Since the rest of the Red and Black’s softball series was rained out, the only sporting event in which the Bulldogs competed on Easter Sunday was their series-settling baseball game against Tennessee. Fortunately, Georgia took the three-game SEC set with a win over the Volunteers.
The Athenians built up an early lead in the visitors’ half of the first inning. Second baseman Levi Hyams led off with a double down the left field line, and shortstop Kyle Farmer drove a two-run homer to left field. Left fielder Zach Cone followed that up with a base hit, stole second, and came home on a single by first baseman Jonathan Hester.
The Big Orange cut into the Georgia lead in the bottom of the second frame, when the home team loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. A subsequent single, coupled with a throwing error by right fielder Peter Verdin, brought home two runs, and the Vols tied the contest in the third canto on a leadoff single and a run-scoring double.
The ensuing pitching switch from starter Craig Gullickson to reliever Chase Hawkins prevented further scoring, so the score was still snarled heading into the fifth stanza. The Diamond Dogs broke the deadlock in the top of the inning, in which Hyams and center fielder Conor Welton drew back-to-back two-out four-pitch walks and Farmer brought both baserunners home with a double.
Although that marked the last of the scoring, the contestants did not stop trying, as Tennessee put five men aboard in the final four frames. Hawkins was credited with the win, but the entire bullpen rendered solid service, delivering seven innings of scoreless relief in which the Georgia staff struck out five and walked none. Closer Blake Dieterich earned the save, while Kyle Farmer led the way at the plate, batting in four of the Bulldogs’ five runs to get the Athenians over .500 overall and run their record to 11-7 in conference action.