Ward's Walk-Off Hit Propels Bulldogs to 4-3 Win
March 8, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia baseball team won it's seventh straight game with a 4-3 walkoff victory over North Florida on Saturday afternoon at Foley Field during the Bulldog Invitational. Nelson Ward delivered the game-winning RBI single to right field to score Heath Holder and give Georgia (9-6) the victory.
Relief pitcher Pete Nagel picked up his first win of the season for Georgia after pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth inning while notching a pair of strikeouts. Corbin Olmstead took the loss for the Ospreys (5-7), giving up one run and two hits in 1.2 innings of work
With the game tied at three entering the bottom of the ninth, Jess Posey reached on an error and Holder followed with a double down the left field line for his second extra-base hit of the day. Pinch runner Cody McCance, who entered the game in place of Posey, advanced to third on the play before Skyler Weber drew an intentional walk to load the bases.
After a fielder's choice saw McCance out at home, Ward stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning RBI single to right to score Holder and propel the Bulldogs to their seventh straight win. The win also marked the third victory in walkoff fashion during the streak.
"David Sosebee and Pete Nagel were outstanding coming in from the bullpen," said Georgia Head Coach Scott Stricklin. "They gave us a chance. Nelson Ward showed again why he is one of our team leaders and team captain. He's a clutch guy and came up with another clutch hit. We took advantage of the error in the ninth, and then after Heath (Holder) didn't get the bunt down, he came up with a big double. It's another good win."
Holder went 2-for-3 on the day with his first career triple, a double, an RBI and the game-winning run scored. Ward and Hunter Cole also notched RBIs on the day, while Cole and Zack Bowers each notched a double.
Georgia got on the board first off an RBI double to left by Cole that scored Conor Welton from first base. Cole has reached base safely in each of Georgia's 15 games this season, joining Ward as the only other Bulldog to accomplish the feat.
North Florida responded in the top of the second with a two-run home run to left by Alex Bacon off of Georgia starter and two-way player Jared Walsh. The Bulldogs knotted it up in the bottom of the frame with a two-out RBI single from Wrenn to right field that scored fellow freshman Weber all the way from first.
The Ospreys added another run in the third on an RBI double from Kyle Brooks, but Holder tied the score at three for Georgia in the bottom half of the fourth with an RBI triple to right that plated Bowers.
Sosebee pitched a career-best five scoreless innings in his sixth appearance of the season. His previous career high was 4.2 innings back on Feb. 21 against Florida State. Sosebee retired six straight batters at one point between the fifth and seventh innings.
The Bulldogs had a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh but were unable to capitalize on the chance to take the lead. Georgia loaded the bases behind a single from Posey and a pair of walks drawn by Weber and Ward, but the Ospreys were able to induce an inning-ending flyout to center to eliminate the scoring threat.
Nagel entered the game for Georgia in relief in the eighth inning, retiring all three batters he faced and notching a strikeout in the process. The Ospreys placed a runner in scoring position in the ninth after Nagel issued a leadoff walk and a groundout advanced the runner to second, but a strikeout and a flyout to right kept North Florida off the scoreboad.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ward's bases-loaded RBI single to right scored Holder for the game-winning run, giving Georgia the 4-3 walkoff victory.
Buffalo topped Western Carolina by a score of 5-4 in the second game of the day at the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday evening at Foley Field. The Bulls now improve to 7-2 on the year while the Catamounts fall to 8-4.
Starter Anthony Magovney (2-0) earned the win for Buffalo after giving up four hits and three runs while striking out seven over 6.1 innings. Nate Williams (1-1) took the loss for Western Carolina after giving up four hits and three earned runs in 2.1 innings of work. Ben Hartz earned his first save of the season for the Bulls in 2.2 innings of relief.
Western Carolina totaled seven hits on the day, including two apiece from Dykota Spiess and Danny Bermudez. Buffalo tallied 10 hits, with Brian Dudek, Mike Burke and Matt Pollock each collecting two hits apiece.
Buffalo scored a run in both the first and second innings to take the early 2-0 lead, but the Catamounts tied it up in the third thanks to a bases-loaded hit by pitch RBI for Cody Jones and a sacrifice fly RBI for Aaron Attaway.
Buffalo reclaimed the lead in the third with a two-RBI single to center by Burke to take a 4-2 lead. The Bulls would add one more run in the fourth as Nick Sinay came home to score on a wild pitch after singling to center, stealing second and advancing to third on an error.
A sacrifice fly RBI for the Catamounts' Bradley Strong in the seventh pulled Western Carolina to within two at 5-3. The Catamounts nearly mounted a full comeback in the ninth inning, as Strong collected his second RBI of the game on a two-out single to left, but a lineout to third would end the game and seal the 5-4 victory for Buffalo.
Georgia will conclude play in the Bulldog Invitational tomorrow afternoon when it takes on Western Carolina at 3 p.m. Buffalo and North Florida will play the first game of the day at 11 a.m.
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