ATHENS — Georgia baseball looks to grow up fast on the road at Texas A&M this weekend, and they’ll have to do it without their head coach.
The No. 12-ranked Bulldogs (15-5, 1-2 SEC) travel to College Station to play the Aggies (15-8, 0-3) in a three-game series beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday.
UGA baseball coach Scott Stricklin did not travel with the team on Thursday on account of being quarantined after a positive Covid-19 test, and Georgia announced on Friday he won’t make the trip at all.
There’s plenty of coaching and development ahead for these Bulldogs.
Fourteen Georgia players —nine pitchers—made their debut against SEC competition last weekend against Tennessee.
UGA freshman Luke Wagner will get the start in the opening game of the series. Wagner looks to build on a dominant performance in his most recent outing. Wagner didn’t allow a hit in the 1.1 innings he pitched against Kennesaw State last Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 1.17.
“I think the biggest thing for these young guys is realizing that their stuff is good enough to get guys out in this league,” UGA associate head coach Scott Daeley said.
“I think the more they see it, especially getting a chance to see those next two games and realize ‘Hey, maybe these guys aren’t as great as I gave them credit for, and maybe my stuff plays’ really helps a young guy like [Wagner].”
The Bulldogs committed six errors and allowed 20 walks in dropping two of three games against Tennessee last weekend in both teams’ opening SEC series.
Georgia will look to cut down on the number of free baserunners against an opportunistic Texas A&M team that has drawn 5.7 walks a game.
“As long as we go out there and be ourselves and make routine plays and pitches, we’ll be in good shape,” Daeley said.
“If we don’t make a good pitch or miss our spot, they’re probably going to do some damage. Their pitchers are obviously very talented, and it’s going to be tough going. If we play our game, I think we’ll be neck and neck with them all weekend.”
Georgia freshman Corey Collins (4 home runs, 16 RBI), sidelined by a hamstring the past three games, is expected to return to action this weekend.
Collins could provide added punch to a Bulldogs’ team that has relied on late-innings heroics. Six of the Bulldogs’ 15 wins have come on walk-offs, each courtesy of a different player.
Georgia Baseball TV, Stream, Radio
Friday: 7:02 EST, TV: SECN, Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network, WFRC 960 AM (Athens), WFOM 1230 AM (Atlanta).
Saturday: 3:02 EST, TV: SECN+, Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network, WFRC 960 AM (Athens), WFOM 1230 AM (Atlanta).
Sunday: 2:02 EST, TV: SECN+, Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network, WFRC 960 AM (Athens), WFOM 1230 AM (Atlanta).