Baseball Preview: Georgia heads to Texas A&M
Contributed by UGA Athletics
Georgia pitcher and outfielder Luke Wagner (27) during a game against Kennesaw State at Foley Field in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
ATHENS ------The No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference action Friday at Texas A&M with the first pitch set for 7:02 p.m. ET and be available on the SEC Network and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Last week in the SEC opener in Athens, Georgia went 1-2 versus No. 10 Tennessee without their head coach, Scott Stricklin, as it was announced Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Associate head coach Scott Daeley has been the acting head coach. Pitching and defense, two hallmarks of the club this season, were inconsistent. The Bulldogs entered SEC play with the top fielding percentage in the league with just eight errors, and they ranked second in ERA. However, Georgia made six errors in the first two games of the UT series and posted a 5.67 ERA in the series with 20 walks. A total of 14 Bulldogs including nine pitchers made their SEC debut in the series. Meanwhile, the Aggies (15-8, 0-3 SEC) were swept on the road by No. 5 Florida to snap an 11-game winning streak.
The Aggies lead the all-time series over Georgia 9-5 including sweeping a series in 2013 (first-ever SEC series) and again in 2016 at Blue Bell Park. Georgia won home series 2-1 against the Aggies in 2014 and 2018 at Foley Field. The teams are 1-1 at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. The Bulldogs won the most recent meeting, a 2-0 walk-off in the second round of the 2019 event courtesy of a two-out blast by Cam Shepherd.
The series game times are Friday at 7:02 pm ET (SECN), Saturday at 3:02 pm ET (SECN+) and Sunday at 2:02 pm ET (SECN+).
The Bulldogs have already had six walk-off wins this year by six different players with three coming on home runs. The latest came this past Tuesday against Kennesaw State when freshman third baseman Parks Harber blasted a solo shot for a 3-2 victory in 10 innings. The Bulldog bullpen provided 9.1 scoreless innings with sophomore Nolan Crisp earning the win. Texas A&M dropped its midweek contest at home to Rice 2-1.
Georgia will employ the same SEC rotation as last weekend with freshman LHP Luke Wagner (3-1, 1.17 ERA) in game one followed by senior LHP Ryan Webb (2-0, 0.52 ERA) and sophomore RHP Jonathan Cannon (1-1, 1.86 ERA). Georgia will be without senior LHP C.J. Smith (0-2, 3.00 ERA) as he will miss his third straight weekend due to arm soreness. The 2021 debut of Webb and Cannon were delayed due to illness. Webb’s last start was his first of the season not on a pitch count while this Sunday will be the first for Cannon without a pitch count. Last week, Wagner became the first Bulldog freshman pitcher to start an SEC opener since 2013 when Sean McLaughlin got the nod at Texas A&M when the Aggies won 4-1.
Freshman DH/C Corey Collins (.368-4-16), Georgia’s leading hitter and run producer, has missed the last three games after pulling a hamstring on a base hit in the fourth inning of last Friday’s SEC opener. Redshirt junior OF Connor Tate ranks second on the team in batting at .364 (28-for-77) with a double, triple, two home runs and 13 RBI. Nine of his 13 RBI have come with two outs. Redshirt junior INF Josh McAllister (.362-3-7) has reached base in 14 consecutive games to go with a five-game hitting streak.
Pitching Matchups: UGA vs. A&M
#27 Luke Wagner (3-1, 1.17, LHP, Fr.) vs. #37 Dustin Saenz (3-2, 3.07, LHP, Sr.)
#55 Ryan Webb (2-0, 0.52, LHP, Sr.) vs. #32 Bryce Miller (2-0, 2.49, RHP, Sr.)
#12 Jonathan Cannon (1-1, 1.86, RHP, So.) vs. #21 Jonathan Childress (2-2, 1.98, LHP, Jr)
Radio Links: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network (Announcers: Jeff Dantzler, David Johnston)
All regular season Bulldog games will be available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network with Jeff Dantzler and David Johnston bringing you the action. Georgia home games along with SEC road games will be available on the SEC Network+ platform too. All Georgia baseball games will be carried locally on WRFC 960 AM as it will serve as the primary home for all broadcasts. In Atlanta, Bulldogs fans can tune in to WFOM 1230 AM. Fans can listen to every game online for free through the official website of the Bulldogs, georgiadogs.com and the Georgia Bulldogs app. Also, games will be available on TuneIn. Live Stats are available via the Bulldogs app too.
SEC Network TV Links: (Friday Announcers: Sam Ravech, Todd Walker)
Friday at 7:02 pm ET: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=9febc0c2-6de9-43a3-9078-ddf4871a450b
Saturday at 3:02 pm ET: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=9265a971-0add-49c3-9dc2-76dd55fd77a0
Sunday at 2:02 pm ET: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=42ee0e59-1d76-4bf8-ba05-54d3637c3e96