No. 25 Commodores complete sweep of Georgia
NASHVILLE, TN – Georgia dropped its eighth straight on the road Sunday as 25th-ranked Vanderbilt defeated the Bulldogs 6-1 in front of a crowd of 3,353.
Georgia (21-22-1, 7-12-1 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the second. With two outs, first baseman Heath Holder reached on an error by first baseman Zander Wiehl. Freshman Mike Bell stepped up and smashed an RBI-double off the “Green Monster” in left, a 35-foot-wall at Hawkins Field.
Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the first as the respective pitchers registered key strikeouts. The Bulldogs had runners and second and third with one out and Tyler Ferguson retired Nelson Ward and Hunter Cole. Vanderbilt second baseman Dansby Swanson had a leadoff double. Freshman Stephen Wrenn made a superb diving catch on a sinking liner by Xavier Turner for the first out. Then, sophomore David Sosebee struck out Bryan Reynolds and Wiehl to end the first. Vanderbilt threatened again in the fourth after a pair of two-out walks. Stolen bases moved both in to scoring position and Sosebee struck out catcher Jason Delay to maintain a 1-0 edge.
The Commodores (33-12, 11-10 SEC) grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Sosebee issued a leadoff walk and then hit a batter. Xavier Turner popped up a bunt for the first out. Georgia went to the bullpen and turned to Jared Cheek. He walked his first batter to load the bases for Wiehl who then smacked a two-run single to right. Cheek recovered to retire the next two hitters to keep it a one-run contest. Sosebee was making his first career SEC start and just his second overall this season after contributing solid relief this year. On Sunday, he got the loss to fall to 0-3, pitching 4.1 innings and surrendering two runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Ferguson notched the win to move his mark to 6-3 after providing five innings and allowing one unearned run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. The Commodores turned to Adam Ravenelle who pitched the next three innings and Brian Miller took care of the ninth frame. Georgia made three errors in the sixth that accounted for two runs as Vanderbilt extended its lead to 4-1. Wiehl hit his fifth home run of the year in the seventh plus the Commodores pushed across a run in the eighth for the final.
“It’s been a long road trip, we’ve faced some good teams, and we have to play better baseball all around the field,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “The last two weekends, we’ve played a couple of teams on the road that will be hosting regionals. Now we go home and get a chance to take a breath and work on some things. We play two of our final three SEC series at home, and we have an opportunity to get it going.”
Georgia returns to action Friday at Foley Field when it starts an SEC series against 11th-ranked South Carolina (34-11, 12-9 SEC).