ATHENS — The Georgia baseball bats stayed hot on Tuesday night at Foley Field.
The No. 20-ranked Bulldogs, coming off a series win over then-No. 1 Vanderbilt, powered past Georgia State by a 10-7 count.
Georgia (21-11) exploded for five runs in the first inning, relying on equal parts patience, aggressive base running, and base hits that found open grass against Georgia State (8-26).
“We’re playing with a little bit more swagger than what we’ve had,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “We’ve got to keep that.
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“In the first inning, I thought we just had a ton of really good at-bats, had a lot of two-strike hits and some two-out hits.”
Ben Anderson drew a lead-off walk and scored the first of five runs in the opening frame, the Bulldogs batting around on the Panthers. Chaney Rogers highlighted the early action with a three-run triple.
Georgia finished the night with 13 hits, evidence the bats are still red-hot after the Bulldogs scored 25 runs on a Vanderbilt pitching staff that entered last weekend leading the nation in Team ERA.
Cole Tate and Corey Collins had three hits apiece to pace a relentless UGA attack that saw batters go 5-for-12 hitting and score 8 runs with two outs.
“Bottom line is the offense is doing pretty well,” Stricklin said.
Georgia pitchers got off to a decent start, too.
Tuesday starter Luke Wagner pitched 2.2 innings of one-hit, one-run baseball before giving way to the bullpen. Hank Bearden was the first on in relief and tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, and he was credited with the win (3-0).
UGA freshman Max DeJong and redshirt freshman Brandon Smith appeared in their first career games. DeJong struck out two in an inning of work. Smith gave up a three-run home run in the ninth in his short relief stint.
Georgia’s offense had built enough of a lead, however, to sustain the Panthers’ 5-run ninth.
The Bulldogs’ confidence level remains at a season high.
“It’s night and day,” Collins said on the team’s attitude following the series at Vanderbilt.
“Everybody loves winning, and coming off that weekend, it was awesome. Just being confident, we went to Vanderbilt loose as can be, nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
In addition to winning the series 2-1 — UGA first series win over a No. 1-ranked team since 1993 (Mississippi State) — two players earned national honors.
Jonathan Cannon was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Pitcher of the Week. Connor Tate was one of five hitters named National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Georgia opens a three-game series against Kentucky (20-9, 6-6 SEC) on Friday. The first pitch from Foley Field is at 6:00 PM EST and will be televised on SEC Network-plus.
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