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Roughed Up In Starkville

Diamond Dawgs suffer first series sweep of season

Kristin Bradshaw/ UGA Sports Communications

Georgia’s baseball team picked a bad time to have its worst weekend of the season.

Already facing a tough task playing in one of the country’s toughest road environments at Mississippi State, further injuries and other factors compounded matters for the Diamond Dawgs as they were swept in a weekend series for the first time all year long, losing 19-3 on Friday, 9-3 on Saturday and falling 6-5 on Sunday after a four-run rally in the ninth nearly completed a comeback.

At 33-12 and 13-8 in SEC play, Georgia now falls out of first place in the SEC East, two games behind Vanderbilt. Among overall SEC teams, Georgia is now tied for the third-best record with MSU, LSU and Ole Miss.

Georgia’s final three SEC weekend opponents are Florida, Auburn and Alabama, all of which have a losing conference record.

If there’s any solace whatsoever from the weekend, Sunday’s final inning is it for Georgia as it rather than folding and thinking ahead to a long ride home showed some grit

Otherwise, it was a forgetful weekend as Georgia, whose pitching has been its strength so far this year, saw that area regress over the weekend.

Injuries did not help. In fact, Georgia’s weekend probably took a downturn before it began when on Thursday it was announced that staff ace Emerson Hancock would not pitch in Starkville due to arm soreness. Toss in Aaron Schunk missing the final two games of the weekend with a sore achilles and Saturday starter Tony Locey playing through a cut on a finger on his pitching hand, and a key part of the weekend for Georgia was not being able to withstand injuries from two of it top pitchers as well as its starting third baseman and closer.

CJ Smith having uncharacteristic control issues on Friday as the starter did not help. He walked eight hitters in less than five innings on Friday after walking 12 all season going into Friday.

Tony Locey gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings on Saturday, taking his first loss of the year. Locey, however, held State to one run after the first two innings.

Down 6-1 in the ninth on Sunday, a leadoff homer by Austin Biggar and three-run blast by LJ Talley made it a 6-5 deficit for Georgia, which got no closer. Tim Elliott, who pitched 2.2 innings, giving up a run on two hits got the loss with Cole Wilcox giving up three runs in 3.2 innings while Zac Kristofak and Ryan Webb keep the game within range for Georgia via relief roles.

Georgia’s road swing continues on Tuesday against The Citadel in North Augusta, SC before coming home this weekend against Florida.

Go Dawgs!