This past weekend, the Georgia baseball team swept the University of Richmond Spiders in the opening series of the 2020 season, and redshirt junior Tucker Bradley was a big part of the Bulldogs’ success.
Last year, Bradley suffered a season-ending injury attempting to make a diving catch against Dayton, just three games into the 2019 season. That injury left Bradley on the bench battling a shoulder problem for the remainder of the year.
Bradley seems like a completely humbled human being, and he played a critical role in the Bulldogs’ two comeback wins of three-game series over the weekend. Not only with his bat but also with his arm as he took the mound Sunday to close the game in Georgia’s 5-4 win.
Georgia’s 7-6 comeback win on Friday night in game one of the series was Bradley’s first time back since the injury, and he made the most of it, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. He continued his hot start on Saturday in game two of the series, going 3-for-4 with his first home run of the season and three RBIs.
Bradley’s home run came in the first inning of the game as he hit a two-run bomb following shortstop Cam Shepherd‘s RBI double to bring in center fielder Ben Anderson. That home run boosted Georgia to a 3-0 lead as they never looked back.
Funny enough, the at-bat didn’t begin like that though. When Bradley walked up to the plate, he planned to advance Shepherd to third on a sacrifice bunt. Bradley expressed after the game that he couldn’t get the bunt down just right, so when Richmond pitcher Collin Lowe threw a changeup inside, he was able to connect hard enough to drive it out of the park.
Bradley’s bat wasn’t as effective on Sunday only having one hit, but he showed his savviness and versatility. He was able to draw two walks to get on base, then successfully stole two bases, scoring one run.
Georgia loaded the bases with one out in the fifth and got a sacrifice fly from freshman Garrett Blaylock. Then, the Bulldogs executed a double steal with Shepherd and Bradley. With redshirt junior Riley King at the plate and on ball four, Shepherd scored on a wild pitch from Richmond’s Garrett Aylor to make it 4-3.
After Sunday’s game, head coach Scott Stricklin told the media of how important it is to get on base. After falling behind in two of three games, he stated that learned that his team has a lot of fight, and won’t give up.
Bradley started in left field for the first two games of the weekend, but on Sunday he acted as the designated hitter. After Georgia regained the lead on Sunday, freshman reliever Will Childers held his own going two-and-two thirds innings, before Bradley made his first appearance on the mound since his freshman year in 2017, getting the call to close out the game.
He finished the game strong, getting credited with his first career save as he struck out one batter, and also gave up no hits.
“That was great,” Bradley said Sunday during his post-game interview. “I just went out and competed. It was good to be back out there.”
Stricklin felt good about what he saw in Bradley after the game.
“It’s been two years since we’ve seen that,” Stricklin said. “The guy competes, he loves to win, and that’s the guy you want on your team. He’s just a baseball player and found a way to get it done.”