Presbyterian‚Äôs two-hour trip back to Clinton, S.C., might prove to be a bit longer than usual, thanks to the Georgia baseball team.
The Bulldogs (14-8) returned to its winning ways Tuesday night, topping the Blue Hose 11-0 at Foley Field.
Starter Jared Walsh (1-0), a junior from Duluth, continued Georgia‚Äôs dominance over Presbyterian (10-10-1) by throwing five innings of two-hit baseball in his second start of the season. He walked only two batters in about 60 pitches, lowering his ERA nearly seven runs to 2.08.
‚ÄúWalsh is a guy who has been a staple for this team for the last couple of years on the mound,‚Äù head coach Scott Stricklin said. ‚ÄúHe hadn‚Äôt been able to get comfortable in his first two outings and it was outstanding to see him throw the ball like that.‚Äù
Walsh and the six relievers that followed combined for a five-hit shutout to secure the Bulldogs‚Äô 13th straight win over the Blue Hose. Three of those relievers had only pitched a combined four innings this season before Tuesday.
‚ÄúWe wanted to give those guys a shot of confidence,‚Äù Stricklin said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve been good for us in intrasquad (games) but you got to have some success on the field when the scoreboard is on.‚Äù
For a team two games removed from its longest win streak since 2009 (the Bulldogs won 11 straight games before dropping two of three to Mississippi State last weekend), Georgia didn‚Äôt waste time getting runs and hits against Presbyterian. The team scored 11 times and every starter reached base at least once, for a total of 12 hits and eight walks.
The Bulldogs took advantage of several Blue Hose defensive miscues. Georgia‚Äôs first run came in an unusual way, as Presbyterian starter Aaron Lesiak (0-1) balked with the bases loaded. Lesiak came into Tuesday‚Äôs game with only four walks to his name in seven appearances. He left Athens with four more.
‚ÄúIf we had won this one on a balk, that would have been pretty strange,‚Äù said catcher Brandon Stephens (2-for-4).
The fourth inning saw Georgia string together four straight singles, three of them for RBIs and one of them causing Presbyterian‚Äôs right fielder some trouble. The Bulldogs had a 5-0 lead by the end of the inning.
They added five more in the sixth, when Hunter Cole (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-RBI single. He has now reached base safely in all 22 games this season.
‚ÄúI try not to (think about the streak) because then I‚Äôll end up jinxing myself,‚Äù the third baseman said. ‚ÄúFor the most part, I‚Äôm just trying to go out there and trust in what I know how to do.‚Äù
The Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game series against Louisiana State University that starts Friday at 8 p.m.