Fourth-ranked Georgia fell 3-2 in 11 innings to fifth-ranked Vanderbilt to open an SEC series Friday at Foley Field in front of a crowd of 3,188.
The Commodores (24-6, 7-3 SEC) rallied off junior All-American closer Aaron Schunk as pinch-hitter Walker Grisanti connected for a game-tying solo home run in the ninth. Then in the 11th, shortstop Ethan Paul delivered his fourth home run of the year to make it 3-2. It marked the first blown save for Schunk (1-1) on the year as he entered the series 10-for-10 in converting save opportunities this year.
The pitching duel between UGA sophomore right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock and Vanderbilt junior pitcher Drake Fellows was a typical Friday night in the SEC. Hancock shut down the high-powered Commodore offense, pitching seven innings and striking out eight batters, while only allowing four hits and one run. Fellows threw seven innings, yielding five hits, two runs, and striking out six batters.
With one out in the third inning, Bulldog junior shortstop Cam Shepherd singled, followed by sophomore left fielder Riley King getting hit by the pitch, setting up Georgia with runners on 1stand 2nd. Senior second baseman LJ Talley came through, singling up the middle to give Georgia a 1-0 lead as Shepherd scored. Then, senior designated hitter John Cable, hit a line drive single to left-centerfield scoring King and extended Georgia’s lead to 2-0. Vanderbilt responded with an RBI single off the bat of junior Ty Duvall in the sixth inning, making it a 2-1 ballgame. After Zac Kristofak took care of the eighth inning, the Bulldogs looked to Schunk in the ninth inning.
Georgia put runners in scoring position in the final two frames but Commodore closer Tyler Brown (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts.
Game two of the series will be at 2 p.m. and be available via stream on SEC Network+ and broadcast on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
-With an RBI single in the third inning, senior LJ Talley
-With sophomore right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock pitching seven innings he has now pitched seven innings in all four of his outings against SEC opponents.
-Freshman Chaney Rogers was the only Bulldog with multiple hits. It was his second multi-hit game on his career.
-Georgia is now 1-1
-Aaron Schunk was 10-for-10 in converting save opportunities this season before the Commodores rallied off him tonight.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On Emerson Hancock’s performance…
“I thought he scuffled a bit early. He wasn’t quite locked in but he still found a way to get through every inning. Throughout the game, he settled in. I thought his last couple innings were his best innings. Later in the year, we might send him out for one more [inning], but he was at 108 pitches I believe, so we decided to take him out. I thought he really competed. He gave up one run and four hits off of arguably the best lineup in the country.”
On the message to the team to prepare them for Saturday…
“Tomorrow is a big one. It is a chance to even up the series and
Junior 3B/P Aaron Schunk
On his performance on the mound…
“I didn’t get it down enough. That was on me. I just have to get ready for the next one and try to get it done. Emerson Hancock works really hard, he didn’t have everything today but he found a way to get it done. He kept us in that game the whole time. He’s a phenomenal pitcher and a phenomenal kid so he’s going to keep us in ball games.”
Georgia and Vanderbilt continue the weekend series Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. at Foley Field.