ATHENS----The 12th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs swept a doubleheader from Evansville Saturday at Foley Field, winning 7-3 and 6-5.
The Bulldogs (2-1) bounced back after a season-opening loss Friday, cruising to a win in game one and them storming back for a walk-off for a Saturday sweep of the seven-inning contests.
In game one, Georgia grabbed a 4-0 lead in the second inning as Josh McAllister, Randon Jernigan, Buddy Floyd and Cole Tate drove in runs. The Bulldogs loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Corey Collins and Connor Tate (3-for-3, 2 RBI) and then Shane Marshall reached with a bunt single to load the bases. McAllister made it 5-0 in the third with another sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Tate made it 7-0 with a two-out, two-run single after the Aces made their third error of the contest to keep the inning alive. Evansville rallied for three runs in the seventh and left the bases loaded.
Georgia freshman Luke Wagner notched the win in his debut on the mound, providing four shutout innings with three strikeouts. Redshirt freshman Bryce Melear and freshman Collin Caldwell took care of the final three frames. Caldwell inherited a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and registered his first save. Evansville lefthander Nathan Croner got the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in four innings.
In game two, Evansville broke open a 2-1 contest in the fifth with a four-run outburst on five hits to take a 5-2 lead. Kenton Crews led off with a game-tying home run, and then with two outs, Craig Shepherd lined an RBI-single and Danny Borgstrom had a two-run single to cap the scoring. Georgia’s first two runs came from a sacrifice fly by Chaney Rogers (1-for-2, 4 RBI) and the Fernando Gonzalez (3-for-3, RBI) provided a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a run-scoring single, bringing home Connor Tate who had reached on a double. With two outs in the sixth, Rogers tied the game with a three-run blast to centerfield. It was his second career home run.
In the seventh, Ben Anderson led off with a double. Cole reached on an infield single and then the Aces opted to intentionally walk Collins. Graduate Riley King stepped up and smacked an RBI-single down the right field line for the 6-5 walk-off.
Freshman Will Pearson collected the win in his debut with a scoreless seventh. Freshman Jaden Woods started in his debut and went 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits. Jace Kressin got the loss to fall to 0-1.
The four-game series concludes Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 12:02 p.m. (SECN+).
Bulldog Postgame Comments
Freshman Luke Wagner
On what it was like competing on the mound for the first time as a Bulldog
“Compared to the fall when we scrimmage, we don’t play with the field lined or the pattern of the outfield, so there’s already a different feel coming into the ballpark. With fans coming into the stadium and you know people are watching you know it’s going to be exciting.”
Senior Chaney Rogers
On tying the game with his 3-run homerun on a 1-2 count…
“Coach said before I went up there that it was a fastball guy. I saw a lot of fastballs in the at bat. He threw me a changeup the pitch before, and he spiked it. I just kind of knew he was coming back with a fastball, and he finally threw one up, and I finally got a good swing on it and hit a home run.”
Ike Cousins Head Coach Scott Stricklin
On Chaney Rogers’ game-tying homerun…
“It was a clutch hit and with two strikes. Guy was throwing 92 to 93. Shadows have crept in, so when that batter’s eye has the sun on it and the shadows are on the field, it’s really tough to see. The advantage for us right now is this is when we play all our intraquads. We practice around this time so all our guys are used to seeing it but it still doesn’t make it any easier.”