The Bulldogs’ multiple mistakes were too much to overcome and led to a 9-3 loss to the College of Charleston on Opening Day for the UGA baseball team.
Bulldogs’ pitcher Kevin Smith started off strong as he struck out the side in the opening inning but struggled with control in the rest of the game. Smith’s command struggles paired with two fielding errors put the Bulldogs in a tough position. The Cougars’ took advantage of the Bulldogs’ mistakes and gained full control of the game in the top of the 5th.
Already having a 1-run lead heading into the top of the 5th, The Cougars’ increased their lead to 4 with 5 of their first 6 hitters in the inning getting on base. The Cougars just hit single after the single in the inning and slowly added to their lead. Smith’s control issues did not help as he threw three wild pitches in the game, with one coming in the Cougars’ big 5th inning.
“It was one of those nights where it was hard to find a rhythm, get confidence in those pitches, and it didn’t go as planned,” said Smith. “It’s the first game, I could see a little nerves happening, but we’re gonna come back tomorrow better than ever.”
Smith was not able to finish the inning and he ended his day with four strikeouts and three walks while allowing five runs to score, four of which were earned. The Bulldogs used three more pitchers after Smith was relieved and they were Blakely Brown, Andrew Gist, and James Williams
After coming into a tough bases-loaded situation in which Gist allowed two runs to score, he only allowed one base runner after that and this made him the Bulldogs’ most impressive pitcher on the night for me. Gist was, for the most part, dominant in his appearance and he finished with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings and was the only Bulldogs’ pitcher to not throw a wild pitch.
College of Charleston pitcher Bailey Ober earned the win and had very little trouble during his time on the mound. Ober finished the day with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks and only allowed three runs to score, with only two of those being earned. Ober had a much more dominant day than his stat-line shows and if it had not been for his last inning, he probably would have been my MVP.
The Bulldogs could not manage to score any more runs after earning two on Ober late in his start and ended up losing the game by a score of 9-3. They will face the College of Charleston Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
“We just gave away too many free opportunities, too many free bases and they’re a good team,” said Ike Cousins head coach Scott Stricklin. “We knew that coming in that we were gonna have to play well to win, we just didn’t play very well and they outplayed us in just about every category and all we can do is turn the page and get ready to play tomorrow.”
MVP: Cougars First Baseman Logan McRae
McRae had a great day at the plate as he reached on all five of his plate appearances, with three singles, one double, and a walk. McRae also scored three runs for the Cougars while knocking in three runs as well. McRae’s offensive production alone was enough to best the Bulldogs and he will be one to watch in the remainder of the series.