ATHENS, Ga.-----Fourth-ranked Georgia clinched its season-opening series over Richmond Saturday, posting a 9-3 victory at Foley Field in front of a crowd of 2,959.
The first three hitters in the Bulldog lineup combined to go 9-for-12 with six RBI, five stolen bases and seven runs scored. Georgia (2-0) grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first. Sophomore leadoff hitter Ben Anderson (3-for-3, 4 runs scored) reached with a base hit and scored on a double by senior Cam Shepherd (3-for-5, 3 RBI). Junior Tucker Bradley (3-for-4, 3 RBI) crushed his first home run of the year off the scoreboard in right field to make it 3-0.
An RBI-single by Bradley made it 4-0 in the second and then Georgia extended its leads to 7-0 with a three-run outburst in the fourth. Shepherd and Riley King collected an RBI while Anderson scored on a passed ball to highlight the scoring.
Trailing 7-1 in the fifth, the Spiders (0-2) threatened to climb back in the contest by loading the bases with one out. However, sophomore right-hander Cole Wilcox responded by striking out the next two batters to give him a career-high eight on the day. Wilcox got the win after pitching five innings while Spider starter Collin dropped to 0-1 after allowing seven runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Bulldog senior Justin Glover and freshman Jonathan Cannon pitched two innings apiece to close out the game.
-Sophomore Cole Wilcox struck out a career high eight over five innings to notch a win.
-Ben Anderson, who tallied a school record seven triples during his freshman year at Furman in 2018, picked up his first as a Bulldog.
-The Bulldogs went six-for-six in stolen bases with Anderson and Cam Shepherd getting a pair while Tucker Bradley and Connor Tate each had one.
-Freshman Jonathan Cannon made his debut and pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Sophomore RHP Cole Wilcox
On his first start this season...
"It felt good. We need to start like that, and I felt like it was my job to do that today and I felt really good about how we started."
On preparing for the season...
"I just want to throw a lot of strikes. Our defense is always really good behind us; we have a lot of returners back there so you really just have to trust them. I knew that Richmond was aggressive last night off of Emerson (Hancock) and I just wanted to keep them aggressive by throwing strikes and letting them get themselves out. I was glad to be able to do that."
On pitching with a lead...
"Any time you get to pitch with a lead it is a big deal. It gives you the opportunity to throw more strikes and more fastballs. Having the lead really gives us the ability to keep the pressure on them."
On winning the first series...
"It's definitely big. It's important. The comeback last night really helped. We had to grind that one out and then we were able to come out here and dominate today.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the first inning... "I thought we had a really good first inning. We had a lot of good at-bats and to have Ben (Anderson), Cam (Shepherd) and Tucker Bradley lead off the game like that back to back to back was a really good start. We had a little bit of a lull, they had a left-hander come out of the pen, and they tried to bring us down a little bit. Cole Wilcox was really good and Justin Glover gutted it out. He threw a ton of pitches in the bullpen last night and today to get ready. He wasn't at full strength, but I think he did a really good job. Jonathan Cannon did a great job closing us out."
On Ben Anderson...
"I think it's a testament for how hard he worked last year and had to do everything on his own (after transferring from Furman and having to sit out the season). He did things early with the coaches because he could not practice with the team. He went off and played in the Northwoods league this summer and saw a lot of bats so he played a lot this summer. He is just a really good player, a good baseball player, he's really solid defensively playing center with Randon (Jernigan) out. He just knows how to play the game and he plays it really hard."
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch at Foley Field slated for 1:02 p.m. (SECN+).