Georgia baseball gets crucial win, evens series with Vanderbilt with Game Three looming

Georgia during a game against Vanderbilt at Foley Field in Athens, Ga., on Friday, May 6, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia baseball exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning to even a crucial SEC East series against Vanderbilt, 13-7.

UGA coach Scott Stricklin mentioned the need to throw the big punch in games after the Commodores beat Georgia on Friday night.

The No. 22-ranked Bulldogs (32-15, 13-10 SEC), who closely trailed but never took the lead on Friday, delivered several booming haymakers to KO the Commodores (30-15, 11-12) in Game Two on Saturday at Foley Field.

“This was a huge game,” Stricklin said on 960 the Ref. “It kind of had that must-win feel to it even though we’ve still got seven games left to play in the conference.”

The two teams will battle for the series win in Game Three at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Athens (TV: SEC Network+). A series win against a powerhouse like Vanderbilt would go a long way for Georgia in its postseason aspirations.

The win ensured that Georgia will keep the No. 2 spot in the SEC East through the weekend over Vanderbilt, which holds the No. 3 spot. Both teams are fighting for top four finishes in the conference with the SEC tournament just two weekends away.

UGA will face No. 1-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville next week before hosting Missouri in the final series of the regular season.

The Bulldogs are looking to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019. They missed last year’s tournament, while COVID-19 led to the cancellation of most of the 2020 season.

“He was pretty close to that pitch count after the sixth and he came off that mound and said, ‘I’m going back out,’” Stricklin said on 960 the Ref. “He went back out there and gave us a zero, and that gave us the momentum.”

Chandler Marsh relieved Cannon and took UGA all the way to the final out. The freshman then surrendered three earned runs thanks to a pair of homers, so Max DeJong entered and finished Vanderbilt off.

Liam Sullivan will start on the mound on Sunday. The left-hander will be challenged by a lineup full of right-handed talent but is coming off a strong performance against LSU last Sunday. Sullivan allowed six hits and two walks for two earned runs with six strikeouts.

Georgia will also have a fully rested Jack Gowen at its disposal for Game Three. Stricklin had the senior closer warming up when UGA first took the lead in the seventh but opted to pitch Marsh instead after Georgia took the massive lead it did.

Left-handed relievers Will Pearson, Jaden Woods and Davis Rokose, who have all been strong lately, will also be ready to pitch after Sullivan.

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