ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia pitchers Andrew Gist, Zac Kristofak and Blake Cairnes combined for a 17-strikeout shutout to take the series opener against Missouri (21-9, 4-6), 3-0, on Thursday night at Foley Field.
Gist got the starting nod for the Bulldogs (14-17, 4-6) and delivered one of the best performances of his career with six shutout innings and a career-high 10 strikeouts. Kristofak followed with six strikeouts over 2.2 innings of work before Cairnes slammed the door with a strikeout to finish off the visiting Tigers.
Designated hitter Michael Curry opened the scoring, driving in his team-leading 31st RBI on the year with a first-inning base hit to score shortstop Cam Shepherd, who reached on a 1-out single.
Freshman center fielder Tucker Maxwell added to the lead, blasting a third-inning homerun over the scoreboard in right field off of Tanner Houck who had allowed only one homerun this season entering tonight's action.
The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the eighth inning after junior Keegan McGovern tripled off the wall and scored on a wild pitch.
Gist, Kristofak and Cairnes carried the load defensively as the trio combined for 17 strikeouts in the game -- the most by the Bulldog pitching staff this season.
The Bulldogs and Tigers will be back in action for game two of the three-game set tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Foley Field. The game will be the final in Athens for this series as the finale will be played in Atlanta's SunTrust Park.
*Andrew Gist dazzled, striking out a career-high 10 batters in six innings. *Michael Curry's first-inning RBI gave him his team-leading 31st of the season. *Tucker Maxwell blasted his third homerun of the year, just the second allowed by RHP Tanner Houck all season. *Junior Keegan McGovern lined an 8th inning triple off the wall in right, the first of his career.
Coach's Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the pitching staff and facing Tanner Houck...
"I'm proud of our pitchers. Gist, Kristofak and Cairnes were as good as I've seen them this year. Early on I thought our focus was really good at the plate. Tanner Houck will pitch in the big leagues, he'll be a first round pick and is as good as anyone we're going to see and early on I thought our guys had a really good approach."
Player Perspective: Starting Pitcher Andrew Gist
On his performance...
"I just had pretty good fastball command that allowed me to get ahead in counts and mix it up."
Center fielder Tucker Maxwell
On his homerun...
"I've been struggling. Everyone else has been trying to pick me up and I've been trying to learn from them. The pitching staff was unreal. They had 17 strikeouts. It's a lot easier to play and be efficient at the plate and play defense when you have someone up there pounding the zone."