Georgia shelled at No. 1 Tennessee, Vols clinch SEC regular season

Georgia coach Scott Stricklin, shown here after a win over Florida earlier this season, looks to get Georgia regrouped after a 9-2 loss to Tennessee on Friday night. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It’s hard to keep a good team down, much less a historically dominant one.

Georgia ace Jonathan Cannon was firing on all cylinders through three innings on Friday night with the Bulldogs out to a 1-0 lead.

“We had too many missed opportunities with guys in scoring position,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “You’ve got to win some of those battles, we’re just not winning enough of them.”

UGA opened the top of the third with runners on first and third base with no outs but was unable to push a run across while leading 1-0.

In the top of the fifth inning, down 3-1, the Bulldogs managed just one run after loading the bases.

Georgia can redeem itself by winning the series finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday to avoid being swept in Knoxville for what would be the first time since 2007.

Georgia got off to a fast start Friday when Cole Tate, coming off a 3-for-3 performance in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss, hit a solo home run in the top of the first off UT starter Blade Tidwell (2-1).

RELATED: Cole Tate brought punch back to Georgia lineup, 100 percent

Cannon marched dejectedly to the dugout having surrendered 10 hits and 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out five batters while walking two.

Pitching has been a struggle for the Bulldogs throughout the season, their team ERA of 5.48 is 11th in the SEC and in stark contrast to Tennessee’s nation-leading 2.26 ERA.

Georgia has one final weekend series to get their rotation settled and confidence back, playing host to Missouri next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Foley Field in Athens.

First things first, Stricklin wants to see his veteran team come through and steal one before leaving Rocky Top.

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