Georgia pitching cools down Gamecocks' bats in SEC Opener
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASEBALL
Thanks to solid pitching by the Bulldog pitching staff, No. 11 Georgia (16-2, 1-0 SEC) spoiled No. 23 South Carolina’s (14-4, 0-1 SEC) SEC opener on Friday night at Founders Park by a score of 6-1.
Bulldogs sophomore right-handed starter Emerson Hancock proved to be a thorn in the side of the Gamecocks as he finished his night with 12 strikeouts and one allowed run through seven innings of work.
“He’s definitely the best pitcher I’ve ever seen,” Gamecocks freshman outfielder Brady Allen said. “Good velocity, good stuff, good control and good stamina. Overall, very good pitcher.”
Hancock’s pitching allowed the Georgia offense to take the lead in the second inning as a two-run homer from Bulldogs redshirt senior John Cable gave Georgia the 2-0 lead early in the ballgame.
“He’s coming in first inning, sitting 97, 98, something you don’t see very often,” sophomore outfielder Andrew Eyster said. “Throwing lots of good changeups, curveballs or sliders, mixed a couple curveballs in there. He’s good, he’s tough. Just a lot of quality pitches tonight.”
However, it did not take the Gamecocks long to respond as a solo shot to center field from Allen put South Carolina on the board for the Gamecocks’ lone run.
Allen noted that he was able to get a hold of the homer by noticing that Hancock was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs to the Gamecock batters early in the game and took advantage of Hancock’s fastball.
The 2-1 score remained steady until the sixth inning when Gamecocks freshman right-handed starter Wesley Sweatt seemed to run out of gas after a two-run RBI triple from Bulldogs junior infielder Aaron Schunk extended the Bulldogs lead.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher John Gilreath would then come in to relieve for the Gamecocks but was unable to stop the Bulldogs’ bats as a sac fly from Bulldogs redshirt sophomore catcher Mason Meadows scored Schunk from third and redshirt junior first baseman Patrick Sullivan hit to right-center field to score the runner from second.
Hancock continued to shut the South Carolina bats down until Bulldogs junior left-handed pitcher Justin Glover continued Georgia’s dominance on the mound with three-straight strikeouts in the eighth inning and only allowing one hit in the ninth before securing the 6-1 win for the Bulldogs.
Despite the loss, Eyster is confident that his team will move on from this loss and improve tomorrow.
“It’s baseball. Nobody’s going to win every game,” Eyster said. “It’s nice to get ahead, win the first game but at the same time, we’re confident in our pitching, confident in our hitters, our defense. We’re going to come out and pound the strike zone, make plays, score some runs. I don’t think anybody’s worried.”
South Carolina will be back in action on Saturday afternoon as they will look to even the series against Georgia at Founders Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. and can be streamed on SEC Network Plus.