Owls cage Bulldogs 2-1 in Athens; improve to 4-0
What we saw vs. UGA was a hard fought win with a little bit of luck mixed in, but when you play hard the “lucky plays” seem to go your way more often than not and that is exactly what happened for KSU in the ninth inning at Foley Field in Athens.
Time to set the scene for you; it was the top of the 9th and the Owls and Bulldogs were tied at one, KSU at the dish with runners on the corners, 2 outs and Kal Simmons at the plate. The freshman hit a two strike chopper to Georgia shortstop Kyle Farmer with Kody Belcher chugging hard from first base off of a good jump, and luckily for the Owls, Farmer decided to go the “easy” route at second base, but unfortunately for him it wasn’t so easy. Belcher beat the rap, as Andy Almonte scored what turned out to be the winning run. “I got a good jump going from first to second, and I was hoping instead of throwing to first he was going to throw it to second and I just got a good jump and I was safe,” Belcher told us after the game.
- Starting pitcher Stephen Janas (see interview below) got his first action since missing the majority of last season with a severe elbow injury. Janas pitched three perfect innings (excluding the lone error) and struck out two men. His fastball today was about 87-89 MPH which he mixed in with a low 70’s change-up. He had full control of all of his pitches and routinely got ahead in the count.
- As I mentioned above, Kody Belcher’s hustle in the 9th inning may be overlooked when looking back on this game a month from now, but it was the determining factor.
- Freshman shortstop Kal Simmons continued his strong play by walking twice and getting the game winning fielder’s choice in the ninth. He put the ball in play with two strikes and made something happen. He also looks like a natural in the field. Simmons leads the team with 6 RBI.
- Bo Way got on base twice today and scored the first run.
- Pentecost had a clutch hit to score Way and give the Owls a 1-0 lead.
- Justin McCalvin looked much better today. He pitched 2 strong innings of relief with three strikeouts.
- James Connell got his first save since coming back from Tommy John surgery. There was a little drama, including a walk and a few balls to the outfield that looked like they might drop, but at the end of the day he got the job done.
- Chris McGowan made a beautiful diving catch in right field and got good jumps on the other balls hit out there.
- Colton Cross pitched three innings of relief and only gave up one run.
- Andy Almonte had the lead-off walk to get the ninth inning started.
- I liked the communication between the outfielders and infielders, especially on the left side. They avoided collisions and always made the plays on the fly balls that were popped up in between them.
- One walk and seven strikeouts for KSU pitchers.
Did not like
- First baseman Anthony Duran was 0-4 with two strikeouts, with one of them being in the ninth inning with men on the corners. He has to make some sort of contact in that situation.
- Third baseman Peyton Hart and reliever Justin McCalvin each made an error, but neither came back to haunt the Owls.
- Bo Way misjudged the ball on the last play of the game but made the play. It was an inch away from being tied again.
- UGA’s second baseman made a showboat-y play when he flipped the ball with his glove when he should have transferred the ball to his throwing hand. Luckily for him he made the play.
Interviews (Sansing, Janas, Connell)Follow @KSUOwlHowl