Four starts into his Georgia career and pitcher Sean McLaughlin is living up to the hype.
McLaughlin already made Bulldog baseball history when skipper David Perno tabbed him as the first true freshman to start a season-opener against Georgia Southern, and Friday night showed visiting Liberty exactly why by tossing six inning of four-hit ball to lead the Bulldogs to a 12-0 win.
"He makes me look good, doesn't he?" Perno said. "No, he's unique for a freshman, he really is, to have as much fun as he does and to be as competitive as he is."
A former 38th-round pick of the Atlanta Braves, McLaughlin(3-0) hasn't given up more than two earned runs in a game, that coming in the opener against the afore-mentioned Eagles. Friday's effort lowered his ERA to 1.38.
The victory against the Flames was his third straight as the former Northview High standout set season-high marks in both innings pitched with six and strikeouts with seven. He only walked one batter.
Blake Dieterich followed with two innings of shutout relief, followed by Ross Ripple who retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
"You always think as a pitcher you're not going to give up a run," McLaughlin said. "But getting more experience has definitely helped me."
Meanwhile, Georgia's bats provided more than enough support.
Shortstop Kyle Farmer had three hits and drove home four runs for the sixth time in his career, followed by Curt Powell who went 3-for-4 and drove in two.
The Bulldogs (6-7) outhit the Flames (9-4) 15-4.
After scoring a run in the third, Georgia added two more in the fourth, first on Zack Bowers' fourth home run to left and later on Farmer's base hit to left for a 3-0 lead.
There would be plenty more to come.
The Bulldogs exploded for seven more runs in the seventh, with Farmer, Powell and Jared Walsh driving in two each. Georgia capped the scoring with two final runs in the eighth.
"That's one of our goals, to put up the big inning," Farmer said. "The more big innings, the more you win, I guess. That's how baseball works. That was definitely fun. I got to hit twice that inning. That doesn't happen too often."
NOTES: Georgia and Liberty continue their three-game set Saturday at 3 p.m. with Bulldog Patrick Boling (1-2, 6.28) facing Brooks Roy (2-0, 0.50). The series wraps up Sunday at 2 p.m.
Farmer's seventh-inning double was the 59th of his career, tying him with Gordon Beckham for fourth on UGA's all-time list. "Oh gosh, Gordon's a great player to follow," Farmer said. "We'll see, I don't even look at those things. I'll probably doublelesss (sic) from here on out."