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Wildcat alum named SEC Pitcher of the Week
College sophomore Leighton Finley struck out 11 in six innings in a win against Vanderbilt for the Georgia Bulldogs baseball team.
leighton finley
Leighton Finley pitching for the University of Georgia's baseball team. (Photo provided by Georgia Athletics).

Former Richmond Hill standout Leighton Finley has been named the Southeastern Conference baseball Pitcher of the Week the league announced Monday.


Finley, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, had his best outing of the season last Friday night as he struck out 11 in six innings while pitching the Bulldogs to a run-rule 10-0 win over Vanderbilt in the opener of a crucial three-game series.


The Bulldogs (35-12, 13-11 SEC) went on to sweep the Commodores for the first time in 21 years and put themselves in position to not only get an NCAA tournament bid but also to host a regional tournament. Georgia is ranked No. 14 this week with an RPI of 5 and No. 8 Strength of Schedule.


The second win of the series, a 14-4 run-rule game, came at the expense of former Benedictine star Carter Holton (6-3). The junior lefthander did not prove to be a challenge for the streaking Bulldogs as he lasted only three innings while giving up six runs, five earned, while striking out three, walking four and hitting four batters.


Finley (4-1), an imposing 6-foot-5, 235-pound sophomore, has emerged as the Bulldogs’ ace as first-year Coach Wes Johnson has him pitching the opening game of their SEC three-game series.


The Bulldogs will open a three-game set at South Carolina at 8 p.m. Thursday in a game which will be televised by ESPNU. On Friday the 5 p.m. game will be carried by the SEC network.


Against Vanderbilt the former Wildcat was at his best as he pitched a season high six innings and had a career high 11 strikeouts, also a team high for UGA this season, while allowing only three hits.


“My confidence level is definitely going up,” Finley said after the game. “I’m starting to get more in tune with my body and really get the pitches going including getting ahead in the count and executing.

“I was able to execute my slider tonight. I’ve been struggling with that but it went really well tonight.”

Finley leads the Bulldogs in starts (12), ERA (4.53), batting average against (.251) and in innings pitched (53.2). He has struck out 54 while walking 19.


Finley’s older brother, Jackson, made it a big weekend for the sons of Mitch and Beth Finley when he had his best outing of the year in his rookie season of professional baseball.


Jackson Finley, who was drafted out of Georgia Tech by Oakland last year, went 4.2 innings on Sunday for the Stockton Ports of the Class A California League striking out eight and walking only one in a 5-1 win over Visalia. The 6-4, 225-pound righthander is 0-2 with 23 strikeouts in 18 innings with a 4.50 ERA.


It was almost a year ago to the day Jackson Finley was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Week after he hit four home runs and drove in 12 runs in three games for the Yellow Jackets.


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