Freshman Logan Moody’s sacrifice fly scored freshman LJ Talley as Georgia rallied past Mercer 7-6 in 10 innings Wednesday at Claude Smith Field.
Georgia (3-1) escaped a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Freshman Blakely Brown registered the final five outs including a pair of strikeouts to collect his first career win.
The Bears (3-1) jumped out in front 3-0 in the first courtesy of Jose Hernandez’s three-run blast. Junior left-hander Connor Jones needed 35 pitches to get through the initial frame as Mercer sent eight batters to the plate. A couple of wild pitches helped the Bears push across another run in the second for a 4-0 advantage. In the third, Georgia responded with a pair of runs including an RBI-single by Stephen Wrenn to cut it to 4-2. Mercer added a run in the third for a 5-2 edge, and Georgia got it back in the fifth on a solo home run by junior Skyler Weber. Mercer junior centerfielder Kyle Lewis lifted a fly ball to left field that left the park to make it 6-3 in the sixth. Georgia freshman Michael Curry came off the bench for a pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth to make it 6-4. It was the first of his career.
In the top of the ninth, Georgia roared back, scoring a pair of runs on two hits and a Mercer miscue to tie the contest. Wrennnotched an RBI on a groundout and sophomore Keegan McGovern made it 6-all with a one-out, RBI-single off reliever Austin Cox. Connor Herd got the loss to fall to 0-1.
Georgia’s pitching staff had an eventful night, issuing 11 walks and five wild pitches to go with 14 strikeouts but ultimately came through as the Bears stranded 16 on the night. The Bulldog bullpen allowed just one run over the final 7.2 innings in relief of Jones, who surrendered five runs on six hits with five walks and four strikeouts before being lifted in the third.
*For the time in the modern era of Georgia Baseball, a Bulldog catcher batted leadoff as Skyler Weber. He crushed a home run in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to six games dating back to last year. Freshman Michael Curry collected his first career home run, a pinch-hit shot to center in the eighth.
*Junior preseason All-America centerfielder Stephen Wrenn and junior second baseman Mike Bell made their 2016 debut. Wrenn finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBI while Bell was 0-for-3. Wrenn missed the opening series against Georgia Southern last week due to an injury.
*Redshirt freshman right-hander, Sam Vaughn’s debut, consisted of one pitch, and it resulted in an inning-ending double play as he came on with the bases loaded in the third. He joined the team in January following a pair of seasons as a scout team quarterback for the Bulldogs.
*Freshman Blakely Brown notched his first career win, pitching the final 1.2 innings with three strikeouts. He entered the game with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth of a tie game.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On tonight’s game…
“It was a lot like last year as we started slow, couldn’t have played any worse early, but we hung around tonight and made some plays and, this time, won it. Our bullpen was outstanding, credit to Coach Corral and Mitchell Boggs for their work getting our guys ready down there.”
“We didn’t win any awards for clean baseball. We load the bases on two errors in the ninth against the middle of the order, and we got out of it. If you’re going to be out there for four hours and 20 minutes, you might as well win, and we were able to get it done.”
Georgia plays host to the Bulldog Invitational starting Friday through Sunday at Foley Field. Friday’s first game features Cincinnati versus Western Kentucky at one p.m. followed by South Alabama against the Bulldogs at 5 p.m. One ticket is good for both games each day.
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