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SEC Baseball Team Previews: Georgia Bulldogs

SEC Team Previews: Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs baseball program continues to be on the rise. In recent years head coach Scott Stricklin has brought Georgia closer and closer to Omaha. This year they’ll be hoping to break through the Regional to make that push.

2019 Record: 46-17 (21-9)

Postseason: 2-2 in Athens Regional

Perfect Game Recruiting Class: 12th

2020 Prediction: 2nd in the East

2019 Season

The Bulldogs had a dominant 2019 season, running straight through their nonconference schedule. The Bulldogs won the first four SEC series, including two out of three against eventual Champion Vanderbilt. They had four different series sweeps.

Georgia went 2-1 in the SEC Tournament, knocking off playoff teams Texas A&M and Arkansas before losing to Ole Miss. They were, however, unable to escape their own regional for the second year in a row. Florida State beat Georgia twice, scoring 22 runs over the two games.

2020 Schedule

Notable Non-Conference Games

February 28 – March 1: @ No.19 Georgia Tech 43-19, 8 RPI

April 7, 21: Clemson 35-26, 38 RPI

April 28: Coastal Carolina 36-26-1, 57 RPI

Georgia doesn’t have too much competition in the out of conference but a road series against Georgia Tech is certainly one to circle. The pair played three-midweek games last season in which Tech took two of three. They were one of very few teams to beat Georgia twice in 2019.

Two midweek games are sure to catch an eye. Clemson had a good run last year, but came up short in the regional. Similarly Coastal Carolina also went 1-2 in their regional. Both have playoff potential and would love the opportunity to boost their resume’s with a win over Georgia.

SEC West Opponents

April 3-5: @ No.20 Texas A&M

April 9-11: No.8 Auburn

May 1-3: No.25 Ole Miss

May 8-10: @ No.7 Arkansas

Not Playing: No.10 Mississippi State, No.11 LSU, Alabama

Georgia’s SEC West draw is manageable enough. They pulled the two top teams in Auburn and Arkansas. These are sure to set up electric weekends. Georgia took two out of three against Auburn a year ago on the road.

They got to skip the two middle squads and will get the Aggies and Rebels, two teams on the edge of the rankings. The Bulldogs should count on winning both these series if they intend on winning the East.

SEC Team Previews: Georgia Bulldogs
Hancock amassed 90.1 innings last season with an opponent batting average of just .185. (Photo by georgiadogs.com).

2020 Roster

Potential Starters

RHP Emerson Hancock: 8-3, 1.99 ERA

RHP Cole Wilcox: 3-2, 4.07 ERA

LHP C.J. Smith: 3-3, 4.35 ERA

Georgia had one of the best rotations in the SEC last year. They’ll have ace Emerson Hancock back. The arms of Tim Elliot and Tony Locey will need to be replaced. The pair combined for 29 starts and an 18-5 record.

Cole Wilcox is more than up for the challenge. Along with Hancock, he is expected to be a potential top-10 overall pick in the draft. He can hit the gun with his fastball as well as Hancock and also brings a superb slider.

Lefty C.J. Smith has seen his fair share of SEC batters. He started out the season really well before faltering in later starts that ran up his ERA. After fighting off some injury troubles he is back to 100% and ready to go.

Offensive Weapons

The lineup lost it’s three most potent hitters from last season. No one name jumps out like on other lineups but it has plenty of experience and is well balanced.

SEC Team Previews: Georgia Bulldogs
Riley King made the Preseason All-SEC Second Team. (Photo by georgiadogs.com).

Second baseman Riley King brings the hottest back from last year’s team. The junior slashed .295/.403/.440 last season. He leads returning players in batting average, home runs and RBIs. He’ll be a tough out and will be expected to bring the runs home for Georgia this season.

Alongside him is shortstop Cam Shepherd. Shepherd’s numbers have slipped since his freshman year which is a big reason he’s still on the roster and not already pro. He had eight home runs last year and has the power to do the job in the middle of the lineup. He brings senior leadership the Bulldogs need.

Outlook

Once again Georgia looks to have an extremely talented pitching staff. This year they’ll be without some star power in the lineup that now suits up for pro ball. They have a few corner pieces from last year that will help set up an adequate offense.

If the offense can get firing on all cylinders, Georgia can be one of the best teams in the country. Their starting rotation will ensure that even the worst of nights from the plate results in closely contested matchups.

 

 

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