Feb. 17, 2012
Athens, Ga. --- Fueled by 13 hits and a strong start from Alex Wood, 11th-ranked Georgia defeated Presbyterian 6-1 in the season opener Friday night at Foley Field.
Georgia (1-0) took the lead in the bottom of the third inning on a Brandon Stephens home run, the first round-tripper of the sophomore's career. Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer put the tally at 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to score Curt Powell, who reached third base on back-to-back bunt singles from Peter Verdin and Conor Welton. The Bulldogs made it 3-0 when Stephens crossed the plate again in the fourth thanks to a two-out RBI single from Powell (3-4, RBI).
After being shut down by Wood for four innings, Presbyterian (0-1) finally got on the board in the top of the fifth when Matt Peden scored on an RBI single from Brandon Paul. Georgia answered in the bottom of the frame when designated hitter Brett DeLoach knocked in senior Levi Hyams, putting the Bulldogs up 4-1.
In the sixth inning, Presbyterian threatened to put a dent in that lead, but Wood overcame a two-on-no-out situation by striking out the side. The redshirt sophomore recorded seven strikeouts with no walks in six innings for the victory. Georgia's bullpen tossed the final three innings. Freshman Pete Nagel, redshirt freshman Jay Swinford and junior Bryan Benzor all pitched one inning apiece. Benzor closed out the game by sitting by striking out two of the three batters he faced. Overall, the Bulldog staff registered 10 strikeouts with just a pair of walks.
Georgia added some insurance runs in the bottom of the inning to yield the final margin of 6-1. Powell connected on his first career triple and was driven home by Verdin. After reaching on a walk, Welton scored the last run with help from a Farmer RBI double. Seven Bulldogs recorded at least one hit in the contest, as the team went 13-for-35 at the plate.
"We had a little bit of everything tonight, and most importantly we threw a bunch of strikes," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We showed some little ball and got some big hits too. I thought our defense looked calm and collected. We need to continue to throw the baseball well and keep up the timely hitting."
Game two of the series with Presbyterian is slated for Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.