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February 15, 2014
Dawgs split with GSU
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Georgia might not have gotten off to the start that first-year coach Scott Stricklin would have liked, but Saturday's double-header split with Georgia Southern ultimately left him pleased.
There wasn't much to be happy about in Game One after Sam Howard scatted three hits over five innings, leading the Eagles to a 9-3 before the Bulldog bats responded in Game 2 to back pitcher Ryan Lawlor for an 11-3 win.
"That's not the way we wanted to start in Game One," said Stricklin. "I have to credit their pitcher, Sam Howard, because he kept us off balance. However I was pleased to see us bounce back in Game Two and respond the way we did. Baseball is a game where you can bounce back in a hurry, and Ryan Lawlor gave us a great start in that second game. We got guys on base, we were able to put some pressure on them, and that's something we weren't able to do in Game One."
The first game was one starter Sean McLaughlin (0-1) would just as soon forget.
After setting down the Eagles in order in the second, the sophomore righty didn't get out of the second after the Eagles struck for four runs, two scoring on a single by nine-hole hitter Dalton Busby.
Georgia Southern added a run in fifth against reliever David Sosebee, but Eagle starter Sam Howard (1-0) did not need any more help.
The junior lefty was outstanding, scattering three hits over five innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Georgia was finally able to scratch out a couple of runs in the sixth with Nelson Ward and Hunter Cole scoring on a throwing error by Busby. The Bulldogs' only other run scored on an RBI groundout by Jess Posey.
Cole went 3-for-4 to lead the Bulldogs who managed seven hits in Game One.
Game Two was a different story.
In that contest, freshmen Stephen Wrenn helped spark a five-run Georgia first with his first career hit and two stolen bases, along with Nelson Ward's two-run home run.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings.
Cole finished the day going a combined 6-for-9 at the plate with three runs scored, a pair of RBIs and a pair of doubles. Fellow outfielder Conor Welton went 3-for-5 in the second game of the doubleheader with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Ward went a combined 3-for-7 on the day, including five runs scored, three RBI, a home run, a stolen base and a walk while Posey drove in three runs on the day.
Defensively, the Bulldogs committed just one error in 18 innings, despite being forced to play Nelson at shortstop for the first time in his career following a hand injury to regular shortstop Michael Bell.
"I was encouraged that we played good defense," said Stricklin. "We knew Nelson would do a good job at shortstop. He's a great baseball player, and you can play him anywhere."
Lawlor (1-0) allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts over six innings.
Georgia and Georgia Southern wrap up their three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.