The UGA Baseball team saw starting pitcher Andrew Gist deliver a career-high 10 strikeout performance in the Bulldogs 3-0 win over the University of Missouri.
Although the starting pitching for both teams was exceptional, Gist was for the most part unhittable as only two of the three hits which he allowed left the infield. Gist also did a good job of not allowing free bases as he only allowed one walk in his 6 innings pitched. Gist outstanding strikeout performance should not come as a surprise as he has earned eight and seven strikeouts in his previous two appearances. Gist has become a steady performer in the Bulldogs’ rotation as of late, which has been much-needed.
The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning as designated hitter Michael Curry brought home shortstop Cam Shepherd from second base on a single to center field. The Bulldogs would extend their lead to two runs in the bottom of the third as center fielder Tucker Maxwell hit a huge home run to right field, which landed on the top of the scoreboard. Maxwell’s home run off Tigers’ starting pitcher Tanner Houck was only the second Houck had allowed on the season.
The Bulldogs added a late insurance run in the top of the ninth as left fielder Keegan McGovern hit his first career triple with two outs in the inning. McGovern scored on a wild pitch from Tigers’ Houck. Although the Bulldogs found a way to pull out the victory with only three runs on six hits, they have to have more offensive production if they hope to earn more victories in SEC play.
The Bulldogs only used two relievers on the night, but both guys did an excellent job of shutting things down. The Bulldogs called on Zac Kristofak first out of the bullpen and he picked up where Gist left off as he earned six strikeouts in 2.2 innings pitched, which tied his career-high. Kristofak also did a good job of keep runners off base as the only two runners reached base against him and they reached on a strikeout and wild pitch and a walk.
Blake Cairnes came in next for the Bulldogs to earn the final out of the game. Cairnes took the mound with runners on first and second and the tying run up to bat. Cairnes shut the door on the Tigers comeback bid as he struck out the first batter he faced. This was the Bulldogs season-high with strikeouts as Gist, Kristofak and Cairnes finished with a combined 17 strikeouts.
The Bulldogs fielding was decent, but they did finish the night with two errors. Having two errors in such a low-scoring game does not usually end in a win for any team, but the Bulldogs are fortunate that their dominant pitching was able to lead them to a crucial SEC victory. If they hope to continue to win in the SEC, the Bulldogs will need to clean up their performance in the field.
The Bulldogs will face the Missouri Tigers at Foley Field in the second game of the three-game series on April 7th at 7:30 p.m.
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