Georgia formally began the meeting of high expectations, some within its baseball program over the weekend with the start of the season. The Diamond Dawgs started things off overall on the right foot, getting a sweep of Richmond, coming from behind to win twice at the same time. After a 7-6 walk-off win on Friday, Georgia took a 9-3 victory on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.
With expectations to be in contention to play in Omaha and a No. 4 preseason ranking, Georgia is going to get each team’s best shot all year long. The weekend against the Spiders showed that with Georgia trailing 6-2 on Friday and 6-2 on Sunday before getting the victories.
The Diamond Dawgs play at Kennesaw State on Wednesday.
Tucker Bradley led the way for Georgia at the plate during the weekend, hitting .600 with a homer, three stolen bases and five runs driven in. He also had a save on Sunday, making his first pitching appearance since 2017. Bradley missed all of last year after an opening weekend shoulder injury. If he is healthy, Georgia has a chance to contend for even bigger things.
Friday’s win saw Georgia show a lot of early grit which is never a bad thing to see. Projected first-round draft pick Emerson Hancock didn’t have a game that he’d want to submit on a highlight reel. The Spiders ran his pitch count up early and touched him up for six runs through four innings. Thanks to the stellar pitching out of the bullpen by Ryan Webb, however, Georgia avoided an opening night loss. In only five innings, he fanned 11 and gave up three hits.
Georgia’s bullpen stepped up in similar fashion all weekend. Will Childers and Jonathan Cannon came on in relief when asked. Cannon pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday and Childers was unscathed through 2.2 innings on Sunday.
The resilience was hardly limited to the pitching staff.
On Friday, single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings set the state for the ninth inning, where Garrett Blaylock’s homer tied it before Cole Tate’s fourth hit of the night won it for Georgia.
On Sunday, after falling behind 3-0, Georgia scratched its way back, finally pulling ahead 5-4 in the eighth inning on a double by Ben Anderson.
On Saturday, no such rally was needed with Georgia pushing seven runs across through four innings, making it easy work for Cole Wilcox, who gave up a run on five hits through five innings.
Tucker Bradley homered in Saturday’s win with Ben Anderson having a triple, Cam Shepherd with a double with each of three also having three hits on Saturday.