KNOXVILLE, Tennessee Senior Jack Gowen retired all 11 batters he faced, and the 22nd ranked Georgia Bulldogs hit three home runs to beat top-ranked Tennessee 8-3 in front of a crowd of 4,536 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday.
Saturday marked the first time all season that the Bulldogs competed in the final game of an SEC series to avoid being swept. In fact, Georgia hadn’t been swept into then-No. 9 Mississippi State since 2019. UT, which took the SEC regular-season title on Friday, entered this season on Saturday with a 33-2 home record, but on this day, the Bulldogs would not be denied. Georgia improved to 33-18 overall, 14-13 in the SEC, while the Volunteers fell to 45-7, SEC 22-5.
UT started junior fireballer Ben Joyce, who has been clocked by the volunteers to 105.5 miles per hour (MPH) this season. He pitched the first four innings and hit triple digits regularly, including touching 104 MPH against Corey Collins† He went in for a 2-0 lead on an RBI-single by Drew Gilbert and a solo homerun by Luc Lipcius. In the fourth with two out, graduated Chaney Rogers hit a 102 MPH fastball to make the game 2-all. sophomore Fernando Gonzalez followed by crushing a 102 MPH fastball to put Georgia at the forefront 3-2. It was the fourth home run of the year for both Bulldogs.
With Georgia leading 3-2 in fourth, sophomore starter Liam Sullivan was eliminated after the first two Volunteers reached on basehits. The Bulldogs turned to sophomore southpaws Jaden Woods† He led Evan Russell 0-2 in the count, but eventually walked him to load the bases. Woods fought back and registered strikeouts from Christian Moore and Lipcius. However, Cortland Lawson walked to even the game. Woods got the Bulldogs out of further trouble by striking out Seth Stephenson to send it 3-all to fifth.
Woods moved the Bulldogs to sixth before taking back-to-back walks to start the frame. Lipcius was unable to put down a bunt and eventually struckout. At that point, Georgia turned to senior closer Gowen. He struckout the first two batters he faced to send it to seventh. UT brought in freshman Drew Beam for his first aid performance of the year. He came in 8-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 12 starts. Gowen threw a career-long 3.2 scoreless innings with five strikeouts to bring his record to 2-0, while Beam fell to 8-1.
He eliminated Gonzalez, then Georgia loaded the bases on singles by Corey CollinsJosh McAllister and Buddy Floyd† UT went back to the bullpen in lefthanded closer Redmond Walsh to face lefthanded batting Anderson. The graduate Bulldog delivered a safety pinch to perfection as Collins raced home to give Georgia a 4-3 lead. Cole Tate followed with a two-run single to cap off a solid weekend at the plate. With that single clutch, Tate improved to 6-for-10 with 5 RBI in the series. Connor Tate followed by a two-run blast that went 392 feet over the left field wall to complete a five-run burst for an 8-3 advantage. For Tate it was his 10e home run this year and 24e of his career.
“We challenged the team last night, challenged them again this morning, and we have a lot of upperclassmen on this team, and they took it personally,” said Georgia head baseball coach Ike Cousins. Scott Stricklin† “The goal was to have a chip on our shoulder and really fight today. I thought we really did. Liam fought and helped us through three and Jaden got into a tough situation. He only gave up one run and that was a momentum builder for us.And then Jack Gowen comes in and that’s the best he’s been all year. We had a lot of big hits in this one, Chaney, Fernando and Cole and Connor Tate† It was a really good team win.”
Georgia will close the regular season at Foley Field next week with four games. The Bulldogs will play host to Presbyterian on Tuesday. The first pitch is at 6 p.m. and the game will be available on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
For the latest Georgia baseball news, visit georgiadogs.com and follow the Bulldogs on Twitter @BaseballUGA, Facebook @GeorgiaBaseball and Instagram @baseballuga.
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