March 10, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- Ninth-ranked Georgia saw its Saturday rally fall short as No. 16 UCLA posted a 7-6 victory at Foley Field.
For the first three Saturdays this season, the Bulldogs had registered three one-run victories, but that streak came to an end as the Bruins (11-3) clinched the series. Ryan Deeter (1-0) picked up the win in relief and Scott Griggs collected his fourth save. Senior Michael Palazzone allowed three runs, only one earned, to drop to 0-1. The Bulldogs (11-4) made four errors on the afternoon that led to four unearned runs.
Junior Kyle Farmer led the Bulldogs at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI; both of his hits were doubles, giving him a team-leading seven for the season. UCLA right fielder Jeff Gelalich continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 to make him 7-for-8 in the series.
The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead in the third when Farmer hit a double to left field and drove in Nelson Ward. Brett DeLoach followed with a sacrifice fly to center that sent Conor Welton home and put Georgia up 2-0. Farmer came home on a run-scoring single by senior Jonathan Hester, who made his first start of the year and wound up 3-for-5. Hester also caught a long foul ball down the right field line to end the top of the third.
UCLA put a run on the board in the fifth inning when Pat Valaika singled and drove in Gelalich to bring the score to 3-1. The Bruins tied the score 3-3 two batters later when an error by Ward allowed Valaika and Chris Keck to cross home.
Bulldog freshman Pete Nagel was perfect through four frames and ended up pitching five innings. UCLA took a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Cody Keefer was driven in by Trevor Brown. The inning ended soon after Keefer's run when Gelalich was caught stealing third and Palazzone struck out Cody Regis. The Bulldogs tied the game in the seventh when Farmer delivered another run-scoring double.
UCLA took the lead again in the eighth, 6-4 taking advantage of a couple of Bulldog miscues. Georgia avoided a bigger deficit when.pitcher Earl Daniels retired Valaika with the bases loaded and one out. Valaika tapped the ball just in front of home plate; Georgia catcher Brandon Stephens picked up the ball and stepped on home for the force out and then threw to first to complete a double play.
Georgia brought the score to 6-5, in the bottom of the eighth when freshman pinch-hitter Jared Walsh scored with two outs off a Bruins error by Brown. He had reached on a single. The Bruins once again increased their advantage in the ninth, 7-5, as Heineman drove in pinch-runner Brian Carroll after Chris Keck led off with a double.
The Bulldogs started to rally in the ninth when DeLoach scored off a wild pitch, but the game ended with the tying run at third when pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz grounded out.
"I tip my hat to UCLA, they did another good job at the plate and put pressure on us, and I thought we were a little snake-bit today too," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We were in position in the ninth and came up short. I know where are, and we'll make adjustments as we get ready for SEC play. You never want to be 0-2 going to Sunday in a series, and we'll figure out a little about our team in how they come out Sunday."
The Bulldogs wrap up their series with the Bruins on Sunday at 1 p.m.