The UGA baseball team’s bats were very much alive and immediately helped the team take an early lead over the Charlotte 49ers in the Bulldogs 12-2 victory.
The Bulldogs took a one-run lead in the bottom half of the first, but the team’s offensive explosion in the second and third inning was what put the game away early. They scored four runs in the second inning and followed that performance with a five-run third inning. However, there was a huge difference in the way the Bulldogs scored in each of these innings.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases up in the second inning with one out and used small ball to get runners in to score. Tucker Maxwell started the scoring with a perfectly placed bunt between the first baseman and pitcher that brought in a run and allowed him to stand safely at first.
Bradley followed up Maxwell’s bunt with a perfect bunt of his own down the third base line that was on the fringe of going foul but never did. This, in turn, brought in a run and kept the bases loaded for Keegan McGovern, who singled to right bringing in two more runs, but that would be all the scoring in the inning.
After already having a home run from McGovern in the opening inning, The Bulldogs put their power on display again in the fifth inning as they earned five runs off of home runs from L.J. Talley and Tucker Bradley. Bradley’s home run was the first of his Bulldog career and it helped give the Bulldogs a commanding double-digit lead.
“I’ve been waiting for it to happen. He(Bradley) can barrel it up, he’s a really strong kid, he’s put on ten pounds from last year, he’s got really good wrists and a lot of bat speed,” said Ike Cousins’ head coach Scott Stricklin. “He’s gonna hit a few home runs, Tucker Maxwell is gonna hit a few home runs, but we need those guys to continue to put the pressure on and lay those bunts down.”
The Bulldogs seemed to have Niners starter Matt Brooks’s number all night long and seemed to see the ball well against him as every player in the starting lineup reached base. The Bulldogs pitching was also outstanding and helped keep this win secure.
Bulldogs starter Kevin Smith seemed to cruise on the mound as he pitched with a comfortable lead for the majority of the game and this led to a much better performance than his opening day outing. Smith’s final line was one run on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts in 5 and 1/3 innings pitched. Smith did allow a good many baserunners but did a great job of stranding the runners on base and not allowing runs to score.
“All in all, it was a really good positive outing, he went out there and got the win and shut them down early,” said Stricklin. “They had a couple guys in scoring position and he shut them down.”
The Bulldogs are playing outstanding baseball to start off the season and if they can keep it up, then they should prove to contend in the SEC and maybe the NCAA tournament.
Star of the night: Left Fielder Keegan McGovern
Picking a star in the Bulldogs victory is tough, but I will go with Keegan McGovern as his opening home run helped get the Bulldogs going. He went on to finish the game going 2-4 with three RBIs, which puts him on top in the team’s ranking of home runs and second in the area of RBIs. McGovern has been a steady force for the Bulldogs in the early portion of this season and they should rely on him heavily this year.
Quote of the night: Tucker Bradley on Keegan McGovern
“Keegan’s a beast, Keegan’s someone the whole team looks up to and so as Keegan goes, we go.”
The Bulldogs will finish off the series against the Niners tomorrow as the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.