Courtesy: UGA Athletics
ATHENS, Ga. — A three-run first inning paved the way for Georgia’s 5-1 victory over Georgia Tech Tuesday night at Foley Field.
Leadoff hitter Tucker Maxwell set the tone with an 11-pitch at-bat ending in a double to the right-center field gap. Keegan McGovern singled in Maxwell three batters later, followed by a Michael Curry double down the left field line that brought in Cam Shepherd who reached on a walk. Lastly, McGovern scored on a LJ Talley groundout to cap the first inning.
Shepherd blasted a solo home run into the parking lot over the left field wall in the third, extending the UGA lead to 4-0.
Both teams used Tuesday as a staff night on the mound as 11 total pitchers toed the rubber. However, the Yellow Jackets did not anticipate needing two pitchers in the first inning as starter Jonathan Hughes (1-2) only recorded one out before exiting and ultimately receiving the loss.
In his second start of the season, Bulldog freshman Zac Kristofac (2-1) picked up the win on three scoreless innings, while collecting three strikeouts and only yielding two hits. A collaboration of Kevin Smith, Shane Tucker, Adam Goodman, Drew Moody and Blake Cairnes pitched the rest of the way without giving up an earned run. In total, the Bulldogs’ pitchers tallied 15 strikeouts.
GT’s lone run came off an error in the seventh inning. Georgia got the run back in the eighth by way of a Will Proctor RBI double, his sixth two-bagger of the season.
Game two of series is scheduled for April 25th on the Yellow Jackets’ campus, while the series finale will be at SunTrust Park on May 9th.
– Michael Curry’s first-inning double was his seventh of the year and the RBI pushed his total to a team-high 32. He has a four-game hitting streak. The catcher’s infield single in the third marked his 12th multi-hit game of the year.
– Cam Shepherd’s third-inning solo home run was his second of the year and his 15th RBI. With his fifth-inning single, he bumped up his team-high multi-hit games to 13.
– In Zac Kristofac’s last 6 outings, he has thrown 13 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts.
– Keegan McGovern went 2-for-3 to notch his ninth multi-hit game of the season.
Ike Cousins Head Coach Scott Stricklin
“It is a rivalry game so both teams are going to be up for it and it is going to be a battle. It was great to come out here and play well, I thought we pitched very well tonight and it was good to grab the win.”
On the importance of the three-run first inning…
“The biggest thing for us was [Zac] Kristofac having a good start. Going out there and getting the start as a freshman can be tough and nerve racking, especially against someone like Georgia Tech who has a really good lineup. The most important thing was getting those first three outs. That gave our guys some adrenaline going into the bottom of the first. We scored those runs and the bullpen took it from there.”
On carrying the momentum into the Arkansas series…
“The most important thing is to just continue to play well. If we play like this and compete like this then we have a chance to win a series against a really good team. It is a tough place to play, they have great fans and it will be sold out so we are going to have to play really well to win this series.”
Freshman RHP Zac Kristofac #12
“I thought I pitched well. All my pitches were working and it was cool in the 2nd inning when our defense made some big plays. The defense was working behind me the whole time, just a great outing.”
“It’s good to get a win against those guys and we’re going in the right direction all together as a team.”
Freshman Second Baseman Will Proctor #11
On playing in the Georgia Tech rivalry…
“It was big time. I didn’t obviously grow up with it, but I could see the energy in the dugout and it definitely rubbed off on me.”
The Bulldogs travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for a three game set against the Razorbacks. Game one is slated for Thursday at 7:30 ET and will be televised on SEC Nework Plus.