Bulldogs top Bison in series opener behind strong play from Cannon, Collins
ATHENS, Ga. — No. 18 Georgia had strong performances from both Jonathan Cannon and Corey Collins to defeat Lipscomb 8-3 on Friday in the series opener at Foley Field.
Cannon earned the win on the mound, throwing six complete innings and striking out a career-high 11 batters. Offensively, Collins blasted two home runs and went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the victory.
"I thought Jonathan (Cannon) settled in and gave us a great start," Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said. "On Friday, you need to get six, seven innings out of a guy, and he gave it to us. We had been pressing and then we got the big hit from Corey (Collins). That gave us a little bit of breathing room, then when they scored the two sloppy runs in the seventh, we were able to answer back. Overall, I thought it was a really good day and a good win."
Cannon entered last Friday’s ranked matchup against Georgia Tech leading the country in scoreless innings (14.1). However, the Yellow Jackets notched seven hits and scored six runs off the Bulldog ace last week. So, Cannon need a bounce-back performance against Lipscomb.
“It felt good, it was a grind,” Cannon said. “My stuff wasn’t at its best today, but I was able to grind through and get some quick innings out there. And as usual, my defense played well behind me. It was just nice to get back out there and have a great performance before we start SEC play. So, it was good ending on a high note before heading into it.”
The Bison got on the board first in the top of the first, although Georgia responded as Cannon hit a solo home run to tie the game, 1-1. The Bulldogs would add another run in the second as Parks Harber crossed the plate. Ben Anderson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which ended up giving Georgia a 2-1 lead heading into the third inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cole Tate hit into a double-play but drove in Fernando Gonzalez in the process and it extended the lead to 3-1. Gonzalez and Cory Acton had a pair of consecutive two-out RBI singles that scored both Harber and Chaney Rogers in the sixth inning. Those runs made it a 5-1 contest in Georgia’s favor. The Bulldogs weren’t done yet.
Collins’ second home run came in the sixth off of Bison left-hander Noah Thompson. Lipscomb would score two runs in the top of the seventh, which cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 6-3. Acton and Anderson responded with RBI hits in the bottom half of the seventh inning to give Georgia an 8-3 lead. Rogers and Gonzalez each crossed the plate on those hits.
“We’ve just got to keep it up,” Collins said about Georgia’s offensive strides in the last week. “There are more smiles now more than frowns. I said last week that ‘confidence comes with success’ and our guys are feeling really good at the plate. We need to remain confident.”
A few other pitchers followed Cannon in relief, including Colin Caldwell, Will Pearson and Davis Rokose. That trio combined to pitch the final three innings, giving up two runs and only walking two. They combined for five strikeouts and limited the Bison to just one hit.
Due to a forecast for low temperatures and high wind gusts, the second game of the series, scheduled for Saturday at Foley Field, has been postponed.
The series will now conclude with a Sunday doubleheader, which will start at 1 p.m. EST. There will be 40 minutes between games and the stadium will be cleared between contests.