When a team like Georgia has a postseason spot and likely national seed locked up, things like the SEC Tournament have a different meaning. Sure, winning it would be great, but the bigger goal is to play well and avoid limping into the NCAA Tournament after going two and BBQ in the double-elimination tournament.
Georgia so far in Hoover has not just played well, but claimed two wins using a familiar formula - good pitching, good defense and clutch hitting at the right time.
A day after opening play with Cam Shepherd’s walk-off homer to beat Texas A&M, the late-inning heroics continued on Thursday as seventh-ranked Georgia topped fifth-ranked Arkansas 3-1. The Bulldogs advance to the tournament semis for the first time since 2011.
With the win, Georgia gets Friday off and a straight shot to the tournament semifinals on Saturday at noon against either Ole Miss or Arkansas. One less game so far also means more rest of the pitching staff hardly a bad thing one week before the NCAA regionals start.
Down 1-0 in the seventh on Thursday, Connor Tate tied the game at 1-1 on a pinch-hit double, and Patrick Sullivan’s two-run double an inning later put Georgia out front. The go-ahead score got started on an Aaron Schunk double and intentional walk to Shepherd, setting the table for Sullivan.
Cole Wilcox was again masterful, giving up an unearned run in 6.1 innings. Ryan Webb came on to pitch 2.1 innings, getting the win as Schunk entered the game with two outs for the save.