The visiting Kennesaw State Owls (9-16) jumped on top 4-0 in the early running, and Georgia (15-11) never could draw even, ultimately falling by a 4-2 final score on Tuesday night at Foley Field.
Freshman LJ Talley provided the offense for the Bulldogs on Tuesday, shooting a line drive to the warning track in left field for a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth inning to draw within 4-2. Talley finished with two hits on the day.
Georgia’s arms were put to work in the midweek showdown as Coach Scott Stricklin opted to use five pitchers. Shane Tucker made his first career start but was tagged with three earned runs, all in the second inning, as he took the loss. Andrew Gist closed the show for the home squad, allowing only one hit over the final three innings while striking out three out of the bullpen.
The Owls struck for three runs in the top of the second, making Georgia pay for three consecutive one-out walks in the frame as the visitors claimed an early 3-0 lead.
Kennesaw State tacked on another run in the fifth off Blake Cairnes, driving in their fourth runner of the game with a two-out RBI single to center for a 4-0 lead.
Georgia got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth after getting a good bounce for Michael Curry, whose single caromed off second base for a single to put two on with two outs. Talley followed with a two-RBI double to left, bringing the Bulldogs back within two runs at 4-2.
The Bulldogs threatened once again in the seventh, putting two on with no outs, but Kennesaw State was able to escape unharmed.
– Keegan McGovern’s walk in the fourth inning brought his team-leading total to 21 on the year. The free pass came at the end of a 12-pitch at bat.
– Trevor Kieboom extended his hitting streak to five games with his leadoff single in the eighth inning.
– LJ Talley recorded his third two-RBI game of his career. He had two hits in the contest, his third multi-hit game of the season.
– Mitchell Webb recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the year.
– Andrew Gist had three strikeouts in three scoreless innings of work out of the pen, one shy of his career best of four Ks.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On positives in the loss…
“I thought Andrew Gist was really good to finish that game. He has scuffled a little bit these last few times out there, so it was really encouraging to see Andrew throw the ball that well. We had to get Heath Holder and Connor Jones out there, and they put up zeros. I thought they threw the ball well. It was encouraging to see those guys put up some zeros and keep us in the game. It was unfortunate we just couldn’t score enough to win.”
On the upcoming series against Alabama…
“All we can do is come back tomorrow and be ready to practice. That’s what I told the guys – we’re going to come out here tomorrow, we’re going to have a good practice, we’re going to work very hard, we’re going to have lots of enthusiasm and we’re going to get ready for another SEC series. We’ll be excited to play this weekend. This is a setback, certainly. Nobody’s happy about it. But we’ve got to turn the page, have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for Alabama.”
On the use of pitchers in the game…
“Today was going to be a staff day. We gave Shane Tucker the start. He’s a freshman. Last time out he threw the ball really well, and we wanted him to get that opportunity. He was going to pitch today regardless, so we decided to give him the start. Heath Holder and Connor Jones needed to get back out there. They struggled a little bit over the weekend and we needed to get them back out on the mound to get some confidence. I thought Connor Jones threw the ball really well. Heath Holder battled and put up a zero. It was encouraging to see those two guys go out there and throw the ball like they did, and those guys will all be ready for this weekend.”
Fr. INF LJ Talley
On the quick turnaround before Alabama…
“You just can’t let this bother you. You have to turn the page and not worry about it.”
On the batters’ approaches at the plate…
“I don’t think we really need to We just have to have better approaches at the plate and better at bats. We have good players; we have really good players. We can be a really good team, and we just have to figure it out. I think we will, it’s just a matter of when.”
Jr. P Andrew Gist
On what was working well tonight…
“My curveball, my slider and my changeup were all working pretty well today. That’s something that I haven’t been able to have working all at the same time in the past couple experiences.”
On the strong outing adding confidence to the bullpen…
“It definitely gives us confidence to keep us in the ballgame going into this weekend. It’s a good sign being able to hit on all of my pitches for strikes…When you get to go more than one or two innings you get to really see what pitches are working.”
Georgia will take on Alabama this weekend at Foley Field, starting Thursday at 7 p.m.