Georgia opened its regional knowing that three factors it’d have to confront in order to advance to the Super Regionals would be in the form of Troy, Duke and Campbell.
But on top of those three teams, another has reared its head - Mother Nature.
After Georgia’s first game in the regional on Friday was postponed to Saturday at Noon, Saturday’s second game of the regional for the Bulldogs, matching the two first-game winners in a matchup against Troy, was moved to a Sunday at Noon start time after the day’s loser’s bracket contest between Duke and Campbell was delayed and slowed by weather and Duke rallying to win 16-8 after scoring 11 runs in the ninth inning.
As a result of the late ending, Georgia and Troy’s matchup was pushed to Sunday. The loser of that game plays Duke at 6 p.m. on Sunday with the regional final, plus the if necessary game being scheduled for Monday.
Athens Regional Schedule
Game 4: Georgia vs. Troy at noon
Game 5: Georgia/Troy loser vs. Duke at 6 p.m.
Game 6: 1 p.m.
Game 7: (If necessary) 5 p.m.
Georgia started the regional by staying in the winner’s bracket by exploding offensively, pounding out 15 hits and a season-high four homers to come alive in an 18-5 win after trailing 2-0 early.
Sure, Georgia may have started slow. But patience paid off as the Bulldogs wore down Campbell’s pitching. Cam Shepherd’s two-run blast tied things up before a massive seven-run fourth inning blew things open. The big rip? Tucker Bradley’s line drive grand slam that made it over the fence. The result was a 9-3 lead for the Bulldogs, whose nine additional runs included round trippers by Adam Sasser and Keegan McGovern.
Tony Locey got the win, coming on in relief of starter Chase Adkins. The Georgia started gave up five hits and three runs through three innings before giving way to Locey (4 IP, 2R 3H) and Blake Cairnes, who pitched a pair of scoreless innings to close the win out.
The fact that Adkins threw just three innings, combined with the first game of the regional finals not starting until Monday, could pay off for Georgia in terms of having reliable arms to look to in the regional, either as starters or in spot relief duty.
As was well shown in the case of Campbell in both of its losses, a worn down pitching staff can be the undoing of a team’s hopes to win.