“I thought James Hicks was really good for them,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “When we had opportunities, he really beared down, and we just weren’t able to get the big hit with runners in scoring position. We had a couple of opportunities early, but we just didn’t get the job done. They kept the pressure on. They just kept putting the ball in play, and some balls fell in for them, but that’s what happens when you put the ball in play.”
No. 11-seed Georgia (29-27, 11-20 SEC) was held to five hits. Sebastian Murillo went 3-for-3 for the Bulldogs. Jaden Woods started and took the loss. He pitched 1-2/3 innings and allowed three hits and two earned runs. He faced eight batters and threw 31 pitches. The staff ace, Woods missed his previous five SEC starts with biceps tendinitis.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Stricklin said of Woods. “It was going to be 30 pitches. If there had been a left-hander up, we would have left him in there to face them. We just thought that was the best move to make and unfortunately they got the base hit there on him. But it was always going to be 30 pitches, and we didn’t want to overtax him. That was the plan. And he gave us a boost. The kids love him, and he’s such a great kid, and I’m glad he was able to get back out there.”
The season ends for Georgia with no ability to make the NCAA Tournament.
“Certainly a disappointing year,” Stricklin said when summing up the season. “We just didn’t finish games. When you look at our body of work, we had a lot of opportunities to finish off some games, and in this conference you have to slam the door and get those three last outs in the ninth inning or the 10th inning or the 11th inning, whatever inning we were in. That was where we struggled. We struggled late. ... I thought our kids fought really hard. They never quit. They competed every single day. They did everything we asked them to do.
“You know what, when you look at it on paper, we had a bad year. That’s the way I look at it. This program has a lot of expectations, and it has a lot of pride, and I didn’t feel like we performed up to our expectations. And that’s on me as the head coach. That’s my responsibility. I take a lot of pride in trying to uphold that expectation here at Georgia, and this year we came up short.”
Georgia was outscored by South Carolina 38-7 in four games this season, including 33-3 in the last three.