Redshirt senior pitcher Patrick Boling made it a little easier for the Georgia baseball team to pick up the sweep in third game of the weekend series against Binghamton, winning 9-2 on Sunday.
Boling threw seven scoreless innings while giving up six hits and three walks. He also struck out three Binghamton (3-7) batters.
“All you’ve really got to do is throw strikes and they’ll pick you up behind you and that was really fun because it was a true team win today,” Boling said. “They really picked me up a lot today.”
Coming into the game, Boling was in need of a good start. In his first two outings, he lasted just a total of 6.2 innings and had a 5.40 ERA and a .367 average against him.
“A lot of ways my first two starts I had better stuff, better command, I actually only had one walk those first two,” Boling said. “But today, they were just finding gloves. Baseball’s a funny sport. Just try to be the same pitcher and have great guys behind me and I definitely have great guys behind me.”
Boling also had some help from his lineup.
The Georgia offense put up three runs in the first inning and three more in the second inning, giving Boling a 6-0 lead for his last five innings of work.
“It makes it a lot easier [when we have a lead],” redshirt junior catcher Brandon Stephens said. “It allows us to attack hitters more as opposed to trying to work around some people. It allows us to pitch to contact.”
Although the lead made Boling more comfortable, head coach Scott Stricklin felt he got too comfortable.
Up 7-0 going into the fifth inning, Boling walked the leadoff batter. When Boling got back into the dugout, Stricklin challenged him to be more aggressive and he responded by recording two of his three strikeouts in his last two innings of work and allowing just one more hit.
“I thought his last two innings were maybe his best two innings,” Stricklin said. “That was encouraging to see him really compete after that fifth inning … He’s a senior. He’s got a lot of experience, a lot of poise and handled it the right way.”
The game marked the first time Boling had gone seven innings in his career. It was also the first time Georgia had swept a series this season. Georgia has won four of its last five after losing five of its first six.
“We’re happy with the win, we’re happy that we swept, but you can’t be satisfied and you can’t feel like, ‘Hey, we’ve got this thing figured out,’” Stricklin said. “We’ve still got a ways to go. We’ve still got to get better as a team and continue to have good at bats for 27 outs.”
Georgia continues its home stand when Georgia Tech comes to Athens on Tuesday. Georgia plays Tuesday, Wednesday, and has a weekend series with Western Kentucky before Southeastern Conference games begin on March 12.