The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Georgia takes down Alabama

2553 days ago
Georgia Athletics

Stephen Wrenn started it off for the Georgia baseball team Saturday afternoon at Foley Field, smacking a home run over the wall in left field to lead off the bottom of the first inning. It was the beginning of a very good day at the plate for the Bulldogs.

Wrenn's solo shot was the first of 15 hits in Georgia's series-clinching 12-4 win over Alabama.

"I think that the guys put together great at-bats behind me, so that makes mine look even better," Wrenn said.

After losing the series opener in 13 innings late Thursday night, the Dogs got a stellar, one-hit pitching performance from Robert Tyler in Friday's 7-1 victory, and starter Connor Jones threw a career-high 7 2/3 innings, mostly very strong innings, on Saturday. But the story Saturday was at the plate.

Every starter for the Bulldogs (17-12, 4-5 SEC) had at least one hit and scored at least one run. That hadn't happened since 2010.

Georgia got home runs from the center-fielder Wrenn - his first of the season after surprising everyone by belting eight as a sophomore last season - and from catcher Michael Curry. Both were line-drive smacks over the wall in left.

After missing the first few games of the season with an injury, Wrenn, a preseason All-American, got off to, in his words, "a slow start." He came into Saturday's game batting .290, with only four of his 27 hits going for extra bases, and 18 strikeouts in 93 at-bats.

Against the Tide on Friday, Wrenn went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4, with two runs scored and a pair of walks.

"What I'm proud of is yesterday was probably my worst game of the season and today, learning how to put that behind me," Wrenn said, "so I'm excited for what's to come."

Georgia got to Alabama starting pitcher Nick Eicholtz early and stayed on him and the Tide (16-11, 5-4). After Wrenn's leadoff homer, right-fielder Skyler Weber singled (but then got picked off at first) and first baseman Trevor Kieboom doubled to right. Two batters later, designated hitter Daniel Nichols sent an RBI single to right, putting Georgia up 2-0.

Curry, the freshman, came up empty in the ensuing at-bat to end the inning, but he came up big later. After the Tide scored two runs in top of the second to tie the game, the Dogs got a run on a Weber sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead.

Jones struck out the side in the top of the third and Curry led of the bottom of the frame with a solo homer (his fifth of the season) to make it 4-2 Dogs.

"I just tried to be more relaxed at the plate and all that good stuff," Curry said. "That was exciting."

Georgia blew the game open in the fourth, scoring seven runs on seven hits and an error. Consecutive singles by shortstop Nick King, Wrenn and Weber made it 5-2 and knocked Eicholtz out of the game.

Later, with two on and one out against reliever Zac Rogers, Keegan McGovern drove a long ball to the wall in center field. Wrenn at second had to wait to see the ball would be caught before taking off for home, scoring easily, while Weber and McGovern nearly collided at first base before Weber scampered for second.

An RBI double from Nichols made it 7-2 and then Curry stepped up and hit what may be the shortest two-run single anyone in the SEC will produce this season.

"Whatever gets the job done," Curry said, smiling, after going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. For the season Curry now has five homers and 15 RBIs.

With runners on second and third with two away, the left side of the Tide defense was playing well in, like Alabama was expecting a bunt. Instead Curry hit what should have been a routine pop-up in the grass behind the shortstop. Curry's bloop landed in the grass about 15 feet beyond the infield, with no Tide defenders even able to make an attempt on the ball.

"It's a line shot in the books and I got two RBIs, so that's good," Curry said. "I'll take it."

McGovern and Nichols were running on the play and scored, pushing the Dog lead to 9-2. Georgia got two more runs in the inning, one on a King RBI single and another following a Tide throwing error.

Georgia was able to string quite a few hits together Saturday, especially in that big fourth inning. But both of the homers were solo shots, which has become the norm. The Bulldogs' last 12 home runs have all been solos.

With seven runs Thursday and Friday and a season-high 12 Saturday, the Bulldogs offense may be turning a corner.

"Totally," Wrenn said. "Guys are putting together very good at-bats and young guys are confident against good pitchers, so it looks good."

The Bulldogs are back in action at Foley Field on Tuesday against Clemson.