Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019
STATESBORO, Ga.— In game one of a Saturday doubleheader, ninth-ranked Georgia defeated Georgia Southern 4-2 to clinch a road series in front of 2,916 fans at J.I. Clements Stadium. The final game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Georgia (9-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning. LJ Talley (3-for-4, RBI) led off the frame with a base hit, took second on a wild pitch while Mason Meadows reached on a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Connor Tate moved both into scoring position, Patrick Sullivan notched an RBI on a groundout for a 1-0 advantage. Then, freshman Randon Jernigan picked up his first career RBI with a two-out single. Georgia Southern (3-6) cut the deficit in half on a sacrifice fly by Blake Evans in the third.
In the fourth, Meadows put the Bulldogs back in front by a pair when he blasted his first home run of the season, a solo shot for a 3-1 lead. Georgia Southern loaded the bases with one out in the fifth but the Bulldogs turned a double play to maintain their edge. In the frame, sophomore right-hander Tony Locey was lifted in favor of junior Zac Kristofak after the first two Eagles reached.
In the seventh, Talley made it 4-1 with a two-out, run-scoring double. It was his third hit of the contest and scored Aaron Schunk who was on after a two-out walk and stolen base. With two outs in the seventh and a runner at second, the Bulldogs turned to Justin Glover, and he kept the Eagles from scoring. In the eighth with two on and one out, Georgia brought in closer Aaron Schunk. He got a strikeout before the Eagles managed an RBI-double from Blake Evans but then stranded two in scoring position to make it 4-2 going to the ninth.
Kristofak (1-0) picked up the win with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief while Schunk registered his third save of the year. GSU starter Braden Hays got the loss to fall to 0-2, allowing three runs on four hits in four innings.
With rain in the forecast Sunday, the three-game series will conclude tonight. The final game of the series will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Bulldog bullpen got their first decision of the year after the starters were 8-1 coming in Saturday.
Georgia’s pitching staff has held the Eagles to only three runs in the first two games of the series and GSU has stranded 22 runners in scoring position.
Senior second baseman LJ Talley went 3-for-4 for his second 3-hit game of the year.
Junior shortstop Cam Shepherd has reached base in all 10 games this year.
Freshman left fielder Randon Jernigan notched a two-out RBI and first career SB in the second inning.
Sophomore catcher Mason Meadows connected for a solo home run for his first blast of the year.
With bases loaded and one out and Georgia leading 3-1 in the fifth, the Bulldogs turned their 11th double play of the season.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
“We battled and found a way to win a road series. Tony (Locey) wasn’t as sharp as he has been. but he competed and got us to the fifth inning. Our bullpen did a great job the rest of the way in Zac Kristofak, Justin Glover and Aaron Schunk. They were really good. We’ll have a quick turnaround for the final game of this series and get back to the field tonight.”