It may have been adventerous in the late innings, but Georgia still withstood late-inning charges enough against Alabama to claim a a series win on the road to open SEC play. The Bulldogs lost a 13-inning marathon 10-9 on Friday before winning on Saturday and Sunday by scores of 6-5 to start conference play on a high note.
Each game had a common thread for the Diamond Dawgs (14-6, 2-1). Georgia led early before the Crimson Tide came back as the game was put into the hands of the Bulldogs bullpen. Of the 20 runs given up during the weekend by Georgia 13 of those came in the seventh inning or later.
Georgia led 6-1 on Friday before Bama pushed across three runs in the fifth and five in the seventh. Georgia battled back with a run of its own to tie the score at 9-9 and force extra inning before the Crimson Tide prevailed in 13. The loss spoiled a strong relief outing by Aaron Schunk, who hurled three scoreless innings.
Georgia followed a similar pattern on Saturday, Riding the pitching of Emerson Hancock, Georgia led 6-0 before the Crimson Tide rallied for five runs in the eighth prior to Will Proctor coming on to pitch the final inning and a third for the save to even the series.
How strong was the Saturday start? Georgia led 4-0 after one inning thanks to a two-run double by Keegan McGovern and RBIs from LJ Talley and Adam Sasser as well.
Saturday also got the Bulldogs on SportsCenter as Tucker Bradley’s circus catch in the outfield earned him a spot of the Top Ten for the second time this year.
Never would’ve imagined making @SportsCenter Top 10 once, much less twice...no words to describe the feeling #blessed pic.twitter.com/27S6ELUDqg— Tucker Bradley (@TBradley_28) March 18, 2018
Timely hitting and the pitching of Ryan Webb had Georgia off the a good start on Sunday before the Crimson Tide got to Webb in the fifth with three runs to trim the Georgia lead to 4-3. Put on the spot, Georgia’s bullpen stood strong enough for the win. Both Tony Locey and Zac Kristofac pitched out of bases-loaded jams for the win - Locey’s spot was taken on as he replaced Webb in the fifth.
In an inning and two thirds, Locey gave up no runs and no hits before giving way to Kristofak, who kept the Crimson Tide scoreless until the ninth when they pulled within a run. Fortunately for Georgia, Adam Meadows had homered to give Georgia what ended hit being two critical insurance runs.
Georgia plays at Georgia State on Tuesday before hosting South Carolina next weekend. The Gamecocks lost 2-of-3 during the weekend to No. 2 Florida.