March 10, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia used a six-run eighth inning to cut into a 10-0 Liberty lead, including a pair of triples from Brett DeLoach and Hunter Cole, but the Bulldogs ultimately fell 11-8 in the final game of a weekend series with Liberty Sunday.
The Flames (10-5) avoided a sweep by salvaging the final game of the series at Foley Field while the Bulldogs dropped to 7-8. Cole recorded his sixth multi-hit game of the season, going 3-5 on the afternoon with a run scored and three RBIs, while DeLoach went 1-3 with a triple, a walk and a run scored. Kyle Farmer finished the day 2-5 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Curt Powell went 3-5 with a run scored and now owns a team-leading 11-game hitting streak. Nelson Ward is second on the team with an eight-game hitting streak after going 2-5 on the day.
Georgia used a total of eight pitchers Sunday, with starter Luke Crumley (1-2) taking the loss after giving up six hits and two runs through two innings of work. Trey Lambert earned the win for Liberty (10-5), allowing seven hits and three runs with two strikeouts through 7.1 innings. The two teams combined for a total of 31 hits - 16 by Liberty and 15 by Georgia. Liberty turned four double plays.
"It's a situation where they have a good team," said Bulldog head coach David Perno. "It's just the way that it happened. We walked eight batters and hit three, so that's 11 free passes and then we give up 16 hits. You can't do that. It is part of the reason that it took us so long offensively to get going is because we're staying on defense forever every inning. We had opportunities where we were close to breaking out all day offensively, but we just could never stop them long enough to get going. We gave some guys on the mound another opportunity today, but we're at the point now we're going to reduce the number of guys that will be pitching for us. We're getting ready to start league play and we know who our guys are going to be."
Back-to-back singles to start the game by Liberty's Nick Lacik and Bryan Aanderud put runners on the corners with no outs, and a sacrifice fly to center by three-hole hitter Ryan Cordell plated Lacik to give Liberty the early 1-0 lead.
The Flames moved Lacik up to the leadoff spot after batting sixth and seventh, respectively, on Friday and Saturday. The move paid off as Lacik recorded his second hit of the game in the top of the second, sending a one-out RBI single into right center to extend the Liberty lead to 2-0.
Ross Ripple took the mound for Georgia in the third, giving up two runs and three hits while striking out one. A fielding error on a single by Alex Close allowed Nick Paxton to score Liberty's third run of the game, and four batters later, Lacik recorded his third hit of the game and second RBI to score Close for the 4-0 lead.
After the Bulldogs were retired in order in the bottom of the third, freshman Palmer Betts came in to pitch for Georgia in the fourth, recording three straight outs on groundouts to Kyle Farmer at shortstop. Betts would finish with one hit and one run allowed in 1.2 innings of work.
Liberty pushed another run across in the fifth, as pinch runner Brooks Roy scored off a two-out RBI double by Sype to give Liberty the 5-0 advantage. Georgia catcher Zack Bowers made a strong defensive play behind the plate earlier in the inning, gunning down Nick Paxton at second base on an attempted steal for the first out of the inning.
After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, Liberty added three more runs in the seventh behind five walks, one hit batter, two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly. The Flames also added two runs in the eighth off RBI singles by Sype and Bryan Aanderud.
The Georgia offense finally began manufacturing runs in the eighth, as DeLoach roped the ball down the left field line to lead off the inning, sliding into third for his second triple of the season and fifth of his career. Jared Walsh was then walked, and two batters later, Sean McLaughlin sent the ball back up the middle for an RBI single to score DeLoach and put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard for the first time of the afternoon.
Two batters later, Powell singled to left to load the bases, and Farmer followed with an RBI single to left that scored Walsh. Cole then belted a bases-clearing triple to deep center field, his second of the season, and Nichols followed with a single to right that plated Cole and trimmed the Liberty lead to 10-6.
Freshman Jess Posey made his pitching debut for the Bulldogs in the ninth inning, giving up a double and a run to the Flames. With the appearance on the mound, Posey became the fifth Georgia player to both hit and pitch this season.
Walsh, Ward and Powell each singled to load the bases for Georgia in the ninth, and Farmer delivered with a two-out, two-RBI single to center field that scored Walsh and Ward. However a strikeout on the next batter would ultimately end the Georgia comeback attempt and seal the 11-8 victory for the Flames.
Georgia returns to action this Tuesday when they host Appalachian State in a two-game series. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 7 p.m., and the two teams will square off again on Wednesday at 5 p.m.