Feb. 26, 2012
ATHENS---- A trio of Bulldog pitchers led by Taylor Hicks combined to blank Winthrop 3-0 as ninth ranked Georgia completed a three-game sweep Sunday in front of a Foley Field crowd of 2,050.
"Taylor Hicks was outstanding today," said Georgia head coach David Perno. "We made all of the necessary plays on defense behind him, and he didn't give up really any hard hit balls and just pitched great for us."
Hicks, a redshirt freshman making his second career start, was perfect through four innings, and finished with six strikeouts and no walks, allowing just two hits and no runs through six innings. He is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in his two starts this year, tallying 10 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Redshirt freshman Ross Ripple pitched the seventh and junior Blake Dietrich tossed the final two frames for the combined shutout.
The Bulldogs (7-0) got on the board thanks to a two out rally in the bottom of the third inning. Georgia's top of the order produced the first run as seniors Peter Verdin and Levi Hyams hit back-to-back singles. Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer delivered a run-scoring single for a 1-0 lead
After four perfect innings, Hicks surrendered his first hit of the game to Matt Lobacz who led off the fifth frame with a double to right field. Winthrop's Justin Hopper recorded their second hit of the inning in what looked like it could make trouble for the Bulldogs, however, Lobacz was called out for runner's interference. Hicks ended the inning forcing Clay Altmlan to ground out, keeping Georgia in front 1-0.
Georgia increased their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when freshman Hunter Cole smashed his first career home run. It ended Winthrop's Preston Johnson's day on the mound as the Eagles wound up using three more pitchers on the afternoon. Johnston allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Knox lasted just three batters until Tyler Klitsch replaced him after giving up a single and a walk. The pitching change did not slow down the Bulldogs' offense, however, as Curt Powell connected on a two out single that drove in Colby May for the second run of the inning, putting the Bulldogs up 3-0.
Verdin then was hit by Kitsch's pitch in the next at bat, which led to the third pitching change of the inning for Winthrop, bringing in Michael Gilroy who was able to stop the bleeding by striking out Hyams to end the inning.
Dieterich recorded his second save of the season. He allowed one hit and one walk and was able to work out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth. The Eagles dropped to 0-7. Georgia has posted two straight Sunday shutouts this year. Georgia's 7-0 start is the best since 2009 when the Bulldogs roared out to a 14-0 mark.
Georgia returns to action Tuesday when it plays host to Savannah State at 6 p.m.