak who got the final out to send it to the ninth tied. He would pick up the victory to improve to 2-1 while Caracci dropped to 2-1.

In the ninth, redshirt freshman Mason Meadows smacked a one-out single, took second on a walk to Tucker Maxwell and scored on Bradley’s base hit. Schunk retired the Rebels in order in the bottom of the frame.

“It all starts on the mound and Chase got us off to a great start and then the bullpen did a good job,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head coach Scott Stricklin. “Tonight, we won with pitching and defense, and we found a way to score a few runs against their best guys. We had to earn it. Tucker Bradley came up with the big hit in the ninth. We made a few mistakes offensively, but we hung in there against a really good team in a difficult atmosphere and got a hard-fought win.”

Due to the threat of inclement weather on Sunday, the series will conclude Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. There will be 45 minutes between the nine-inning games. The doubleheader will be available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG. This marks the second straight SEC weekend and fourth time this season that the Bulldogs will play a Saturday doubleheader in lieu of a Sunday contest.


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