Aaron Schunk (22) hits a foul ball during a game against Kennesaw State on February 27, 2019 at Foley Field. Georgia won the game 11-1. (Photo/Maya Giro)

It looked a lot different than Friday, but Georgia baseball got the job done on Saturday in Columbia, beating South Carolina 8-7 to secure a series win in the first weekend of SEC play.

Georgia’s offense was rolling against South Carolina pitching on Saturday, collecting 13 hits in the game and battling back from deficits on multiple occasions. Georgia had no problem getting to South Carolina starter Reid Morgan, who allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three.

Sophomore C.J. Smith made his first-weekend start of the season on Saturday and surrendered his first runs of the season. The left-hander pitched three innings in Columbia, allowing five runs on five hits and striking out three.

The Bulldogs entered Saturday with a fully rested bullpen, which proved significant since Smith lasted just three innings. Will Proctor, Cole Wilcox, Zac Kristofak and Aaron Schunk combined to throw six innings, allowing two runs and striking out nine.

After both teams traded the lead back and forth in the early innings, Georgia took control of the game for good in the sixth, taking its largest lead of the game 8-6 on three hits in the inning. The Gamecocks narrowed the lead to 8-7 on a sacrifice fly in the eighth against Kristofak,

Smith gave up his first run of the season in the second when Luke Berryhill crushed a solo homer to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Georgia quickly evened things up in the third with three early hits. After Tucker Maxwell legged out an infield single and Cam Shepherd singled to right, Aaron Schunk delivered his second hit of the game to drive in Maxwell for the Bulldogs’ first run.

The Gamecocks jumped on top of Smith in the third, plating four runs. The left-hander gave up two homers and an RBI double in the frame as South Carolina took a 5-1 lead. Once again, though, the Bulldogs immediately responded with a rally of their own I the fourth. The first five batters of the inning reached base as the Bulldogs narrowed the lead to 5-4. A sacrifice fly from Schunk evened things at five.

Proctor, who began the season in Georgia’s weekend rotation, replaced Smith in the bottom of the fourth and allowed a run on a walk and a hit, despite striking out the side as the Gamecocks retook the 6-5 lead. Georgia continued to battle back, though, retaking the lead 7-6 on a hit, an error and walk in the top of the fifth.

Wilcox bridged the gap through the middle innings before Kristofak faced just two batters and Schunk finished the job in his longest outing of the season.

Top Performers

Aaron Schunk- Schunk went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Saturday, but his most significant contribution came on the mound. The Bulldogs’ closer took over for Kristofak in the eighth and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three and securing the save.

Chaney Rogers- The redshirt freshman made his first start at first base in place of Patrick Sullivan, who was a late scratch due to illness. Rogers delivered in the new role, going 2-for-3 with a walk for his first career multi-hit game. His double in the fifth was Georgia’s only extra-base hit on Saturday.

Cole Wilcox- The flame-throwing freshman had one of his better outings of the season on Saturday. He fired 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three in his return to the bullpen after two weeks in the weekend rotation.

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