KENNESAW, GA.------After four hours and 21 minutes, the 12th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs emerged with a 17-15 victory over Kennesaw State here Tuesday in front of 1,365 fans at Stillwell Stadium.
The teams combined to each score in six of the nine frames and were held scoreless in the third, seventh and ninth innings. The Bulldogs employed eight pitchers on the night while the Owls used seven in the longest game of the season for both clubs.
Georgia (25-8) scored five runs on three hits and four walks in the first. In the frame, sophomores Corey Collins and Parks Harber collected RBI-singles to extend their hitting streaks to six and eight games. Connor Tate, Chaney Rogers and Cory Acton notched RBI as the Bulldogs sent 10 to the plate against sophomore starter Makenzie Stills. Georgia freshman Coleman Willis, who was making his fourth career start, didn't make it out of the first, allowing four runs on one hit with three walks and hit a batter. With two on and one out, the Bulldogs looked to junior Michael Polk who finished the inning as the Owls also batted around. After 44 minutes, Georgia led 5-4 heading to the second.
With one out in the second, Collins smashed his team-leading ninth home run for a 6-4 advantage. Georgia turned to sophomore right-hander Will Pearson to start the second. Cash Young's two-out RBI-double made it a 6-5 game heading to the third. Georgia got a pair of runs in the fourth but the Owls answered with three in their half of the inning to tie the contest at 8-all.
Bulldog senior second baseman Cory Acton smacked a solo home run to start the fifth to put Georgia back in front 9-8. A two-out, run-scoring single by Owl right fielder Spencer Hanson off Hank Bearden tied the game at nine in the fifth. In the sixth, Georgia went up 10-9 on an infield single by Chaney Rogers off pitcher Smith Pinson's glove. Acton followed with a two-run single and Rogers eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 13-9. Connor Tate added a two-out, two-run single for a 15-9 lead. KSU answered once again, plating three runs on five hits to close the gap to 15-12. With two on and two outs, Georgia brought in Max DeJong in relief of Davis Rokose who got Hansen swinging to send it to the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Georgia put the game in the hands of sophomore Jaden Woods, and he retired the Owls in order and took care of the eighth and ninth for his third save. With two outs in the eighth,
Tate smashed his fifth home run of the season, a two-run blast to left to make it 17-12. It marked his 18th career home run and tied his career high with a 5-RBI night for the fourth time. However, for the sixth time in eight innings, when Georgia scored, the Owls answered. KSU got three runs on two hits and an error to cut Georgia's lead to 17-15. Both teams failed to score in the ninth. Bearden notched the win to improve to 2-1 while Nathan Holler got the loss to fall to 3-3 as KSU dropped to 21-10.
"I thought we showed a lot of toughness tonight because it wasn't pretty, and we found a way to get the win" said Georgia's Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. "Max (DeJong) got a big strikeout and Jaden (Woods) came in there and closed it out. We continue to have guys step up. We've got some guys banged up, and we're hoping to hold on and get healthy down the stretch."
Georgia returns to Southeastern Conference action Thursday when it plays host to Texas A&M (20-12, 6-6 SEC). First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be available on SECN+ as well as the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
*Before the game, Coach Stricklin announced that starting shortstop Cole Tate will miss the next few weeks due to a stress fracture in his leg. Senior Josh McAllister got the start at shortstop and went 2-for-5 at the plate with one putout and three assists.
*Graduate Ben Anderson extended his on base streak go to 31 games when he drew a walk to lead off the game. He has reached base safely in every game he has played in this season.
*Sophomore Parks Harber's RBI-single in the first extended his hitting streak to a career-best eight games. He had a streak of reaching base in 10 straight plate appearances, going 7-for-7 with three walks in the past three games before a flyout in the sixth. Tonight, he was 2-for-4 with two walks and two RBI.
*Senior Cory Acton's solo home run in the fifth gave him a 14-game on base streak and a 9-8 lead. It was his first as a Bulldog and eighth of his career. He had a career-high 4 RBI on the night.
*Graduate Connor Tate matched his career high with 5 RBI for the fourth time.