UGA baseball extends winning streak to eight after routing Western Carolina 6-2

ATHENS | Georgia extended its winning streak to eight games after defeating Western Carolina 6-2 Sunday at Foley Field in the final game of the Bulldog Invitational.

Georgia’s (10-6) victory was propelled behind a career high in innings pitched from senior Patrick Boling (2-1) who went seven and one-third innings allowing two runs on eight hits.

Jordan Smith (1-2) took the loss for the Catamounts (8-5) who gave up six runs, on six hits in six and one-third innings.

Offensively, the Bulldogs got most of their offense in a five-run outburst in which they sent eight men to the plate in the fourth inning. WCU had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame.

“I thought that was as good a game as we’ve played all year,” Georgia baseball head coach Scott Stricklin said. “That is a great team. too — in Western Carolina — they’ve beaten some good teams. We know that we needed a big outing out of Patrick (Boling) and we got it. Right from the first pitch he was feeling it. (Dylan) Cole and (Robert) Tyler were great out of the pen too.”

Cole finished off the eighth inning in relief of Boling, leaving the two runners he inherited stranded at second and first via strike out and fly-out. Tyler came in for the final inning, striking out one between and two groundouts.

Georgia’s five-run fourth inning was started by junior Nelson Ward, who went 3-for-3 with three doubles and scored two runs in the victory. In his past seven games, the shortstop is hitting .464, and he is one of only two Bulldogs (along with third baseman Hunter Cole) to have reached base safely in every game this season.

After Ward’s first double, junior Conor Welton crushed his first career home run over the right field fence. The knock also scored fellow classmate Nelson Ward, who led off with a frozen rope double to left center field setting up the profitable inning for Georgia. Hunter Cole and Jared Walsh continued the Dogs’ march around the bases drawing back-to-back walks following Welton’s homer. Zack Bowers brought home Cole with a double to left center field making it 3-1 Georgia.

The offensive explosion was capped off via two sacrifices. Sophomore Jess Posey hit a chopper over the pitcher’s head scoring Walsh. Heath Holder then brought home Bowers, who advanced to third on the Posey groundout, with a deep sac-fly to right field, extending the Bulldog lead to 5-1.

In the fifth inning, Georgia added another run to pad their lead. Ward got the offense started with his second double of the afternoon. Ward advanced to third on a Welton groundout leaving Cole. The third baseman drove in his 10th RBI of the season with an opposite field double.

After giving up their brief 1-0 lead in the fourth, Western Carolina got back a run in the sixth inning as first baseman Jacob Hoyle hit his second homer of the season to cut the Georgia lead to 6-2.

Georgia continues its current 16-game home stand Tuesday evening at Foley Field when they take on Western Kentucky in the first of a two-game mid-week series. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

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