MO State HS Sports

Four-Run Fourth Propels Georgia Past Baseball in Series Finale

Jeric Curtis

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia scored four times in the fourth inning to seize control of a see-saw contest, then relied on the relief work of Kolten Smith to secure a 10-7 victory over University of Missouri baseball Saturday afternoon in the rubber match of the two clubs’ Southeastern Conference series at Foley Field.

For the third straight game in the series, Mizzou (16-21, 5-10 SEC) rallied from an early deficit against the Bulldogs, this time erasing a 5-0 deficit with a four-run third, followed by Tucker Moore’s game-tying home run in the fourth.

But the Bulldogs (27-9, 7-8 SEC) responded with the afternoon’s biggest rally, capitalizing on three walks and two hit batsmen to plate four runs. Slate Alford, who drove in three runs on the day, provided the go-ahead hit with a two-run single off Bryce Mayer that handed Georgia a 7-5 lead. A Logan Jordan sacrifice fly and a bases loaded walk to Fernando Gonzalez added two more runs, giving Smith and the Bulldogs all the offense they would need.

Given the four-run cushion, Smith locked into a groove and dispatched 14 of the first 15 hitters he faced after taking over with two on and nobody out in the fourth. The right-hander promptly extinguished the Tigers’ threat with two of his career-high 10 strikeouts, before cruising to the finish line. He retired eight straight MU hitters at one point, striking out the side in both the sixth and eighth innings.

Smith (4-2) finished his day with 10 strikeouts — a season-best by a Georgia pitcher — over 6.0 innings, over which he scattered five hits and allowed just two unearned runs.

Mizzou, which overcame a 4-1 deficit to pull out a 6-5 victory in Friday’s second game of the series, used big performances from a deep cast of standouts to come all the way back from its early deficit Saturday. Jeric Curtis led the charge with his second three-hit game as a Tiger, while Drew Culbertson added a pair of hits to log his second consecutive multi-hit performance against the Bulldogs.

Curtis sparked the Tigers’ biggest inning, drawing a walk to open the third. A pair of hit batsmen loaded the bases, and Jedier Hernandez put Mizzou on the board with a sac fly to left. With two out, Matt Garcia delivered a run-scoring single, before Brock Daniels doubled two more home on the next offering from Josh Roberge, pulling the Tigers to within a single run.

Following a scoreless frame by starting pitcher Javyn Pimental (1-2), Mizzou knotted the score in the fourth when Moore clobbered a 1-0 pitch from Roberge, sending his second home run as a Tiger over the wall in left-center.

But it would be all Georgia from that point, as Pimental issued a walk to Sebastian Murillo to open the fourth, before hitting Corey Collins. After Mayer took over with two on and one out, another hit by pitch loaded the bases and set up Alford’s go-ahead single to left that put Georgia in front to stay.

The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the eighth on Clayton Chadwick’s two-out single, stretching the margin to 10-5.

Mizzou mounted a late rally in the ninth, after Jackson Lovich beat out an infield chopper and Garcia belted a two-run homer to right.

Garcia finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBIs to pace Mizzou, while Kaden Jacobi turned in a career-best 2 2/3 inning relief stint, holding the Bulldogs hitless while striking out a pair of batters.


  • With the victory, Georgia claimed just its second home SEC series win in six all-time matchups against the Tigers in Athens.
  • The Bulldogs took a slim 17-16 overall edge against the Tigers, but Mizzou maintains a 10-8 all-time mark vs. the Bulldogs in Athens.
  • Garcia hit .500 (7-for-14) with five RBIs for the series to lead the Tigers.
  • Culbertson extended his hit streak to a career-best five-straight games; the freshman also notched his sixth multi-hit effort.
  • MU pitchers recorded 11 strikeouts, giving the Tigers 73 punchouts in their last six SEC games (since April 5); Mizzou has totaled at least 13 K’s in four of those outings.


Mizzou will wrap up a four-game road swing with a Tuesday (April 16) contest against Missouri State. First pitch from Hammons Field in Springfield is slated for 6:30 p.m. (CDT).

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics