COLUMBIA, S.C.--The 17th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs scored a pair of runs in the ninth to rally past South Carolina 3-2 Friday at Founders Park in front of a crowd of 6,684.
Georgia (23-7, 7-3 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the second with a two-out, run-scoring single by sophomore catcher Fernando Gonzalez. It scored graduate left fielder Connor Tate who led off the inning with a base hit to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Georgia put two on with one out in the fifth, and then USC starter Noah Hall came back to retire Ben Anderson and Cole Tate to keep it a 1-0 contest. Hall struck out 10 and allowed just one run on seven hits over seven innings but did not factor in the decision.
South Carolina (14-15, 3- SEC) grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth following a Bulldog miscue. With one out, Collin Burgess tied the game with a run-scoring double to left. Following a double to right and an intentional walk that loaded the bases, Georgia starter Nolan Crisp was lifted in favor of sophomore Jaden Woods. He came on and struck out pinch-hitter Jack Mahoney. Woods got Braylen Wimmer to bounce one up the middle that he deflected right to second baseman Cory Acton. He looked to step on the bag, however, the ball got away from him, allowing Burgess to score. On the play, Matt Hogan tried to score too and was thrown out at home by Acton to end the frame. Sophomore Will Pearson provided two scoreless innings of relief for the Bulldogs, and he picked off a runner at second in the eighth.
In the top of the eighth, Tate led off with a double to centerfield off USC reliever Cade Austin. With one out, Josh McAllister lined a single to left field and Tate was thrown out at home to maintain the Gamecock advantage. A wild pitch got McAllister to second but he was stranded after Chaney Rogers was retired. However, in the ninth, Georgia came through off Austin.
Senior Garrett Blaylock got the call to pinch-hit to lead off the inning, and he drew a walk. Pinch-runner Buddy Floyd came on for Blaylock. Acton struck out trying to bunt. Anderson followed with a walk to extend his on base streak to 28 games. Cole Tate laced a game-tying single to right, scoring Floyd as Anderson raced to third. Then, Corey Collins chopped one to third Kevin Madden who opted to try and turn a double play but Collins beat the throw as Tate scored the go-ahead run for a 3-2 advantage. Senior closer Jack Gowen set down the Gamecocks in order in the bottom of the ninth including a pair of strikeouts for his fourth save. Pearson picked up the win to move his record to 2-1 while Austin fell to 1-1.
"We knew Noah Hall was going to be a tough matchup because his changeup is really good and his fastball was up to 93," said Georgia's Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. "He did a nice job and kept our hitters off balance. The fifth inning got away from us, but when we didn't make a play or get the hit, the next guy stepped up, and that was the story tonight.
"Our pitchers were outstanding. We couldn't ask any more out of Nolan (Crisp) because he's been one of our go-to guys out of the bullpen, and now he's started two weeks in a row. He's a tough kid who competes, and he got it done. Jaden Woods did a great job coming in with the bases loaded. Will Pearson was awesome in getting a win. And Jack Gowen, that's the best I've seen him since maybe the SEC Tournament last year."
The series continues Saturday with first pitch at 4:02 p.m. (SECN+).
*With a single in the second inning, graduate Connor Tate extended his hitting streak to 11 games and his on base streak to 16 games. With a walk in the fifth, senior Cory Action extended his on base streak to 11 games.
*Junior RHP Nolan Crisp made his second SEC start of the year and matched his career-high at Georgia with 4.1 innings. He got the nod in place of ace Jonathan Cannon (6-1, 1.71 ERA) who is out this series due to a non-throwing injury/muscle strain.
*Graduate Ben Anderson extended his on base streak go to 28 games when he drew a walk in the ninth. He has reached base safely in every game he has played in this season.
*Georgia improved to 6-1 in one-run games this year.