ATHENS — Coach Scott Stricklin returned to the dugout for his Georgia baseball team after a COVID quarantine, and the Bulldogs rewarded him with a 5-3 victory over No. 8-ranked South Carolina on Friday.
“That’s a really good team that we just beat,” Stricklin said. “A team that just swept Florida and I think is a legit Top 10 team.”
Georgia Senior Riley King delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBIs on a squib hit that got through the right side of the infield, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it 4-3.
The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs (18-7, 3-4 SEC) added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning to snap what had been a six-game win streak for the Gamecocks (17-7, 4-3).
Stricklin returned to practice on Thursday after missing the Tuesday win over Clemson and last weekend’s series at Texas A&M.
Stricklin made sure his Georgia players knew what it was going to take to beat a club like South Carolina.
“Toughness — that was the theme of practice,” Stricklin said. “My first day back, I didn’t just want to be a hood ornament at practice.
“I addressed the team before practice started, (and) I jolted them a little bit. I don’t think they expected it, and I got after them a little bit.”
And then the Bulldogs got after South Carolina.
“Disappointed we came up short,” USC coach Mark Kingston told the Columbia State “Both teams pitched well. We just weren’t quite as sharp out of the bullpen or on defense late in the game, and that was the difference.”
The teams resume their three-game series at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Foley Field.