Georgia baseball defeated Kennesaw State 3-2 on Tuesday night with a 10th inning, walk-off home run by Parks Harber. With the win, Georgia improves to 15-5 on the season. The Bulldogs will return to action on March 26, traveling to College Station, Texas, for a weekend series against Texas A&M. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:
Kennesaw’s early start
Georgia redshirt freshman Charlie Goldstein appeared to start strong with two strikeouts in the top of the first, but he was unable to record the third out to finish the inning.
With two outs for the Bulldogs recorded, Goldstein allowed a RBI-double from Kennesaw State’s Terence Norman as Tyler Tolve, who walked between the two strikeouts, scored.
Garrett Hodges recorded the second RBI of the first as Norman rounded home on his single.
After Skylar McPhee singled, Goldstein was replaced by freshman Luke Wagner to finish the job.
Wagner easily recorded the third out by forcing a pop out to center field, but the damage was already done as the Owls put two runs on the board to begin the game.
Goldstein only pitched 2/3 innings in his third start of the season. He faced six batters, four of which reached base.
This is the Bulldogs’ fourth game in a row that they have allowed at least one run to score in the first inning. Georgia was unable to respond in the bottom of the first after a series of runners were thrown out at second base.
Abundance of pitching changes
Georgia used a season-high eight pitchers on the night. Every pitcher except for redshirt sophomore Nolan Crisp threw less than two innings.
Crisp threw two innings on Tuesday night, and recorded the win after pitching two perfect innings.
Associate head coach Scott Daeley said that he kept each pitcher at a low pitch count in preparation of Georgia’s weekend series at Texas A&M.
“We used a lot of guys and tried to keep everybody ready for Friday night,” Daeley said. “All those guys threw well. And Nolan especially … he’s really turned a corner these past couple of weeks.”
Despite a two-run first inning for Kennesaw State, the multitude of pitchers kept the Owls from scoring again.
Georgia’s seven relievers only allowed four hits in 9 1/3 total innings. Between Kennesaw State’s lack of hits and the pitchers’ combined two walks in the last nine innings, Georgia’s pitching staff was able to keep the game under control after an unsuccessful first inning.
Daeley said he was impressed with his pitchers’ ability to keep the Bulldogs in the game.
“I thought our guys did a great job. Obviously they kept us in it when we had absolutely nothing going offensively,” Daeley said. “Sometimes that’s all people need is for a ball to find a glove one time.”
Georgia previously only used six pitchers in a single game, which they did on March 7 against North Florida and on March 19 against Tennessee.
Another walk-off win
Parks Harber hit a walk-off home run to left field in the 10th inning, recording Georgia’s sixth walk-off win of the season.
This was Harber’s first career home run and first career walk-off hit.
“It's a special moment. Just kind of something you dream about when you commit here to play in the SEC,” Harber said. “Just seeing all the smiles on my teammates’ faces just really got me excited.”
Harber stepped up to the plate for the fifth time in the tenth inning, and had yet to reach base on the day. He said he was able to remain calm knowing that the pitchers had left them an opportunity to win the game.
“That was a deep breath in itself, knowing the pitching staff had our back as hitters, and we were going to come through,” Harber said.
Prior to the ninth inning, the Bulldogs were quiet at the plate. They did not record a hit in the sixth, seventh or eighth inning and only had four total hits with three outs left to end the game.
Daeley attributed the slow start to “trying to do too much” at the plate. He said he reminded them to slow down and breathe.
The Bulldogs entered the bottom of the ninth down by one run. Riley King was able to extend the game to extra innings with an RBI-double that scored Cole Tate.
Harber said that King “put the team on his back in the first nine innings” as he was responsible for three of the team’s seven total hits. Tuesday’s game against Kennesaw State was King’s fifth multi-hit game this season.