Georgia took care of business on Saturday in Auburn.
The Bulldogs won game two of their doubleheader against the Auburn Tigers 10-8 to claim a second consecutive series victory after dropping Saturday’s first game 4-3 in extra innings.
Georgia’s ace Emerson Hancock returned to the mound after two weeks away in game one. He wasn’t as dominant as he’s been this season, but he kept the game within reach. The right-hander tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out four.
Hancock then passed things off to Cole Wilcox, who was effective in 2 2/3 innings but surrendered the game-winning run via an RBI single by Auburn designated hitter Connor Davis in the bottom of the 10th.
“I’m glad to see Emerson Hancock back in the rotation,” head coach Scott Stricklin said. “He wanted to keep going in that first game but he was around 95 pitches so we went to Cole Wilcox. I thought Cole pitched well, but Auburn strung a few hits together and got that first game in extra innings.”
Georgia designated hitter John Cable provided most of the offense for the Bulldogs in game one, crushing a solo homer in the fifth to cut Auburn’s lead to 3-2. He then tied the game in the sixth by hitting an RBI double.
“It was tough to lose that first one in extra innings but we bounced back in the second game,” Stricklin said. “You have to credit Auburn for coming back in both games.”
Georgia got rolling on offense early in the second game, as Aaron Schunk crushed a three-run homer in the first to give starting pitcher Tim Elliott an early lead. The Bulldogs got out to a 7-2 lead thanks to two RBI singles from Chaney Rogers and a two-run single by Shane Marshall.
Despite the early cushion, Elliott struggled later, working five innings and allowing five runs on four hits while striking out three. The Tigers loaded the bases with none out in the sixth against Elliott, who was then lifted for left-hander Ryan Webb. Auburn ultimately tacked on four runs in the frame to tie the game at seven.
But Georgia rallied back in the eighth, as junior Cam Shepherd continued his recent power surge by crushing a three-run homer to give the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead. Zac Kristofak then secured the win by pitching the final 3 2/3 innings to secure a road series victory for the Bulldogs.
“It’s tough to win a series in this league especially on the road because everybody has good crowds but we did it,” Stricklin said. “We got up 7-2 in the second game and then all of sudden here comes Auburn and they tied it up. We responded and did everything with two outs.”
Zac Kristofak – The right-hander closed out the final game of the series with 3 2/3 innings of solid work. He allowed just one earned run and struck out five, holding Auburn in check after the Tigers roared back to tie the game.
Cam Shepherd – The late Auburn rally in game two could have been demoralizing to the Bulldogs. But Shepherd provided the offense Georgia needed to retake the lead, smacking a three-run shot in the eighth that gave his team the lead for good.
Ryan Bliss – The Auburn second baseman was instrumental in the Tigers’ late comeback. He went a perfect 3-for-3 in the series finale, picking up an RBI and scoring three runs.