Georgia Defeats Mercer 8-6

March 8, 2011

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MACON-----Sophomore designated hitter Brett DeLoach went 3-for-5 with two RBI to lead a 14-hit attack as Georgia defeated Mercer 8-6 Tuesday at Claude Smith Field.

Mercer (11-4) went on top 1-0 with a leadoff home run from centerfielder Billy Burns off right-hander Ben Cornwell. However, the Bulldogs responded with a four-run outburst in their next at bat. Kyle Farmer and Jonathan Hester (4-for-5) got things started with a couple of singles including Hester executing a hit and run. Then in his first at bat of the season, DeLoach lined a run-scoring double off the leg of second baseman Blaine Matthews. On the play, right fielder Thomas Carroll’s throw was off the mark and allowed Hester to score for a 2-1 lead. Mercer starter Russell Moses retired the next two Bulldogs and then issued a walk to Curt Powell. Levi Hyams followed with a run-scoring single to make it 3-1. Mercer went to the bullpen as David Teasley came in to face junior Zach Cone. The Bulldog centerfielder put down a perfect bunt down the third base line for an RBI-single to cap the scoring.

Georgia (4-8) added a run in the third as DeLoach notched his second hit of the night and came around to score on a double by catcher Joey Delmonico for a 5-1 advantage. The Bears got one run back in the third on a couple of bloop hits and an RBI-groundout by Evan Boyd. Farmer made it 6-2 in the fourth with a two-out, run-scoring single off Teasley.

Powered by three doubles in the fifth, Georgia extended its lead to 8-2. Hester led off the frame with one and DeLoach followed with another for his third hit. Later with one out, Peter Verdin’s double down the left field line scored DeLoach.

Cornwell provided the Bulldogs with five innings, scattering two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts before giving way to senior John Herman who started the sixth. Mercer responded by cutting the deficit to two, scoring four runs on five hits and sending nine Bears to the plate. Designated hitter Joe Winker connected for a two-run home run to highlight the scoring. Verdin made two key plays in the frame. He made a running catch with the bases loaded for the second out and threw out a runner at home to end the inning to keep Georgia in front 8-6.

“We got a good start from Ben Cornwell and the late-inning combination of Patrick Boling and Tyler Maloof is working well,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “John (Herman) wasn’t a great matchup for them and Patrick was able to come in there and maintain the lead and Tyler got another save.

“Offensively, we drove a lot of balls, got several doubles and a big inning early, and that’s what we’re hoping to start doing more,” Perno added.

To honor injured teammate Johnathan Taylor, Cone wore Taylor's number two jersey in the contest. Taylor underwent neck surgery Monday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens after getting injured in a collision during Sunday’s baseball’s game against Florida State.

“Tonight was a big win for the team because we wanted to come through for J.T. (Johnathan Taylor),” said Perno.

Cornwell notched the victory to even his record to 1-1 while Maloof collected his fourth save, striking out the side in the ninth but not before the Bears had loaded the bases on a pair of hits and a walk. Boling provided 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Herman. Moses dropped to 1-1 after surrendering four runs on four hits before being lifted in the second.

Georgia will be back in action Wednesday at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville where it will play Alabama at 7:06 p.m. The game will not count in the Southeastern Conference standings. It is part of the “Gwinnett Baseball Classic,” an event sponsored in part by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.




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