If you are a fan of college baseball, you know the Southeastern Conference is as dominant as it gets. The Georgia Bulldogs are a big reason for that this season and now this team enters the record books at Foley Field in Athens once again for pulling off one of the game’s rarest gems.
Just last week, Georgia baseball played the longest game in its program history against the Clemson Tigers, one that took 20 innings and 6.5 hours to complete. Now, the Bulldogs, who own the best record in the SEC, have another reason to boast after turning an incredible triple play.
In the top of the first inning, with no outs and the bases loaded full of Missouri Tigers, Bulldogs left-hander C.J. Smith tossed an 89 mph fastball that Mizzou’s Peter Zimmermann lined deep to right field. Fortunately, outfielder Riley King read it the entire way, made a leaping catch at the wall, and saved a few runs, maybe even a grand slam.
Then, chaos ensued to record Georgia’s first triple play since 1963.
Once King made the spectacular grab, he fired the ball back to the infield and picked off the runner trying to get back to first base. Two outs.
During the entire sequence, the Missouri runner at third base appeared to tag up and score on the play, which everyone at the ballpark could guess would happen. However, the UGA dugout and head coach Scott Stricklin thought the runner left too early. The umpire agreed, Georgia threw the ball to third base, and the triple play was complete. Three outs.
What looked like such a promising start for Mizzou turned into a historic disaster. To make matters worse, in the bottom half of the first inning, Georgia scored four runs thanks to a double from third baseman Aaron Schunk, a two-run double by second baseman LJ Talley and a single from first baseman Patrick Sullivan.
For years to come, the box score will always say Georgia beat Missouri 5-2 during the Friday night game. Cole Wilcox got the win and Missouri starter Art Joven took the loss. But anyone who was there knows it was more than that. It was the day the Bulldogs pulled off a triple play to stun the Tigers.