So far, the Diamond Dawgs have done what many preseason top-ten do early in the course of a baseball season. Start strong and build up a strong wave in getting primed for conference play.
With a 7-1 mark after Wednesday’s dismantling of Kennesaw State, Georgia has performed as expected so far. The lone blemish? Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to LIU-Brooklyn, a game that at this point appears to be a fluke. In five of the Bulldogs seven wins, they have scored at least ten runs.
They’ll look for that trend to keep going this weekend in Georgia’s first road trip of the year with a three-game weekend series at Georgia Southern. Friday’s first pitch is at 6:30 pm with Saturday and Sunday set for 1 pm.
The same nucleus that keyed Georgia to a national seed last year has helped to the strong start, especially at the plate. Georgia has a total of four players currently batting over .400, three of which are returning starters from last year - LJ Talley (.444), third baseman/pitcher Aaron Schunk (.438) and shortstop Cam Shepherd (.414). Also stepping up big so far is a new face to the lineup, right fielder Riley King who is hitting .433. He joins Talley and Schunk for a very early team lead with two homers a piece.
On the mound, Emerson Hancock has accepted and thrived in the role of Friday starter and being tasked with starting the weekend strong. In a total of 13 innings pitched, he is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run. Will Proctor and Tony Locey have been strong from the starting spots as well, each being 2-0 with respective ERAs of 4.00 and 3.27. It’s a bigger role this year for Locey who shined in extended relief and midweek spots last year. So far Locey, much like another baseball teammate of his from Houston County who wears a No. 11 jersey on the football field, is taking the pressure in stride.
As for this weekend, it stands to be Georgia’s first test of the season given the intensity of an in-state opponent in what can also be a hostile road crowd, as well. It’ll be just what this team needs with SEC play starting soon, Mar. 15 at South Carolina.