Baseball: Chaney Rogers' ninth-inning magic lifts Georgia over North Florida
Another comeback in the books for the Bulldogs
(Photo: Tony Walsh)
No. 21 Georgia had not led all day until senior Chaney Rogers stepped up to the plate with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth.
With runners on first and second with one out, Rogers stepped up to the batter’s box and hit a three-run bomb over the right-field fence, which gave Georgia the go-ahead runs. That home run gave Georgia (9-3) its first lead of the game and solidified the weekend series win over the visiting North Florida Ospreys (4-8).
According to Georgia freshman Kameron Guidry, who was in the on-deck spot, said that Rogers was confident he could get the job done.
“Yeah, we had a little talk,” Guidry said during his post-game press conference. “We didn’t want to play any extras today and he finished the job. I’m proud of him.”
Rogers’ game-winner is the second of the season for the Bulldogs. Last weekend, Josh McAllister had a walk-off against Gardner-Webb in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 27. Georgia capped off the week by going 2-2 with a mid-week loss to Kennesaw State.
Still, a win like Sunday’s can give the Bulldogs a boost as a mid-week matchup with Georgia Southern in Statesboro looms. Last season, the Eagles swept the season series against Georgia. After that, UGA returns home with a three-game series against Lipscomb.
Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said that his team has faced a lot of adversity in the past few weeks, but the players have responded well.
“When you overcome adversity, you feel pretty good about it,” said Stricklin. “The adversity itself tears you up, it’s nerve-wracking, and it’s tough. When you have so many kids out there, you’re going to have your ups and downs. You’re going to have some tough moments, but we put our kids in tough situations, and today they got the job done.”
For more success, the Bulldogs will have to lean on guys like Guidry more often. The Snellville, Ga. native had two hits on Sunday, with one of them being the biggest of his young career. With two outs in the seventh and facing an 0-2 count, Guidry had a double that tied the game scoring Rogers. The Bulldogs were able to hold off UNF for two more innings until Rogers hit the home run in the ninth to send the Ospreys packing.
“You can’t ask for anything more than that,” Stricklin said. “You put him in the nine-hole and put him at short…have a productive at-bat, and here he comes hitting balls off the walls, doubles, and triples, big RBIs and made some unbelievable plays defensively. Kam has done everything in the last two games, I’m so happy for him. He worked his tail off. He’s always here early, always takes extra groundballs, and always hits more. It didn’t look like Kam was going to get his chance, but all of a sudden, some guys go down and here he is, and man, I’m really happy for him.”
Freshman pitcher Hank Bearden (1-0) was awarded the win after throwing a scoreless final inning.
“When it's a close ball game like it was today, you can kind of feel it,” Bearden said. “Coming out of the bullpen, I could tell our guys were a little amped up. It’s a good feeling when you hear that.”