The Citadel baseball team pulled to within one run of the Georgia Bulldogs Tuesday night in the bottom of the sixth inning and appeared to have a huge momentum swing going in their favor. However, a grand slam in the top of the very next inning derailed any hopes the home 'Dogs had of upending UGA as the Dawgs in red escaped Charleston with a 9-4 win at Joe Riley Park.
"We really didn't have an answer for them, tonight. I thought we got off to a pretty good start (offensively), but early in the game our first three (pitchers), they got in trouble with bases on balls and we just kept giving (Georgia) extra outs and put guys on base and they made us pay for it early," said head coach Tony Skole. "We struggled a little on the mound tonight, and they're a team that is very dangerous and they took advantage of it. I'm not pleased with our performance, but we have to keep working to fix it and will hit the road tomorrow for Winthrop."
The home Bulldogs (5-6) recorded four double plays in the first six innings. The four double plays, which was one away from the program record of five, helped keep The Citadel within striking distance of the Dawgs (8-5) for much of the early going.
William Kinney and Jonathan Sabo got things started quickly for the home Bulldogs in the bottom of the first inning as the duo had back-to-back doubles to lead things off with Kinney putting The Citadel on the board first as he raced home on Sabo's two-bagger.
Despite the early offensive firepower, UGA was able to answer by tying things up in the top of the second when Mason Meadows scored Aaron Schunk with a one-out single to right field.
Georgia then opened up a little bit of breathing room in the top of the third frame with three two-out runs. Tucker Bradley and Michael Curry each scored off a single by Adam Sasser through the right side and Sasser later raced home on a Citadel wild pitch.
In the top of the fifth, Curry once again scored off the bat of Sasser, giving the Bulldogs in red a four-run lead, but the Dawgs were in a similar position the night before at Charleston Southern.
The Citadel took a hold of some momentum in the bottom of the fifth when Andrew Judkins batted in Kinney for the second of his three runs on the evening. Then, in the very next inning, Kinney pulled the home 'Dogs to within one run with a two-run homer that went right down the left field foul line.
Having been in a similar position just the night before, UGA was able to battle back in the top of the seventh when Meadows hit his first-career grand slam, scoring Curry, Schunk and LJ Talley.
From there, Schunk came on to pitch for UGA and he never looked back, pitching the final 2.2 frames of scoreless ball that saw him strike out four batters without giving up a walk or a hit.
Devin Beckley (0-1) took his first loss on the year in 2.2 innings of work despite striking out three of the first four batters he faced. Kevin Smith (2-1) earned the win as he pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit ball while striking out a game-high five batters.
At the plate, Kinney led the way for The Citadel with a 2-for-3 performance that included his three runs scored and two runs batted in. He also tallied two putouts and three assists in the field.
UGA was led at the dish by Talley's 3-for-4 outing as six Bulldogs in red and black registered multiple hits.
The Citadel has a quick turnaround as the Bulldogs will hit the road tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7 for a game at Winthrop. The Bulldogs and Eagles will tangle in Rock Hill beginning at 6 p.m. The 'Dogs will then return home for a 12-game homestand, beginning this weekend with a four-game series against UCONN.