NASHVILLE—The No. 15 Vanderbilt Commodores defeated 17th-ranked Georgia 8-3 Saturday at Hawkins Field.
After three scoreless innings, both teams pushed across a two-out run in the fourth. Georgia sophomore Cam Shepherd reached with a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI-double by junior Adam Sasser. The Commodores answered as Connor Kaiser reached on a two-out single, went to second on an errant pickoff attempt by freshman Emerson Hancock and came around on a base hit by Ethan Paul. Hancock set a career-high with eight strikeouts in 4.1 innings but allowed five runs, four earned, in the loss to fall to 3-2.
In the fifth, Vanderbilt (19-13, 7-5 SEC) scored four runs on five hits including three that didn’t leave the infield to take a 5-1 advantage. Sophomore Zak Kristofak came on for Hancock during the frame. Vanderbilt freshman Mason Hickman pitched 6.2 innings for the win and improved his record to 6-1 while Tyler Brown got his third save, pitching the final 2.1 innings. In the seventh, Georgia closed the deficit to 5-3 with a two-out, two-run triple by Shepherd. The two-out rally started with back-to-back singles by Tucker Maxwell and Tucker Bradley. Stephen Scott connected for a three-run home run in the seventh to put Vanderbilt up 8-3.
“We didn’t play very well today and still had a chance when it was 5-3 in the seventh,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “They put pressure on us in that one inning, and we didn’t handle it very well. I thought Emerson Hancock had a great start and then they got four in the fifth. Overall, we’ve got to play better, and now we have to get ready for Clemson and then we’re back home for Kentucky.”
Georgia’s lineup was missing its leading hitter in senior left fielder Keegan McGovern (.364 BA, 10 HR, 31 RBI) Saturday, who is listed as day-to-day after tweaking his back, according to Stricklin. McGovern left Friday’s game after three innings due to his back, and Saturday marked the first game he had not started this year.
Up next, Georgia (23-9, 8-4 SEC) faces nationally-ranked Clemson Tuesday at SRP Park, the new home of the Augusta Green Jackets, in North Augusta, S.C. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m. and be broadcast on the Bulldogs Sports Network from IMG.