Georgia baseball bats impress against Wofford, appear primed for Friday’s SEC opener
ATHENS – Georgia baseball’s powerful hitters flexed their muscles against nonconference competition one last time before their SEC opener.
The Bulldogs (13-4) whacked the Terriers (14-2) pitching staff in a 10-8 win on a chilly Tuesday night at Foley Field.
It was a significant win for Georgia, as Wofford entered Athens with a nation-leading 14-game winning streak. The Terriers were the preseason favorite to win the Southern Conference and have the No. 2 RPI in the country.
Freshman first baseman Charlie Condon continued his red-hot start to the year, hitting 3 for 4 with a home run, a double and two RBI. Condon earned Co-SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Monday after winning Co-SEC Player of the Week last week.
The Marietta product is batting .531 through 17 games with eight homers and 34 RBI.
Reigning SEC Co-Player of the Week Connor Tate has been incredible batting in front of Condon in the lineup. Tate, who is batting .507 on the season, was 2-for-5 hitting with two RBI and a home run of his own in the win.
Tate also earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball after bashing four home runs last week.
“I’ve never seen it to this level, and it’s not that easy,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said about Tate and Condon’s production. “Guys hit baseballs hard and they get caught. They’re hitting them so hard ... they’re hitting them over the fence, they’re hitting them in the gaps, everything seems to be barreled up.”
To be clear, Tate and Condon aren’t the only Bulldogs mashing baseballs. Georgia entered Tuesday with the fourth-best team slugging percentage in the SEC (.616).
Nine-hole hitter Mason LaPlante hit the program’s first inside-the-park home run since 2019. Georgia had seven extra-base hits in the win.
The Bulldogs also got strong performances from several relief pitchers that calmed down a rare rocky start from freshman Kolten Smith.
The Terriers scored four runs in the first two innings before Will Pearson, Matthew Hoskins and Chandler Marsh held Wofford scoreless to the ninth inning.
Pearson diffused a bad situation for the Bulldogs in the third inning. The Watkinsville product inherited runners on the corners with no outs and allowed just one run.
Hoskins and Marsh both continued their dominant starts to the season, combining for six strikeouts and one hit in 4.1 innings.
“It’s very encouraging to see,” Stricklin said. “Those are two power arms coming out of the bullpen.”
UGA will open SEC action against No. 16 South Carolina. The Gamecocks (17-1) will take an eight-game winning streak into Foley Field, where Game One will be played at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Georgia’s first month of conference play will certainly be its easiest and perhaps its most important. The Bulldogs will play two unranked teams, Auburn and Kentucky, in the first four weeks.
UGA’s ability to beat the four non-top 10 teams it faces could be key in proving itself worthy of an NCAA Tournament berth.
Georgia also hosts No. 16 South Carolina and visits No. 6 Vanderbilt in the first month. Compared to the schedule’s last six weeks, though, the Bulldogs are taking a walk in the park.
UGA will face five top 10 teams, including top-ranked LSU, in the regular season’s final six weekends.
The odds are stacked against a strong conference record for Georgia. The SEC’s Preseason Coaches Poll projected the Bulldogs to finish fifth in the SEC East ahead of just Missouri and Kentucky.
Of course, Stricklin’s team will also have ample opportunities to boost its postseason resume with eye-popping upsets.
The win over Wofford added to an already impressive nonconference resume for UGA. The Bulldogs collected series wins against Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern in the last couple weeks.
The Yellow Jackets (13-3) were a No. 2 seed in Tennessee’s Regional last year while the Eagles (7-9) hosted a Regional.
Georgia is now 7-2 against top 100 RPI teams.
“When you have wins over those teams, hopefully, that puts you over the top of them,” Stricklin said, recognizing Tech, Southern and Wofford by name.
“Certainly, every win helps, but to beat teams in your region that are regional caliber teams really, really helps when it comes to the end of the year.”
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