Georgia posted a 10-5 win over Jacksonville State Sunday to claim the series in front of a crowd of 3,083 at Foley Field.
Georgia’s Connor Tate, Parks Harber and Charlie Condon combined to go 6-for-12 with six RBI to pace the offense while senior Nolan Crisp led a strong performance from the bullpen as four relievers provided six scoreless frames. After dropping the season opener, the Bulldogs now improve to 2-1 with a series win.
JSU (1-2) struck first in the first courtesy of a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. However, In the bottom of the first, Harber’s two-run blast put the Bulldogs in front 2-1. They would extend their lead to 4-1 in the second on a run-scoring single by Josh Stinson while Condon picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk. Pinch-hitter Ben Anderson made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly in the third.
In the fourth, the Gamecocks erupted for four runs on four hits, ending freshman Blake Gillespie’s first outing. Junior Luke Wagner came on and registered a pair of outs including striking out cleanup hitter Carson Crowe with runners at second and third. Then, Georgia turned to Crisp to end the inning. He struck out Derrick Jackson to keep it 5-all. The Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the fourth. Harber drew a one-out walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Condon to put Georgia back in front. Georgia added an unearned run after an infield hit by Will David followed by a throwing error by JSU to make it 7-5.
“We put a lot of pressure on Jacksonville State today” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “Every single inning we had a scoring opportunity, and we scored in six out of eight innings.”
In the sixth, Tate led off with a base hit and scored on a Condon double off the left field wall for an 8-5 advantage. Tate’s two-out, run-scoring single in the seventh plus a base-loaded wild pitch pushed the Bulldogs lead out to 10-5.
Crisp (1-0) collected the victory by providing 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with five strikeouts, both career highs coming out of the Georgia bullpen. JSU reliever Trey Fortner took the loss to fall to 0-1, allowing four runs over three innings. Graduates Kyle Greenler and Dalton Rhadans took care of the final two frames.
“Nolan was penciled in to be the Sunday starter all along, but to be quite honest, he didn’t pitch very well in January and early February, and we made the decision to go with Blake, and Nolan was really good about it,” Stricklin added. “He handled it well, but he wasn’t happy. I didn’t want him to be happy. I didn’t expect him to be happy. I think what you saw from him today was a little chip on his shoulder. That’s exactly what I hoped to see. He won that game for us.”
“This was my outing back on a game-mound since I’ve been hurt, and it was good to finally feel 100 percent,” said Crisp who finished 2022 in the rotation before being sidelined in the final regular season SEC series. “I came in today, and it was a tough situation with a tie game. I had to come in and make some good pitches right off the bat. We have a strong freshman class and some transfers that threw a bunch this week. They did a really good job.”
Georgia returns to action Friday when it begins a four-game series with Princeton as the Tigers open their season in Athens. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 5 p.m.