Hoo boy, what an infuriatingly beautiful game that was yesterday. Asa Lacy was the definition of pure dominance through 4.1 innings, until things turned sour for the final inning and a third. The Ags blew a 3-0 lead, eventually falling behind 5-3. Mikey Hoehner cut the deficit to 5-4 with a solo shot in the eighth. Then Jonathan Ducoff aka JOHNNY DUKES swooped in to save the day, blasting this two-out, go-ahead, three-run WHAMMY to put the Ags back on top, 7-5:
Unfortunately, Kasey Kalich’s recent struggles continued (albeit aided by some lackluster defense), as the Gators scored two runs to tie the game at seven apiece in the top of the ninth. Because of course.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 10th, where, with two outs and Cam Blake at second, Ducoff stepped into the box. And once again JOHNNY DUKES came up huge, lashing an 0-2 offering into the gap in left-center to walk it off:
Now the Aggies are on to the double-elimination round and the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (42-14, 21-9). The Dawgs are the No. 3 seed in Hoover this week, which is crazy to think about when considering their sparkling conference record of 21-9. That mark would be good enough to win the regular season crown in almost any other year (definitely not in 2013 when Vandy went 26-3 in league play), but alas, Vanderbilt’s 23-7 was in the way.
D1Baseball has Georgia securely in line to nab a national seed, projecting them to be No. 4 overall. The Dawgs are solid in all facets of the game, boasting an above average offense to go with excellent pitching and defense. At the plate, they’re led by a duo of Second-Team All-SEC performers, in 3B/Closer Aaron Schunk (.343/.372/.578, 11 HRs, 44 RBIs) and 2B LJ Talley (.346/.459/.512, 8 HRs, 40 RBIs). As a team, Georgia ranks in the top half of the SEC in just about every category aside from stolen bases/attempts. That includes top five in slugging, OBP, and homers.
Ace righty Emerson Hancock leads the way on the mound, posting a league-leading 1.31 ERA to go along with a 0.74 WHIP, 91 Ks, and an opposing batting average of .155 in 82.2 innings. Schunk, the closer, ranks third in the SEC in saves with 11. As a team, the Dawgs rank in the top five in the SEC in every meaningful category. They lead the league opposing average, innings pitched, and hits allowed. They trail only A&M in ERA, as well as ranking second in saves behind Vandy. These guys are good.
The Aggies will go with lefty Chris Weber (4-1, 3.34 ERA), presumably saving John Doxakis for down the line. Georgia will counter with junior righty Tim Elliott (6-3, 2.93 ERA).