ATHENS – Emerson Hancock took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Riley King had three hits and a home run in his college debut as the Georgia Bulldogs won their season opener 5-1 over the Dayton Flyers on Friday.
Hancock, a sophomore right-hander, was tabbed to be the Bulldogs’ Friday night starter this season and he lived up to that distinction in the opener. Other than allowing a walk, Hancock kept the Flyers off the bases until Dayton’s Alex Brickman managed a base hit with one out in the seventh. Then Hancock gave up a two-out hit and that’s when coach Scott Stricklin pulled him. The Foley Field crowd of 2,056 gave him a standing ovation.
“There wasn’t going to be a no-hitter on opening day,” Stricklin said with a laugh. “He was on a pitch count and the seventh was going to be his last inning. But Emerson did a great job and that’s what we expected from him.”
Hancock said he never threw a no-hitter in high school and wasn’t necessarily thinking about one Friday until it he got into the late innings.
“You know it but you don’t want to change anything you’re doing,” the sophomore Cairo said. “You’ve still got to throw strikes and trust the defense behind you.”
Georgia’s defense, coming off a record .979 fielding season, was error-free again. Meanwhile, Aaron Schunk, Patrick Sullivan and King all had multi-hit games, led by King’s three. Both King and Sullivan are first-year starters in right field and at first base, respectively. King redshirted last season after an elbow injury sidelined him after eight games.
“I was glad to see that for Riley because I’ve been talking him up,” Stricklin said.
The Bulldogs and Flyers will play a doubleheader Saturday, with the first game scheduled to start at noon.