The (21-6,7-1) No.24 UGA Baseball team had to rely on its outstanding pitching to carry the team to victory over (20-8,2-6)Texas A&M by a score of 3-0.
Starting pitcher Emerson Hancock was shutting the Aggies down and had a no-hitter while he was on the mound. However, Hancock landed awkwardly on his left knee and was unable to continue with one out in the fourth inning. His outstanding start kicked off a night of dominant pitching for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs had no one ready in the bullpen to take over for Hancock, so whoever they chose had to get ready and get ready quickly. The man they called on ended up being Tony Locey and he was just as effective as Hancock.
Locey gave the Bulldogs 3 and 2/3 of one-hit baseball and more importantly, he kept the Aggies off the board in a close contest. Coming straight off the bench cold and delivering such a masterful performance was most impressive to head coach Scott Stricklin.
“Tony Locey, two Fridays in a row, he did that last Friday to win that game for us against South Carolina,” said Stricklin. “You could argue his stuff was just as good as Emerson’s, I think he sat down 11 of 12.”
Zac Kristofak and Aaron Schunk pitched the final two frames for the Bulldogs and they did not let an Aggies runner reach scoring position. All of this dominant pitching made way for the Bulldogs offense that was not as dominant as last night but did just enough to lead the Bulldogs to a win.
Tucker Bradley got the Bulldogs on the board first tonight with a single to left that brought home Mason Meadows in the second inning. A sacrifice fly from Aaron Schunk would give the Bulldogs a second run in the second inning. Bradley would add on another run for his team with an RBI single that brought in L.J. Talley to score in the fourth.
The team got multiple players in scoring position but had trouble driving them in throughout the game, including a bases-loaded bid in the first inning with one out. However, they did not need as many runs tonight because their pitching was so outstanding. They will hope to receive a similar performance from Ryan Webb in game three of the series.
“It was a little disappointing we had some opportunities to extend that lead in a few of the innings, but when you pitch and play defense like that, you can afford to leave some guys on base,” said Stricklin.
Injury Update: Emerson Hancock
Coach Stricklin said that the staff is optimistic that is just a sprained knee and that he will get an MRI tomorrow. They do not feel like it is a serious injury at this time and I personally saw Hancock walking fine after the game. There should be more news on Hancock’s status in the coming days.
Star of the night: Bulldogs pitching
It’s hard to single out a single performer out of the Bulldogs pitching staff as each and every guy that took over on the mound did an outstanding job. The two highlighted players have to be Emerson Hancock and Tony Locey. Hancock gave his team 3 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball. He looked like he was on pace to give his team seven, eight, or maybe even nine innings of outstanding pitching, but the hyperextension of his knee kept him from having an even better night.
Locey came in straight off the bench and had to quickly warm up as he took over for Hancock. Having to get warm so quickly, it would not be a surprise to see him be a little shaky but he was anything but that. Locey picked up right where Hancock left it and only allowed one hit during his time on the mound. The combined efforts of the entire pitching staff ultimately got the Bulldogs the victory.
Quote of the night: RHP Tony Locey on ending a message to rest of the SEC
“It’s here, Dogs are hot baby, we’re going to keep it rolling and I think we’re nine straight right now and we’re going to keep it doing what we do, we’re going to play hard baseball, we’re going to play baseball no matter who we play and we’re going to see where it takes us.”
The Bulldogs will go for the sweep over the Aggies tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Foley Field in Athens, Georgia.