A sixth-inning grand slam was all it took as Auburn fell 4-0 in its series opener against No. 20 Georgia on Thursday.
The pitching held both teams scoreless up until the grand slam from the Bulldogs. Starting pitcher Jack Owen held Georgia scoreless through the first five innings. Owen gave up a walk and a single at the top of the sixth that led to the eventual grand slam.
Georgia pitchers Ryan Webb and Ben Harris combined to shut out the Tigers. Webb pitched six innings and struck out six before Harris came in as relief.
“I tip my hat to Webb,” said head coach Butch Thompson. “I thought anybody that was watching the game, you just have to. That’s probably the best SEC outing by an opponent that we’ve faced.”
Owen did not pitch a perfect game but was able to escape multiple on-base situations from the Bulldogs. The first three innings each featured a double from Georgia, but Owen was able to leave a total of four baserunners on bag to end the innings. He kept this momentum going with a 1-2-3 fourth.
The fifth inning had two-base errors for Owen. He escaped this jam with a flyout and two strikeouts to close the inning. In the sixth inning, Mason Barnett relieved Owen with two runners on and no outs.
Barnett was able to strike out the first batter he faced but lost momentum as he walked the second batter, which loaded the bases for Georgia. Fernando Gonzalez's grand slam into right field gave Georgia its four runs.
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Auburn’s bats attempted to rally against Georgia’s pitching but came up short. Rankin Woley led Auburn at the plate and had a near homer in the first. He also had a shot that went to the warning track in the fourth but came up short.
Woley singled to give Auburn runners on the corners in the seventh, but a double play ended the inning.
Auburn and Georgia will meet again on Friday for the second game of the series at 7 p.m. CST in Athens, Georgia.
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