Thursday May 23rd, 2024 2:14AM

Diamond Dogs set to open Missouri series on Thursday

By Georgia Sports Communications

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia is set to begin a Southeastern Conference series with Missouri on Thursday with first pitch slated for 7:02 p.m. on the SEC Network.

However, there is 40 percent chance of rain for most of the late afternoon and evening in Athens.

Friday and Saturday’s games will be streamed on SECN+, and the entire series will be available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

The Bulldogs (25-8, 5-7 SEC) are glad to be home after playing three of their first four SEC series on the road including the past two weekends. The Tigers (15-19, 4-8 SEC) swept fourth-ranked Florida in Columbia last weekend. However, they dropped a midweek affair with SIU-Edwardsville 5-4 before coming to Athens. Georgia bounced back from going 1-2 at No. 19 Mississippi State with a 15-5 run-rule victory over Kennesaw State in eight innings here this past Tuesday.

Georgia and Tennessee lead the nation with 89 home runs. The Bulldogs are batting .323 with a .634 slugging percentage and .448 on base percentage. The team ERA is 5.25 and team fielding percentage is .975. Missouri enters the series batting .247 with 33 home runs, a .391 slugging percentage and .358 on base percentage. The Tigers own a 5.32 ERA and a .974 fielding percentage.

The Bulldogs are led by sophomore All-America Charlie Condon who ranks among the national leaders in several offensive categories. He is batting .468 with an NCAA-best 21 home runs while tallying 44 RBI. Senior Corey Collins is next at .382-12-32. Freshman Tre Phelps has seen his average jump to .356 of late. He is enjoying a five-game stretch where he is batting .4524, going 11-for-21 with six RBI. The Tigers top hitters include sophomores Brock Daniels (.341-3-18) and Jackson Lovich (.307-6-21) plus­ senior Trevor Austin (.279-8-21)

Series History: The series with the Tigers began when they joined the SEC in 2013. It is tied at 15-15. Missouri swept Georgia last year 13-3, 14-12 and 5-4, and the Tigers won the series in Athens 2-1 in 2022. Georgia’s last series win came 2021 in Columbia (2-1), and the last one in Athens came via sweep in 2019. In 2017, the final game of the series here was played at then SunTrust Park in Atlanta, which marked the first-ever game open to the public in the Atlanta Braves new field. A crowd of 33,025 saw the Tigers beat Georgia 6-1 to win the series. It was the second largest crowd in college baseball history.

Starting Rotation: Georgia’s rotation for the Missouri series will feature former Buford standout and sophomore left-hander Jarvis Evans (2-1, 4.50 ERA) on Thursday followed by sophomore right-hander Leighton Finley (2-1, 4.96 ERA) on Friday while Saturday’s starter is TBA. Missouri’s rotation is TBA.

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