.-----Georgia junior Tony Locey and sophomore Emerson Hancock will start the first two games of the Auburn series here for the eighth-ranked Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs (37-13, 16-8 SEC), under the direction of Ike Cousins head coach Scott Stricklin, battle Auburn (29-18, 12-12 SEC) starting Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The series continues Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The conference series will be available on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Locey (8-1, 2.63 ERA) made his first career SEC Friday night start in last week’s Florida series, and he led the Bulldogs to a 6-4 win. Hancock (7-2, 1.04), who is the SEC ERA leader and ranked second nationally in that category, has missed his last two starts to rest a lat muscle.
Georgia has not announced a starter for game three of the Auburn series. Sophomore left-hander C.J. Smith (3-3, 4.30 ERA) will be out again this week due to a sore back. With Hancock and Smith out for the Florida series, the Bulldogs turned to junior right-hander Tim Elliott (6-3, 2.56 ERA) and freshman right-hander Cole Wilcox (2-0, 4.17 ERA). They were dominating in helping Georgia complete a sweep of the Gators, winning 9-1 and 4-1.
Also of note, Bulldog junior third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk returned to action Wedneday against Jacksonville State after missing the past six games with a sore heel. He was Georgia’s leading hitter at the time of his injury. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and delivered a two-run double to help spark a five-run rally. He played six innings at third base and started the 11th inning on the mound with the scored tied at 8-all. The Gamecocks would go on to win 9-8. He ranks in the top 10 nationally with 11 saves along with a 1-2 record and a 2.53 ERA. Schunk is batting .337 with seven home runs and 33 RBI.
Georgia has posted its best record after 50 games since the 1990 national championship team was 40-10 at this point in the season. The 1990 Bulldogs claimed the SEC’s first baseball national title and finished with a record of 52-19. This season, Georgia is in the hunt for its first SEC title since 2008. The Bulldogs trail Vanderbilt by two games with six conference games left to play. Earlier this season, Georgia won the Vanderbilt series 2-1 in Athens.
The Tigers have won the past three series against Georgia coming in 2013 (2-1 in Auburn), 2015 (3-0 in Auburn) and 2017 (2-1 in Athens). Georgia’s last series win over Auburn came in 2012 in Athens (3-0), and the last time it won as the road team was 2006, a three-game sweep. Auburn leads the all-time series 148-132-3 in record dating back to 1897.
Stellar defense has been one constant for Georgia as the Bulldogs are on pace to set a Fielding Percentage school record for the second year in a row. Currently, Georgia is fielding .980 overall and a league-best .986 in SEC action. Last year, the Bulldogs established the fielding mark at .979 overall. In the series sweep of No. 21 Missouri this year, the Bulldogs turned their first Triple Play since 1963!