Mizzou has lost their last six games, but they’re hoping that this weekend’s homestand against the Georgia Bulldogs (24-12, 7-8) will be the answer to ending that streak.
When it comes to the UGA offense, there’s no other place to start than the Tate twins. SS Cole Tate and RF Connor Tate really get this offense going. Both are currently batting over .300, but they serve very different roles.
Cole sets the table for the UGA offense in the 2-hole and doesn’t hit for much power. With just 2 HR and a .734 OPS, his job is to move the line to his brother Connor. The other Tate is the big stick in this Bulldog lineup. He hits cleanup and leads the team in AVG, HR, H, and OBP. He is slashing .369/.426/.574, and that’s good enough for an OPS of 1.000 on the dot.
The Bulldogs are much more than just the Tate twins, however. A couple of newcomers to Athens have played a huge role in their success this year as well. Freshman C/DH Corey Collins and Juco transfer 2B Josh McCallister have both made instant impacts upon being inserted into the lineup. McAllister has 6 HR this year and sports a 1.017 OPS. He’s been leading off for the Bulldogs recently, and he’s the kind of guy you have to worry about from the first pitch.
Corey Collins is another bat that the Tigers will have a tough time pitching to. He hits third as just a freshman, and there’s a reason why. Collins leads the team with 29 RBI and has 7 HR to his name, 1 off the team lead. On top of that, his OPS is just a tick under 1.000 at .979, and it looks like he’s going to be a problem for SEC pitchers for a long time.
To put in perspective just how dangerous this group of guys and their supporting cast can be, you just have to look back a couple weeks to when they faced Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs jumped on future top-5 pick Vandy ace Kumar Rocker and became the only team all year to do so. This offense is a force to be reckoned with.
Here’s their cumulative stats up to this point in the season:
In Game 1 of the series, the Bulldogs will hand the ball to Mr. Reliable and their ace Ryan Webb. The senior LHP has been nearly flawless this season only turning in one poor start against South Carolina. Other than that, you can almost pencil him in for 6 IP, 2 ER, and 8 Ks. On the year, his ERA sits a 2.83, his whip is just as spectacular at 1.02, and he’s averaging 13.7 K/9. He also rarely walks hitters having only given up 13 free passes this season. The Tigers will absolutely have their hands full with this talented arm, and Friday night could be a tough night for the Mizzou bats.
On Saturday, Sophomore RHP Jonathan Cannon will get the ball for the Bulldogs. The hard-throwing righty has had his bright moments like his 7 innings shutout against Vandy, but has also had some seriously questionable starts as well. On the year, he has a 4.06 ERA, but some of his other stats indicate that he’s a better pitcher than that. He’s walked just 3 batters in 30 IP this year, and his WHIP is 1.06. However, his biggest flaw has been surrendering the long ball this year. He average a HR given up for every six innings he pitches so there’s a great chance the Tigers could take him deep. Kentucky, South Carolina, and A&M have all roughed him up in subpar outings so this could be the Tigers best chance for a win this series.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs are yet to announce a probable starter, but with a staff ERA of 3.60 and a BAA of .222 they’ll have good options for who to hand the ball to that day when that decision needs to be made. A few bullpen arms to watch out for to either piece this game together or come out in relief in Games 1 and 2 include Hank Bearden, Ben Harris, and Will Pearson. Each have double-digit appearances this season and ERA’s of 3.05 and better.
Georgia is very hot. They took a midweek game from Clemson and have won back-to-back SEC series against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. They can hit and they can pitch. They don’t do anything particularly exceptionally well, but they’re very good at all facets of the game.
To win this series, the Tigers will need their best performance of the season, and if they don’t give that effort, they could be in danger of staring back-to-back sweeps down the barrel.
Friday | 4 pm | SEC Network +
Saturday | 4 pm | SEC Network
Sunday | 1 pm | SEC Network +