– A trio of Tennessee pitchers combined on a nine-hit shutout to beat second-ranked Georgia 2-0 Thursday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
It spoiled an otherwise fine outing by Bulldog sophomore right-hander Emerson Hancock who went the distance to fall to 6-2. He allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts on 90 pitches.
Max Ferguson delivered a two-out, two-run infield single in the sixth that proved to be the difference.
Meanwhile, Georgia could not come up with the big hit, finishing 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Left-hander Garrett Crochet pitched out of several jams for the Volunteers as the Bulldogs were able to drive his pitch count up to 101 through five innings. He scattered seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Andrew Schultz picked up the win to move his record to 1-0 after pitching two innings while Redmond Walsh notched his fifth save by taking care of the final two frames.
Hancock had faced the minimum through five innings before the Vols struck in the sixth. After putting runners at first and second on a couple of hits, Landon Gray moved both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Jay Charleston followed with a fielder’s choice as the Bulldog had the infield in and got the second out at home. Then, Ferguson hit one between senior LJ Talley at second and junior first baseman Patrick Sullivan. Hancock ran over to cover as Sullivan gloved it, but Ferguson made it to first as two Volunteers raced home for the only runs of the night.
Georgia put two on with one out in the seventh. Riley King lined one to left field that Alerick Soularie made a diving catch for the second out. Then, Aaron Schunk (3-for-4) smashed one to right that Justin Ammons caught up against the wall that summed up a tough night for the Bulldogs.
In his last three outings, Hancock has allowed a total of four runs and is 0-2 with a no decision. The Bulldogs are now 28-7 overall and 9-4 in the SEC while the Volunteers improve to 25-10, 5-8 in the SEC.
- Junior 3B Aaron Schunk extended his hitting streak to five games with a single in the 1st and finished 3-for-4 on the night. It was his 15th multi-hit game and fourth three-hit game this year.
_ Senior LJ Talley extended his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff single in the 8th.
- Georgia finished 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
- Tennessee’s first base runner came on a leadoff single in the fourth by Jay Charleston and then with one out, Emerson Hancock and the Bulldogs picked him off at second.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the game...
“It was a crazy way to lose on an infield single that scored two runs. We had great at bats early. We had a lot of chances, lot of traffic on the bases early, but you have to give them credit, they made some pitches and got some big strikeouts. I felt like we would get to (Garrett) Crochet eventually. We got guys in scoring position and then we kind of broke down. They found a way to win and bottom line, we have to bounce back and get ready Friday.”
On Emerson Hancock...
“He pitched really well again and gets another tough luck loss.”
Game two of the Tennessee series will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.