UGA Baseball Preview: Young Bulldogs Will Dominate the Diamond
The Bulldogs have a very young baseball team and they will rely heavily on these younger players to carry the team.
Freshmen and sophomores out number upperclassmen 25 to 10 and many of these younger players will either be starting or have large roles on this team. Three newcomers that I think will have a huge impact on the Bulldogs this year are pitcher Tony Locey, shortstop Cam Shepherd, and outfielder Tucker Maxwell.
Locey had an outstanding showing in the Bulldogs Fall World Series, which was a split-squad scrimmage between members of the Bulldogs baseball team who were on either the Red or Black team. Locey was the starting pitching for the Black team in a pivotal game three of the series and he had an outstanding performance as he pitched four scoreless and hitless innings and earned seven strikeouts.
Pitching effectively in the deciding game of the series shows Locey can be relied on in big games and that is outstanding quality for a freshman starting pitcher to have. Locey should be a big part of the Bulldogs rotation and how he performs and develops this season will be something to keep an eye on.
Shortstop Cam Shepherd got the scoring started in the first two games of this series and also made some outstanding plays with his glove. In the second game, Shepherd put his power on display as he put his team ahead with a two-run home run, which was hit to the opposite field. Shepherd seems to be a very good offensive and defensive player and could have a breakout season in his first year.
Outfielder Tucker Maxwell also had an outstanding showing in this short three game series and it would not surprise me in the slightest if he was challenging for playing time in day one. Maxwell’s most memorable moment from the three-game series was in the final game where he went two for three with four RBI’s and three of them coming off his home run. Maxwell’s offensive output alone gave his team enough to win the game and if he can be a consistent offensive force, then he will be a well-known name for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs will also get some offensive help from some older players and junior outfielders Keegan McGovern and Will Campbell are the two guys that should be relied upon heavily. McGovern was a consistent player for the Bulldogs last year as he was third on the team in batting average with a .263, tied for second in home runs with six, and led the team in RBIs with 35. McGovern should be a team leader as well as he is one of the most experienced players returning to this squad.
Will Campbell may be a junior but he is a new face as he transferred from Chattahoochee Valley Community College where he had an outstanding season. He batted .425, had 83 RBIs and 19 home runs and those totals were enough to earn him the Alabama Community College Conference’s triple crown. Campbell is an outstanding player and he has the potential to be a huge star for the Bulldogs this season.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin has a very young team, but a team that looks to be very talented. This team will be a fierce competitor for many of their opponents, but their youth and how they develop will be the difference in if this season is a successful one or one filled with struggles. These young Bulldogs will be fun to watch and it should be an interesting season.