March 14, 2014
ATHENS----Georgia rode a strong pitching performance from sophomore Ryan Lawlor to its 11th straight win on Friday with a 7-1 decision over No. 24 Mississippi State in the SEC opener at Foley Field.
Lawlor (2-1) picked up the win after setting a new career high with 7.2 innings pitched and seven strikeouts. He allowed just one unearned run on eight hits and no walks. Senior Dylan Cole came on to record the final four outs.
Georgia (13-6, 1-0 SEC) jumped in front with one run in the the first on a deep single by Hunter Cole. Right fielder Demarcus Henderson misjudged the ball and Conor Welton was able to score from first on the error. They tacked on two more in the second after a RBI double by Jess Posey and a sacrifice fly by freshman Stephen Wrenn to push the lead to 3-0.
In the third the hometown Bulldogs struck again on Daniel Nichols' first home run of the season. The two-run shot to right field gave Georgia a 5-0 advantage.
"Ryan Lawlor was outstanding tonight in his SEC debut and threw the best game of the year for us," said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. "He had command of his fastball and threw his breaking ball for a strike against a very good Mississippi State team. We've been playing really well, excellent defense out there again tonight and had good approaches at the plate. Sometimes one at bat or one play can change the course of the game. It was a great win overall."
Mississippi State (12-8, 0-1 SEC) threatened in the top of the fifth, but shortstop Nelson Ward was able to double up Henderson at first on a fly out to center as Wrenn fired back to Ward who threw to Jared Walsh at first. Also in the contest, Ward made another diving contest to keep the shutout going until MSU pushed a run across in the eighth. In the bottom half Georgia added to its lead on Posey's second RBI of the day, an infield single to second to make it 6-0. The team would add its final run in the sixth after Ward (2-4) stole third and then came home on a wild pitch during the same at bat.
Mississippi State's Ben Bracewell (2-2) got the loss after lasting only two innings while giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits, a walk and two strikeouts. MSU used four pitchers on the night.
Hunter Cole (1-5) remained the only Bulldog to reach base in every game this season (19 straight). Posey (3-4, 2B, 2 RBIs) also notched his fourth multi-RBI game of the season and tied his career high with three hits. Welton's three-hit night moved him to a team-leading 22-for-47 since the win streak began (.468). He has also reached base in 18 straight games. Jared Walsh (0-1) finished with four walks, the first time a Georgia player has had four walks since Cole had four against Georgia Southern (Feb. 16).
Georgia will face Mississippi State again on Saturday in game two of the three-game series at 12:05 p.m. at Foley Field. The game will be televised on FSN.
GEORGIA-MISS. STATE TO PLAY SATURDAY DOUBLEHEADER AT FOLEY FIELD
With the forecast calling for 90 percent chance of rain on Sunday, Georgia and Mississippi State a have altered their Southeastern Conference baseball weekend schedule and will now play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 12:05 p.m. ET at Foley Field.
Saturday's first game of the day will be televised by FSN, and the final game of the series will start no later than 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest. Both games will be nine innings. One ticket is good for both games on Saturday.
Fans holding a ticket for Sunday's Georgia-Miss. State game can exchange that ticket for any remaining regular season game at Foley Field this year provided tickets are still available. The tickets can be exchanged at the Foley Field Box Office which opens two hours before every game.
In game one of the Georgia-MSU series Friday, Georgia dispatched MSU 7-1 to extend its winning streak to 11 games. The Bulldogs are now 13-6 overall, 1-0 in the SEC, while MSU is 13-8, 0-1 SEC.