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Bomb squad: Georgia power hitters get competitive with long ball in win

Georgia outfielder Keegan McGovern (32) and Georgia outfielder Michael Curry (13) in a previous game during the 2018 season.
Georgia outfielder Keegan McGovern (32) and Georgia outfielder Michael Curry (13) in a previous game during the 2018 season. Georgia Sports Communications

Add Michael Curry and Keegan McGovern to a list of those who need to brush up on baseball history.

A mention of the Bash Brothers left them puzzled as older reporters, and Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin, let out a smile. The Bulldogs’ power hitters each finished 3-for-4 with two home runs, and drew the comparison to the famed Oakland Athletics' duo of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.

“Come on, y’all,” Stricklin said after Georgia’s 11-7 win over Troy Sunday, which advanced the Bulldogs to the Athens Regional final. “McGwire and Canseco, let’s go.”

“I mean, I’ve heard of ‘Lightning and Thunder’ from Mississippi State,” Curry said in reference to Will Clark and Rafael Palmiero in 1985. “That’s not the same?”

No, not quite.

Whichever duo the two Bulldog hitters want to be compared to, their power exploits were on display on a humid day at Foley Field, in which the ball had plenty of carry. In the second inning, it was Curry to give Georgia its first tally of the game with a solo shot over the 370-foot sign in right field.

In the third, McGovern hit a two-out bullet in essentially the exact spot. It may have hit the same tree to the left of the Foley Field scoreboard.

“We have come up with some names, actually, on what we need to be called,” said McGovern, who re-claimed the team batting title after raising his average to .336.

Beast? Confidence?

“Harry and Lloyd,” Stricklin quipped, referring to the movie Dumb and Dumber.

The lighthearted personalities were on display after the Bulldogs’ second consecutive postseason win, but it wouldn’t be solidified until Curry and McGovern's power show continued on. Down 6-3 in the sixth inning, McGovern hit his second home run of the day – his 18th of the season – that went over the center field batter’s eye.

Then, Curry, hitting directly behind McGovern, followed with a similar mentality.

“Close your ears, Coach,” Curry said, “… but if Keegan hits a home run, you best believe I’m trying to do it too.”

That he did, but it wasn’t as majestic. Instead, it was inches from the grasp of Trojans’ center fielder Brandon Lockridge.

Georgia’s own bomb squad went back-to-back on homers for the first time this season. Their combined four home runs during a single game tied a team-high record, which was set Saturday in a win over Campbell.

Not only did Curry want to match McGovern, but he wanted to show he’s better and that he could hit the ball farther. Not this time.

“Mine was a tad longer,” McGovern said. “I’m sorry.”

Eight RBI and an 11-run performance in a postseason win later, it doesn’t matter to Stricklin how far each of the home runs traveled. He knows that one or more of his hitters in the heart of the order will likely produce each night. Adam Sasser started off the postseason with three hits and a home run on Saturday, and those ahead of him followed it up.

Troy head coach Mark Smartt thought Sasser was the Bulldogs’ best hitter at the start of the tournament. When asked if he thought about walking either Curry of McGovern, Smartt looked down at his stat sheet and repeated their lines.

“Who do you walk?” Smartt asked.

Entering the regional final against the winner of Duke and Troy, the trio of McGovern, Curry and Sasser carry a collective batting average of .328.

It provided problems for Troy, and the story could be the same as the postseason continues. Maybe it’s time for the duo to create a recognizable name of its own.

“That’s a scary thing to think about – facing them back-to-back,” Stricklin said.

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