UGA vs USC Baseball – Georgia’s Daniel Nichols and Stephen Wrenn hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to help the Bulldogs (20-17, 6-9) come from behind and score a 5-3 victory over No. 2 South Carolina (29-8, 11-4) on Sunday at Foley Field.
The win gave Georgia two out of three games in the series and its highest-ranked series victory since defeating No. 2 LSU in Athens in 2001. The Bulldogs trailed on three separate occasions during Sunday’s contest before breaking through in the eighth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Bo Tucker pitched 6+ innings of three-run ball and Drew Moody (1-3) received the win after pitching three innings of scoreless relief.
After the Gamecocks took a 1-0 lead in the first, Mitchell Webb came through with a two-out RBI double to plate LJ Talley. South Carolina again took a one-run advantage in the third inning, but Skyler Weber hit a solo shot over the right field fence in the fifth to knot the score at 2-all. The Gamecocks scored another run in the seventh, but Webb earned his second RBI of the game with a solo home run in the bottom half to set up the late-game heroics from Nichols and Wrenn.
South Carolina’s Josh Reagan (1-1) was credited with the loss after allowing the two eighth-inning home runs.
– Bo Tucker’s 6+ innings pitched set a new career high. Today’s outing was his second career start after starting against Texas A&M last Sunday.
– Georgia hit four solo home runs, a season high. The HRs were Weber’s second, Webb’s second, Nichols’ sixth and Wrenn’s third of the season. Webb’s double was also his sixth of the season.
– Georgia’s last 20 home runs have all been solo home runs.
– The series victory was UGA’s highest-ranked series win since 2001 when UGA took two out of three games against No. 2 LSU Athens.
– Webb’s two-RBI day was his third multi-RBI game of the season.
– Nick King and Skyler Weber each stole a base, King’s sixth and Weber’s ninth of the season.
Head Coach Scott Stricklin
On the emotions in the dugout…
“It was pretty exciting, he was down two strikes, and you know, Mitchell… The big one was Mitchell, just to tie it up. The things, we were hitting balls hard, and they were making plays, [Alex] Destino and [TJ] Hopkins were making plays and it was like gosh we got to find ways to score runs, so when Mitchell hit that home run to tie it, really got the guys going. But as soon as Daniel hit it, the way that the wind was blowing, it was blowing out to the foul pole in right, and I was saying ‘He got it, he got it,’ and you know, Cone scared me a little bit, setting up right under the wall. But he got it and the dugout exploded, and D-Nich may have broken some hands in there, because he gave some pretty hard high-fives that’s for sure.”
On the turnaround from last weekend’s loss…
“Yeah, I can’t tell you how bad we felt when we got off the plane on Sunday, we just didn’t play well. We got beat by a really good team, but gosh we didn’t show up very well either. So our guys were really disappointed, we were all disappointed with that, but to bounce back and beat Tech on the road, to beat these guys 2-3, and to have a chance to win, even on Friday night, is just really exciting for our kids. They work so hard and things haven’t always gone the way we wanted them to this year. But we knew that this part of the schedule was going to be a bear when you looked at it. What we did last weekend at Texas A&M almost put us in a situation where we had to win this series. If we want to do something this year and do something with the postseason, we had to win this series. And guys stepped up. They came in; everybody did a great job, and just found a way to win.”
Jr. CF Stephen Wrenn
On Nichols homerun…
“Oh that was awesome. Daniel is one of those guys that brings so much energy to the park anyway, and then when he hit that, and erupted out of the box, that was big momentum.”
On hitting approach…
“For the most part. We got under too many balls at the start, but at the end of the day we did what we needed to do. Four solo shots, when you hear four home runs, you think more than five runs, so we need to get more guys on base, but still, guys hit well when they needed to.”
On starting to put guys on base…
“We need to stay within our approach. Not getting too big. Knowing what we want to swing at and putting good swings on them.”
Sr. DH Daniel Nichols
On his homerun…
“Well actually, coach walked up to me and said if Curry gets on base, we’re sac bunting you. I said absolutely, I’m 0-3 today. I had some decent at-bats early on, but swung at some pitches I should have hit. Curry got out, and I worked the two-strike count. Saw an off-speed pitch up, and I drove it.”
On emotions when the ball cleared the fence…
“I was really fired up, as you could see, I was getting pretty excited just because of how good our team played today. Bo Tucker kept us in the game, he competed his butt off. Some guys had some really good at-bats. I think Mitchell Webb did a really good job. This is the definition of a team win today, and that’s what you like to see going in against Florida.”
On beating South Carolina…
“It just feels great because the last three years we’ve played South Carolina, they’ve been ranked every single time, and they’ve taken the series from us every single time. So a win on Sunday, great crowd, great atmosphere, it was a great win today.”
The Bulldogs travel to Clemson on Tuesday and continue on the road to face Florida from Thursday-Saturday.
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