A two-out, solo home run by Christian Avant in the top of the ninth provided Georgia Southern a 2-1 win over No. 23 Georgia Tuesday at Foley Field.
It was Avant’s fourth home run of the year as the Eagles improved to 14-13 while Georgia dropped to 18-10. In another staff night on the mound, the Bulldogs employed six pitchers and surrendered just four hits but two were home runs. Georgia freshman Hank Bearden made his first career start and tossed three perfect innings with three strikeouts, needing just 33 pitches.
In the fourth, Avant smacked a two-out triple. Georgia looked to Jack Gowen to face Noah Ledford after Collin Caldwell had started the frame. After falling behind in the count 2-0, Georgia elected to walk Ledford and then Jason Swann got ahead in the count 3-0 before popping out to end the threat. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the fifth. Chaney Rogers drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ben Anderson reached on a walk and then Cole Tate made it 1-0 with an RBI-single. The Eagles answered in the sixth with a two-out, solo home run by Mason McWhorter, his team-leading eighth, to tie the contest. Overall, Georgia left seven men on base.
Eagle reliever Braden Hays tossed 3.1 scoreless innings for the win to even his record to 1-1. Nick Jones took care of the ninth for his seventh save. Georgia’s Darryn Pasqua (1-1) took the loss, going two innings and allowing just the home run with two strikeouts.
The Bulldogs head to Nashville to face top-ranked Vanderbilt (23-3, 8-1 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference series that begins Thursday. First pitch is slated for 7:02 p.m. ET on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Georgia’s Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On what stood out to him about today’s game
“On pitching and defense, both sides, they [Georgia Southern] made a ton of plays, and that’s one of the things that’s bit them a little bit defensively, they’ve made some errors, but tonight they didn’t make any. They made every single play, and it’s just one of those nights. They pitched really well, they played great defense, they were able to get two balls up in the jet stream, they carried out unfortunately but it was well pitched and well defended game. We just couldn’t get the big hit. We had a couple of chances and we just couldn’t get the hit to drive the runs in.”
Hank Bearden, RHP, Fr.
On getting his first career start…
“The majority of the time I pitched in high school, I was a starter so it did feel good to be back out there. I had been struggling with my change-up in my other outings. It felt good today. I think that was a big key to my performance today.”
Cole Tate, SS, Sr.
On the game…
“From a hitter’s standpoint, I think we hit a lot of hard balls to people. We didn’t really get the hit or ones that found a hole. That’s just baseball.”
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