Mississippi State third baseman Alex Detz picked up three hits Friday night, but the Georgia Bulldogs scored in five out of eight innings to pick up a 7-1 victory at Foley Field in Athens.
Georgia (13-6, 1-0) forced Mississippi State (13-8, 0-1) to go to the bullpen early when they chased the Bulldogs starter Ben Bracewell (2-2) after just two innings on the mound. Georgia's Conor Welton picked up a one-out single in the first inning and later scored on an error to put the home team up 1-0. In the second inning, Daniel Nichols led off the inning with a single and later scored on a Jess Posey double after advancing to second an a passed ball to put Georgia ahead 2-0. Posey scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Wrenn to give Georgia a 3-0 lead. Bracewell managed to avoid anymore trouble in the inning, but John Cohen turned the game over to Austin Sexton at the start of the bottom of the third inning.
In the third Sexton walked leadoff batter Jared Walsh, and Nichols made him pay with a two-run homer to put Georgia ahead 5-0. Sexton retired five of the next six batters he faced to keep Georgia from doing more damage before handing the ball to Vance Tatum at the start of the bottom of the fifth inning.
Before Tatum took the hill, the Bulldogs picked up two hits in the top of the fifth inning on back-to-back one-out singles by Derrick Armstrong and Demarcus Henderson, but Zack Randolph hit a fly ball to centerfield, and Henderson ended up being doubled up on the play to end the inning.
Just like Sexton before him, Tatum gave up a run in his first inning of work when Walsh, who singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, scored on a Posey double to put Georgia ahead 6-0 after five frames. In the sixth inning, Georgia struck again when Nelson Ward singled and later scored on a wild pitch to increase Georgia's lead to 7-0, forcing Cohen to go to Myles Gentry, who finished the game for the Bulldogs.
In the top of the eighth , Mississippi State finally got to Georgia starter Ryan Lawlor (2-1), picking up its only run of the game thanks to a Wes Rea RBI single. Randolph reached base on an error, and he advanced to scoring position on a single by Detz before Rea drove him home with another single to make the score 7-1.
The Bulldogs will now look to avoid a tenth consecutive loss in Athens when the teams meet in the second game of the series at 11 am CT.
Notes of Interest
- Coming into the game in quite a slump (0-18), Alex Detz went 3 for 4, picking up his sixth multi-hit game of the year.
- The Bulldogs have now dropped their SEC Opener in five consecutive seasons. Last year, Mississippi State lost their first three SEC series.
- Mississippi State now stands 40-45 all-time against Georgia.