ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia pitching staff carried the Bulldogs to a 5-1 win over Jacksonville State Wednesday at Foley Field.
Sophomore C.J. Smith (2-0) provided six shutout innings with a career-high seven strikeouts before giving way to Ryan Webb and Aaron Schunk who took care of the final three frames as the Bulldogs improved to 11-2.
Jacksonville State (5-9) employed five pitchers on the afternoon. Junior center fielder Tucker Maxwell hit his second home run of the season for a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Then, Schunk connected for a two-run home run later in the inning to make it 4-0. He picked up his fourth save by recording the final two outs
Bulldog graduate transfer John Cable entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth and notched a two-out RBI double to center field tallying another run to widen the Bulldog lead to 5-0.
Webb came on in the seventh inning. Jacksonville State got its lone run via a solo home run from Taylor Craven. Webb tossed 2.1 innings allowing three hits, one walk and two strikeouts before Schunk took the mound to close it out for the Bulldogs in the ninth for his 12th career save.
- Junior Tucker Maxwell recorded his second home run of the season.
- Junior Cam Shepherd reached base on a walk increasing his on-base streak to all 13, games this season.
- Sophomore left-handed pitcher C.J. Smith set a career high in strikeouts with seven.
- Senior second baseman extended his hitting streak to six games.
- Junior Aaron Schunk earned his 12th career save which moved him to the sixth spot for most saves in Bulldog history. He is tied with Dean Weaver. This was also Schunk's first game in which he hit a home run and recorded a save.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On C.J. Smith and his pitching performance...
"He is very Tom Glavine like. He throws his changeup well, and his fastball is good enough that it can get in on you. It runs 91 when he needs it. He has a good breaking ball and a good changeup. He has a really good demeanor on the mound. He pitches with a lot of confidence. He is a gamer. The bottom line is that when you turn the lights on he is a different guy."
On the excellence of the starting rotation as a whole...
"This is what we thought we had. I think we have had six different guys start, and they have all done a good job. We came into the season saying we have seven guys that are candidates to be starters. Ryan Webb is that other guy."
Junior 3B Aaron Schunk
On maintaining a high level of play as both a pitcher and a position player...
"I just try to go out every day just hoping to give our team a chance to win. That's kind of how I look at it. I try to put in as much time and as much effort in that I can that will get me into a position to help the team win. So I think that's been my mentality. I'm just trying to go out and compete every day."
On what the hitters conversation was after the game today...
"Just to continue to get better. We only had seven hits, and really a lot of our runs came off of two big swings, so that's something that we're really trying to push, not giving at bats away. Just trying to stay on it and really tire pitchers out with how good we are. So we're just working on trying to figure out how to tap into that as a team."
On his home run...
"I mean my mentality at the plate is to go up and just smash any baseball I can hit. So I saw a good pitch, did a really good job at laying off of that first slider, and just kind of going through that's a pitch a used to really swing at, and being able to hold off on that pitch and get a fast ball on the next one really set me up for that. That's what I've been trying to work on is just having a better approach to set me up for success."
Sophomore LHP C.J. Smith
On what he wanted to do on the mound...
"For me it's just attacking the strike zone, and really just trusting the defense and letting them work behind me. Just making it to where they can really make plays, and so far it's been working."
On his mindset and purpose on the mound...
"I try and keep a level head as much as I can. No matter what the outcome or the results of it, I just try to keep a level head about it, and trust that the work I put in the off season and before the games and stuff is really bailing through."
Georgia returns to action at Foley Field on Friday against Presbyterian College with the first pitch set for 3 p.m.