Farmer's Walk-off Hit Propels UGA Over KSU, 3-2
March 6, 2012
LAWRENCEVILLE-----Kyle Farmer's base-loaded RBI-single provided a 3-2 walk-off victory for ninth-ranked Georgia over Kennesaw State Tuesday at Coolray Field.
The Bulldogs (11-2) notched their third walk-off of the season while the Owls dropped to 5-6. The bottom of the ninth began with pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz reaching on an error by third baseman Aaron Dobbs. Senior Peter Verdin moved pinch-runner Nelson Ward to second with a sacrifice bunt. Then after a wild pitch by Zak Griffith got Ward to third, the Owls elected to intentionally walk Curt Powell and then Conor Welton to load the bases for Farmer.
Georgia took a 1-0 lead courtesy of an error by second baseman Andy Almonte. Sophomore Conor Welton reached on the miscue and went to third on a double by Farmer who extend his hitting streak to nine games. Senior Levi Hyams brought Welton home with a sacrifice fly. The Owls tied the game in the top of the second off freshman David Sosebee. Catcher Ronnie Freeman led off with a base hit and went to third on a hit-and-run by first baseman Andy Chriscaden. Freeman scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris McGowan. Georgia avoided a big inning by turning a double play on the sacrifice fly.
Sosebee pitched three innings and scattered three hits and one run with no walks and no strikeouts. Then, the Bulldogs turned to freshman Pete Nagel. The Bulldogs threatened with two on and two out in the fourth when the Owls went to their bullpen. Side-arm right-hander Justin McCalvin struck out catcher Brandon Stephens to keep the contest tied. KSU starter Nathan Harsh provided 3.2 innings and allowed one unearned run on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts. Nagel went two scoreless innings, and the Bulldogs looked to redshirt freshman Ross Ripple to start the sixth.
With one out in the sixth, the Owls got back-to-back hits from Peyton Hart and Andy Almonte. Freeman followed and Ripple got him to bounce in to a double play to end the threat. KSU went to its bullpen in the bottom of the frame, turning to right-hander Kevin McCoy. The Bulldogs notched their second hit of the night, a single by Cole but the game remained 1-1. In the seventh, freshman right-hander Luke Crumley became the fourth Bulldog hurler to see action. After retiring the first two Owls, he gave up a single to Max Pentecost and Will Howard drew a walk when the Bulldogs looked to freshman left-hander Jarrett Brown. Jacob Bruce, the No. 9 hitter in the order, got ahead in the count 3-0, and then Brown worked the count full before losing Bruce on a walk to load the bases. Then, the Bulldogs went back to the bullpen and brought in junior left-hander Blake Dieterich to face Aaron Dobbs. He broke the tie with an RBI-walk to make it 2-1 Owls.
Bulldog senior Peter Verdin started the bottom of the seventh with a base hit and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Curt Powell. The Owls brought in left-hander Zak Griffith to face the left-handed hitting Welton. He greeted him with a run-scoring double to tie the contest. Farmer followed with a groundout to third that the Owls turned into an inning-ending double play when Welton slid past the bag at third.
Dieterich got the win to move to 3-0 as he provided 2.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts while Griffith fell to 0-1.
"Tonight, we hit some balls hard, but it was tough out there, and other then the three walks in a row, I thought we pitched well," said Georgia coach David Perno. "The offense came through in the ninth, and it was a good win on a cold night. Still, it's fun to come over here, they do a good job with this game. Blake (Dieterich) is a veteran, and he knows how to pitch in these tight games. We had to go to him a little quick, and he may not have been ready but as he got loose, he looked sharp."
Proceeds of Tuesday's game benefitted "The Kasyn Cares Fund" at the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) . Kasyn Olivadotti threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She is the five-year-old daughter of Kirk and Keely Olivadotti. Kirk is a UGA football assistant coach, and Kasyn is a patient at CHOA.
Georgia returns to action Friday when it plays host to No. 16 UCLA in a three-game series. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 6:30 p.m.