The longer Georgia’s strong start to the SEC slate continues, the more chances the Diamond Dawgs will get to stand up to the heat of the spotlight.
A big reason Georgia continues to thrive in the moment? Pitching.
The confidence of a combined six series wins in a row going back to last year has helped the Bulldogs to a tie for first place in the overall SEC standings after the weekend’s series win against No. 15 Texas A&M. A Friday 3-0 win clinched the series before the Aggies avoided the sweep with a 5-0 victory on Saturday.
Sure, the series sweep would have been nice. But series wins are tough to come by in the SEC, especially against teams like A&M. In three-game set in which the Aggies brought one of the nation’s top pitching staffs to town, Georgia showed that its stable of hurlers was pretty good, too.
A two-hit shutout on Friday clinched the series...and that was even with starting pitcher Emerson Hancock leaving the game with an injury. His replacement, Tony Locey, the second most notable current Bulldog from Houston County High not named Jake Fromm, gave up just one hit in three and two thirds of an inning before Zac Kristofak and Aaron Schunk pitched score innings in the eighth and ninth for seal the win.
Locey has been about as solid of an option as can be asked for coming out of the bullpen, having now allowed a run in SEC play. Overall, he is 5-0 this year with a 3.20 ERA. Depending on how long Hancock is injured, Georgia may need more of the same from Locey, and he has shown that he is up for the challenge.
In fact, Georgia’s bullpen gave up a combined two runs all series long against the Aggies. It’s part of an overall bigger picture of the Bulldogs pitchers ascending towards the top of the heap among SEC teams.
The Bulldogs are holding SEC teams to a .232 batting average, good for second in the conference with 85 combined strikeouts and 38 runs given up both being third in the league.
If the mantra of good pitching beating good hitting continues to hold true, Georgia should find itself in a good place moving ahead.
Speaking of moving ahead, the week coming up, as expected, is anything but easy for the Diamond Dawgs.
The Trade School comes to town on Tuesday before a series at No 8 Vanderbilt starts Thursday.