When you’re on the bubble heading toward the postseason, whether you’re trying to get extend your year of earn the right to host a regional, one of the critical things to do is take care of what you can control - win the games you are supposed to win.
If there was ever a trap series for Georgia’s baseball team, this past weekend was it.
Mizzou was in the way on a looming schedule that includes Tuesday’s neutral site game against Tech (if you call it that) and weekend series at top-ranked Florida as well as at home against a ranked Arkansas team.
The temptation would have been understandable to mail it in as a consequence of looking ahead.
After missing a chance at a recent sweep of Tennessee, the Diamond Dawgs didn’t let it happen this time. A 7-1 win on Saturday was marked by Kevin Smith’s first start since March 2, and he thrived in the moment of opportunity as he hurled 5.1 innings in allowing a run.
As he was the entire weekend, Adam Sasser came up big. His three-run homer was his fourth of the weekend against MIzzou, part of a 10-RBI effort in the three-game set. CJ Smith and Cam Shepherd also had a pair of hits in the win.
And Sasser’s hitting from the weekend, as well as most of the year, is getting noticed. He’s this week’s Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week as well as earning the same honor from the SEC. His .343 batting average leads the team, and his eight homers place him second among all Bulldogs.
To say that it’s huge for Kevin Smith to have a strong outing this late in the year is an understatement for Georgia. In the postseason, especially in regionals, pitching stamina can get drained in a hurry. If Georgia can develop a fourth starter of which Scott Stricklin can rely on, pitching depth is less of a concern, to say the least.
Late-game clutch hitting clinched the series on Friday. Michael Curry’s two-run blast in the eighth delivered a 5-3 win, carrying Georgia to the victory following seven strong innings from Emerson Hancock as he allowed two runs in seven innings.
An offensive explosion on Thursday got Georgia in position to win the series. That night’s 10-6 win was sparked by a trio of Adam Sasser homers with the big blow being a five-run fifth inning and a Sasser grand slam for a 8-4 Georgia lead.
A win on the road against Mizzou may not be the most style-point earning thing in the world given what lies ahead for Georgia. But it plays right into controlling what can be controlled, something that any team with eyes on a postseason push must do.