Georgia baseball loses series to Vanderbilt, sets eyes on top-ranked Tennessee

Georgia during a game against Vanderbilt at Foley Field Athens, Ga., on Sunday, May 8, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

ATHENS – Georgia baseball will shift its focus to playing the top-ranked team in the country after a disappointing 4-0 loss to Vanderbilt at Foley Field on Sunday.

“It’s just frustrating,” UGA outfielder Ben Anderson said. “Barreling a bunch of balls at them and not really getting anything going offensively because everything is hit at them… it’s just frustrating, but you’ve just got to try to get past it.”

The No. 22-ranked Bulldogs (32-16, 13-11 SEC) who had just six hits against the Commodores (31-15, 12-12), will head to Rocky Top to face No. 1-ranked Tennessee starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Georgia’s hopes to host an NCAA Regional will shrink after its second straight series loss. It also fell out of the top four in the SEC with the loss, so the team would not receive a first-round bye in the conference tournament if the season ended today.

However, there is no better way for UGA to thrust itself back into the thick of Regional-hosting contention than upsetting the No. 1 team on the road. The Volunteers will come home fresh off their first series loss of the season at the hands of Kentucky.

The Bulldogs were on of six SEC teams expected to host a Regional, according to d1baseball.com’s latest Field of 64 projections. The latest projections were made prior the weekend loss.

UGA’s No. 3 RPI – due to statement nonconference wins over Georgia Southern and Wofford combined with a winning record in the SEC – will boost its resume when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee makes its seeding decisions.

Georgia will not play a midweek game due to final exams week and will leave for Knoxville on Wednesday.

Sunday’s cooler temperature and lack of wind compared to Games One and Two appeared to continually hurt the Bulldog offense. On a warmer, windier May afternoon, any of UGA’s six flyouts to the warning track might have gotten the last 10-foot boost they needed to become bombs.

“I thought the first pitch that we swung at in the game was leaving the park … and I thought the last pitch that we swung at in the game had a chance,” Stricklin said. “If and almost and would’ve, could’ve, should’ve and all that stuff, I hate saying it.

“It is what it is, and we just didn’t play well enough to win.”

Only three of Georgia’s 10 baserunners reached scoring position.

UGA only had two innings with multiple runners on base. Its best opportunity to dent the Commodore lead came in the sixth inning when an error, a walk, and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out.

Chaney Rogers struck out on three straight swings and Fernando Gonzalez flew out to center field to stay scoreless.

Liam Sullivan had one blemish in the first inning in an otherwise impeccable performance. The left-hander surrendered three hits, a walk, and a home run for two earned runs in five innings.

Vanderbilt’s Dominic Keegan smashed a two-run homer in the first inning. Sullivan settled in right after and allowed one hit in the next four frames of work.

“He made one bad pitch,” Stricklin said. “It stinks, you make a mistake like that, and it always goes that way and [Keegan] hits a home run when we probably should be in the dugout.”

Georgia’s pitching staff also kept speedy leadoff man Enrique Bradfield Jr., who scored in seven of his eight times on base this weekend, quiet after the first inning. Bradfield was 1-for-4 hitting with a run, which came on Keegan’s homer in the first inning.

Corey Collins served as a small bright spot offensively. The sophomore, who hit 5 for his last 37, grabbed his first multi-hit game since April 16.

Collins was 2-for-4 hitting on the day with singles in the seventh and ninth innings.

UGA News

NextGeorgia baseball gets crucial win, evens series with Vanderbilt with …
Leave a Comment