ATHENS — Georgia baseball took Vanderbilt deep into Friday night’s battle before the No. 1-ranked Commodores broke through, evening the series with a 5-2 victory.
Bulldogs senior Garrett Blaylock landed the final punch Friday, a solo home run in the top of the ninth, but it was too little too late for No. 23 Georgia (19-11, 4-7 SEC).
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The teams conclude the three-game set at 3 p.m. (SEC Network-Plus Stream) at Hawkins Field in Nashville
The game was knotted at 1-1 in the eighth inning with UGA reliever Darryn Pasqua seemingly in control having retired the first two batters of the inning at Vanderbilt (25-4, 9-2).
But then Vandy’s Dominic Keegan singled through the left side of the infield, and Jack Bulger followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on first and third.
Georgia took time for a trip to the mound, but it wasn’t enough to settle Pasqua, who grooved a 2-0 pitch that C.J. Rodriquez laced into the corner for a go-ahead RBI double that made it 2-1.
The Bulldogs made a move to the bullpen, but reliever Jack Gowen was greeted by a three-run home run off the bat of Parker Noland that made it 5-1.
“They got a couple more two-out hits than we did,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said on his postgame show on 960 The Ref.
“They were able to string a few hits together and go up. It’s unfortunate, our kids battled.”
Georgia opened the scoring in the game in the top of the fourth inning when Riley King singled to center field to score Cole Tate from second.
Tate had apparently struck out swinging to open the inning, but the pitch got loose enable him to scamper down to first base safely. Corey Collins followed with a walk to put runners on first and second and set the table for King’s big hit.
Vanderbilt answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Bulger drove a high fastball over the left-field wall off UGA starter Ryan Webb.
Webb went six innings, fanning 13 while walking one and scattering four hits.
Commodores’ starter Jack Leiter also left with no decision, pitching seven innings and allowing three hits with 13 strikeouts.
Georgia opened the series with a resounding 14-2 win over Vanderbilt on Thursday night at Hawkins Field.
RELATED: Georgia blasts 7 home runs, destroys Commodores 14-2
The Bulldogs hit seven home runs in the game, including four in the ninth inning off a Commodores’ pitching staff that entered the night leading the nation in Team ERA.
Blaylock, who began his career at Vanderbilt, hit two home runs in the series opener.
“We battled like crazy,” Stricklin said. “We’re going into the final game one-and-one with a chance to win the series.”