Baseball: Georgia remains confident after exiting SEC Tournament
The Rebels were able to shut out the Bulldogs 4-0 on Thursday afternoon
During a game against Ole Miss at the 2021 SEC Baseball Tournament Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala., on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Photo by Michael Wade)
It all comes down to Monday as Georgia’s postseason chances seem to dwindle away after losing two straight to Arkansas and Ole Miss over the last two days.
The Razorbacks routed the Bulldogs 11-2 on Wednesday night, while the Rebels blanked them 4-0 on Thursday afternoon.
After scoring four runs in the top of the first in Tuesday night’s win against LSU, the Georgia bats turned cold.
Arkansas starting pitcher Lael Lockhart shut down the Bulldogs’ offense and built a 6-0 lead while dominating for the first six innings on Wednesday. Ole Miss pitcher Drew McDaniel picked up right where Lockhart and the Razorbacks’ pitching staff left off the night before.
McDaniel pitched 6.2 innings while only allowing four hits and zero earned runs. He also struck out 11 while only two giving up two walks. Three Ole Miss pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts, which is something that Georgia has struggled with all year.
Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said that McDaniel had his best stuff today.
“Drew (McDaniel) was the difference today,” Stricklin said. “He was really good on the mound. We faced a lot of good pitching in our games here, and we also didn’t have a very good approach overall. Offensively, we weren’t very good. The three arms we saw pitched extremely well. I thought McDaniel was outstanding today.”
Stricklin added that the Bulldogs need to do better hitting-wise moving forward in case they receive an NCAA Tournament bid.
“We weren’t good enough to win yesterday or today, and we need to get better,” Stricklin said. “I feel like we’ll be playing at least a couple more games next week, and we need to clean it up offensively.”
Ole Miss got on the board first when left fielder Kevin Graham led off the second with a solo shot. Then, the Rebels added a run in the third on a Jacob Gonzales single. Georgia’s Liam Sullivan was able to escape a bases loaded jam, but Ole Miss led 2-0 entering the following inning. Sullivan lasted 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on hours, with two walks and six strikeouts.
Georgia’s coaching staff brought in Jonanthan Cannon, who threw the remainer of the game, limiting the Rebels to just two more runs. The Alpharetta native threw 5.0 innings and allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Cannon also only suffered one walk.
Georgia had its best chance to score in the fourth when there were runners on the corners with two outs. Freshman Corey Collins, who was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team earlier this week, singled to start to inning.
Then, Chaney Rogers reached base on an infield-single on an error by Ole Miss. Nonetheless, McDaniel inserted his dominance and retired Georgia freshman catcher Fernando Gonzalez to retire the side.
Despite exiting the tournament a little earlier than expected, Georgia (31-25) still has a chance to receive a bid to play in a regional.
Senior outfielder Riley King remains confident.
“We’re going to get after it,” King said during his postgame press conference. “We’re going to get ready to play postseason baseball. We’re going to have practice, we’re going to treat it just like we’re going into a tournament. That’s on our mind, that’s our goal. We’re going to treat it like we’re going.”