Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019
ATHENS, Ga. – Under clear skies and mid-60 degree weather, the Georgia baseball team piled on runs in the Sunday doubleheader, winning 13-5 and 12-5 to complete the sweep of UMass Lowell at Foley Field.
An eight-run first inning in game one put the Bulldogs on cruise control to seal the series with a 13-5 victory in a seven-inning affair that started at 11 a.m.
The River Hawks struck first in game two with a solo blast in the first half inning, however one of Georgia’s six total home runs in the game followed in the bottom half and the Bulldogs did not trail after that.
Georgia (6-0) has swept each of its opening series, marking the best start for the Bulldogs since 2012. UMass Lowell fell to 0-7 on the season.
Four Bulldogs tallied four hits on the day to lead the Georgia bats. Junior shortstop Cam Shepherd (4-9) accumulated four RBI, three runs, a home run, a triple, a walk, and a stolen base. Sophomore right fielder Riley King (4-7) continued his hot bat, totaling a team-high five RBI, three runs, two doubles and a home run. Junior third baseman Aaron Schunk (4-7, 3 RBI, BB) crossed the plate a team-high six times and had a two-homer day. Lastly, senior second baseman LJ Talley (4-6) drew a team-high three walks to go along with four runs, three RBI and a home run.
Both Georgia starting pitchers notched wins with junior righty Will Proctor (2-0) taking game one on four innings of work, while fellow junior righty Tony Locey (2-0) struck out 10 batters for his second-straight start in game two.
In game one, Shepherd led off the bottom half of the opening frame with his first triple of the season and was plated in the next at-bat on King’s first-career double. Another individual season-first followed as Schunk sent a pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run home run.
The UMass Lowell starter proceeded to walk five of the next six batters and throw a wild pitch to bring in two runs, which caused the River Hawks to dip into the bullpen early. Then with the top of the order back up, Shepherd hit a two-run single and King followed with another run-scoring double to give Georgia the sizable 8-0 lead.
Later in the seven-inning first game, LJ Talley had a RBI single, King recorded his third RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly, Shane Marshall added a two-run double, and lastly C.J. Smith got his first hit of the year – a home run.
In game two, Riley answered the River Hawks’ first inning solo homer with a two-run blast for the Georgia lead. The Bulldogs broke game open in the bottom of the third inning when graduate transfer designated hitter John Cable recorded his first Georgia hit in a big way – a grand slam.
Both teams traded 2-run frames in the fifth inning. For Georgia, Talley drilled a two-run home run over the right-center field wall.
Georgia stretched its lead to 9-3 in the sixth off the bat and legs of Tucker Maxwell who recorded the Bulldogs’ first inside-the-park home run since Bobby Felmy in 2006.
Schunk and Shepherd added home runs five and six on the game for additional runs late.
-Sophomore RF Riley King recorded his first career double of the season in his first plate appearance in game one and a home run in his first AB of game two, which extended his streak of hitting safely to all six games this season.
-Junior SS Cam Shepherd led off game one with his first triple of the season and fifth in his career. In game two, he hit a leadoff single, extending his streak of hitting safely to five games.
-Junior 3B Aaron Schunk hit his first home run of the season and fifth all-time.
-Sophomore LF C.J. Smith hit an opposite field solo blast in game one for his first homer of the season and second in his career.
-Through the first six games this season, Georgia has 11 home runs from eight different players. Last season in the same span, the Bulldogs had four homers. In game two today, Georgia had five homers after entering the game with five total home runs.
-The 6-0 start is the best under Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin. The last time Georgia was 6-0 was in 2012 under David Perno – a team that started 8-0.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the game...
“We hit some balls in the air today and it was a good day to be a hitter, that’s for sure. I thought we hit some really good balls in the air yesterday but they got knocked down. The wind was blowing in the opposite direction yesterday. All in all, I think we’ve shown that we have some power. We got the job done today, that’s the bottom line. Today was a tough day to pitch, if you’re a pitcher and you look out and the flag is blowing straight out it’s tough to pitch. I think Tony [Locey] did a great job and really set the tone for us. Ryan Webb, well that’s the best Ryan has thrown all year. And to see Adam Goodman finish things up, it was just really encouraging to see those guys come out of the pen and play as well as they did.”
On the offense...
“We don’t feel like we’re going to have a 19-20 home run kind of guy like we did with Keegan McGovern. We think we’re going to have six, seven, even eight guys who will be in the 8-10 range. I think we can have a really sneaky strong offense, one through nine, where a pitcher can’t rest. I mean look at Patrick Sullivan in the seven or eight-hole, he’s the type of guy that can put a ball a long way. It was great to see John Cable get a hit today, his first hit."
Junior 3B Aaron Schunk
On the mindset of the team during a game like today…
"We just gotta keep going. That is a good team over there. They are very good in their conference. They hung around, everyone saw that, so every time we came into the dugout we said that we needed to put more on the board, because we knew they were going to hang around. We were just trying to step on it as hard as we could."
On John Cable's Grand Slam
"We all went crazy. Getting to see John [Cable] break out, he had two hits today, and the grand slam, I was on base for. Right when he hit it I knew it was gone. Everybody was excited for him. It was an awesome highlight for him."
Graduate DH John Cable
On his grand slam…
"That definitely took some weight off my shoulders. It got me going today and hopefully I can keep it going moving forward."
On his first impressions of Georgia's baseball team…
"It is a bunch of great guys. We come out and play as hard as we can. We have a lot of energy. We have a tremendous team, a tremendous group of guys, and we have a shot at doing something special. Georgia has always been my dream school and I love it here."
Georgia welcomes the Blackbirds of LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. at Foley Field.