March 9, 2014
ATHENS----Georgia extended its winning streak to eight games after defeating Western Carolina 6-2 Sunday at Foley Field in the final game of the Bulldog Invitational.
Georgia's (10-6) victory was propelled behind a career high in innings pitched from senior Patrick Boling (2-1,) who went seven and one-third innings allowing two runs on eight hits. Jordan Smith (1-2) took the loss for the Catamounts (8-5) who gave up six runs, on six hits in six and one-third innings.
Offensively, the Bulldogs got most of their offense in a five-run outburst in which they sent eight men to the plate in the fourth inning. WCU had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame.
"I thought that was as good a game as we've played all year," Georgia baseball head coach Scott Stricklin said. "That is a great team too, in Western Carolina, they've beaten some good teams. We know that we needed a big outing out of Patrick (Boling) and we got it. Right from the first pitch he was feeling it. (Dylan) Cole and (Robert) Tyler were great out of the pen too."
Cole finished off the eighth inning in relief of Boling, leaving the two runners he inherited stranded at second and first via strike out and fly-out. Tyler came in for the final inning, striking out one between and two groundouts.
Georgia's five-run fourth inning was jumpstarted by junior Nelson Ward, who went 3-for-3 with three doubles and scored two runs in the victory. In his past seven games, the shortstop is hitting .464, and he is one of only two Bulldogs (along with third baseman Hunter Cole) to have reached base safely in every game this season. After Ward's first double, junior Conor Welton crushed his first career home run over the right field fence. The knock also scored fellow classmate Nelson Ward, who led off with a frozen rope double to left center field setting up the profitable inning for Georgia. Hunter Cole and Jared Walsh continued the Dogs' march around the bases drawing back-to-back walks following Welton's homer. Zack Bowers brought home Cole with a double to left center field making it 3-1 Georgia.
The offensive explosion was capped off via two sacrifices. Sophomore Jess Posey hit a chopper over the pitcher's head scoring Walsh. Heath Holder then brought home Bowers, who advanced to third on the Posey groundout, with a deep sac-fly to right field, extending the Bulldog lead to 5-1.
In the fifth inning, Georgia added another run to pad their lead. Ward got the offense started with his second double of the afternoon. Ward advanced to third on a Welton groundout leaving Cole. The third baseman drove in his 10th RBI of the season with an opposite field double.
"Nelson (Ward) and Conor (Welton) put a charge in the crowd today," said Stricklin. "That second double that Nelson stretched out really put a jolt in the crowd and there's no question that Conor has been playing great for us too. It was awesome to see him hit that first homer."
After giving up their brief 1-0 lead in the fourth, Western Carolina got back a run in the sixth inning as first baseman Jacob Hoyle hit his second homer of the season to cut the Georgia lead to 6-2.
Georgia continues its current 16-game home stand Tuesday evening at Foley Field when they take on Western Kentucky in the first of a two-game mid-week series. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Georgia Bulldog Invitational, Game One Sunday: North Florida 4, Buffalo 3 (12)
Less than 24 hours after falling to host Georgia in walk-off fashion on Saturday, the North Florida Ospreys (6-7) were on the winning side of a walk-off as they beat the Buffalo Bulls (7-3) 4-3 in 12 innings Sunday at Foley Field. North Florida surrendered a two-run lead in the top of the ninth as the Buffalo Bulls sent eight men to the plate, scoring three runs on six hits giving them their only lead of the afternoon.
The Ospreys would retie the game in the bottom of the inning. Right fielder Drew Weeks led off the inning with a sharp double down the left field line before two deep sacrifice flys would move him to third and then home sending the game to extra innings.
After two shutout innings of bonus baseball, North Florida center fielder Alex Bacon crushed the first pitch of the bottom of the 12th to give the Ospreys the victory. On the mound, Tyler Moore got the start for North Florida. The freshman threw 105 pitches over 8-plus innings, giving up one run and one hit. The lone hit came in the top of the ninth. He would be left with a no-decision.
Ryan McMahon (1-1) picked up the win out of the bullpen, throwing three and one-third innings of scoreless ball in extra inning relief. The Bulls started Mike Burke who went seven innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits. Kevin Hughes (1-2) received the loss after giving up the game-winning home run.