ATHENS — Second-ranked Georgia crushed 17th-ranked Georgia Tech 12-2 Tuesday in front of a Foley Field crowd of 3,009.
Bulldog starter Tim Elliott (5-1) tossed seven innings and allowed just a pair of solo home runs, while striking out six Yellow Jackets to even the season series. With their latest win, the Bulldogs improve to 28-6 while Tech drops to 22-11.
Tech starter Amos Willingham (4-2) gave up three runs in just two innings on a staff night as eight hurlers saw action. After Elliott, junior Justin Glover, sophomore James Williams and junior Christian Ryder closed the game out for the Bulldogs.
“Tim has earned his position. Earlier in the year he wasn’t getting the high profile starts, but once we get in to the meat of the schedule where he will be facing Clemson and Georgia Tech five times between the two of those teams he has proven himself," Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. "He’s had three great starts against those teams and has really thrown the ball well. I’m just so proud of him."
"(It feels) huge," Elliott said. "You know I said in my interview (at Tech) that we're going to come back punching harder next time and we did, and it's huge. They're our rivals definitely. They celebrated a little bit, and it meant a lot to them to beat us. So it means a lot to us to beat them."
Stricklin said the offense came in focused.
“(At the plate) we were the aggressors tonight, and we definitely played with a chip on our shoulder which we need to do. Especially in this series, it’s a huge rivalry," he said. "They came at us last game and they got us, but we were ready to play tonight. This may have been our best game that we’ve played all season. Tim Elliott was great, defensively I don’t think we bobbled a ball, we made every single play and just had a lot of really good at-bats.”
Batting leadoff for the first time this season, junior centerfielder Tucker Maxwell immediately made an impact, launching a home run into the bleachers in right field. It was the first leadoff home run by a Bulldog since 2016 when Stephen Wrenn did it against Alabama. After junior third baseman Aaron Schunk (2-3, 3R, 1 RBI) reached on an error, senior second baseman LJ Talley (3-4, 2RBI) picked up an RBI-single, scoring Schunk, as Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, junior first baseman Patrick Sullivan, making his first start in 13 games after being sidelined with a concussion, crushed an offering from Willingham into the right field bleachers, giving Georgia a 3-0 advantage. In the third inning, Georgia tacked on two more runs to extend its lead to 5-0. First, Schunk delivered with an RBI single, scoring sophomore left fielder Riley King, who singled and stole second base. Then, junior shortstop Cam Shepherd hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Schunk.
"That was crazy. I don't know I was just trying to get a good pitch and was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it, and luckily it went over," Sullivan said. "I just was still having some issues, like some symptoms and some headaches. So once I felt comfortable I went up to him (Coach Stricklin) and told him I was feeling pretty good and didn't get in the Vandy game Sunday, but I got in tonight. I was fortunate enough to play well."
Georgia Tech got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when junior Tristin English hit a solo hom erun. The Bulldogs responded in the fifth inning, scoring two runs on three hits. Schunk scored on a throwing error, and Talley scored on another sacrifice fly from Shepherd. In the sixth inning, junior Kyle McCann hit a sole home run to right field for the Yellow Jackets, bringing the score to 7-2.
The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth and four runs in the seventh for the final. The rubber game of the series will be April 23 at SunTrust Park in a game that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
-- For the first time this season, junior Tucker Maxwell batted leadoff. In his first at bat in this new role he hit his seventh homerun of the year, and 15thof his career – both team highs. This is the first time Georgia has led off a game with a home run since 2016, when Stephen Wenn did it against Alabama.
-- Junior Patrick Sullivan was in the starting lineup for the first time since March 15th. In the second inning, he hit his second home run of the season.
-- Making his return from injury, sophomore catcher Mason Meadows was back in the starting lineup. This was his first start since March 24thwhen Georgia played LSU. He went 1-3 with a single in his return from a facial fracture from a foul ball on a swing..
-- With an RBI single in the first inning, senior LJ Talley now has a five game hitting streak. He also singled in the third and fifth innings, giving him 16 multiple hit games on the season, and four three-hit games.
-- Freshman Chaney Rogers now has a five game hitting streak after singling in the sixth inning.
-- All nine Georgia starters recorded a hit.
Georgia will head to Knoxville to take on Tennessee in an SEC series that begins Thursday at 7 p.m. (SEC Network).