Kyle Farmer smashed a three-run home run off Gerrit Cole Friday at UCLA.
March 12, 2011
LOS ANGELES---- Kyle Farmer and Jonathan Hester hit home runs and Alex Wood struck out 11 to lead Georgia to a 6-2 win over 10th-ranked UCLA Friday at Jackie Robinson Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the clubs.
It was the third straight win for the Bulldogs as they improved to 6-8 while the Bruins dropped to 7-5. Wood notched his first career win as he outdueled projected first round draft pick Gerrit Cole. The UCLA junior carried a perfect game to the seventh. Both pitchers had eight strikeouts through four innings. Wood had surrendered just one hit to that point, a pool cue-shot double to Beau Amaral in the first frame.
Wood pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth when UCLA put two on with one out courtesy of a base hit by Chris Giovinazzo and an error by Hester. Wood battled back to get Steve Rodriguez to pop out for the second out. On the play, Williams stole second base. Then, a spirited at bat ensured between Wood and designated hitter Brian Carroll. It got to a full count and then Wood registered his 10th strikeout of the night to keep it a scoreless game.
Junior second baseman Levi Hyams broke up Cole’s perfect game with a one-out double in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to six games. Next, junior centerfielder Zach Cone reached on a throwing error by third baseman Trevor Brown. Designated hitter Chase Davidson got the Bulldogs on the board with a run-scoring single. Then, shortstop Kyle Farmer provided the big blast, a three-run home run to left field to make it 4-0. It was his second home run of the year and extended his hitting streak to six games. Georgia sent nine men to the plate in the inning.
“We put our best at bats together and were able to string a few hits together and have a big inning,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “It was an outstanding college baseball game, and I was excited to see a lot of Bulldog fans here cheering the team on. We’ve got a little confidence and are playing well now and getting some wins for J.T. (Johnathan Taylor).”
In the bottom of the seventh, Hester made a diving catch on a soft liner that brought the Bulldogs in the crowd to their feet. With two outs, Giovinazzo connected for his first home run of the year to close the gap to 4-1.
UCLA went to its bullpen to start the eighth. Cole allowed four runs on three hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts. Coming in to the game, he had a 1.16 ERA and had surrendered just three earned runs total in his first three starts. Georgia did the same in the bottom of the frame as sophomore left-hander Patrick Boling came on for Wood who struck out a career-high 11 and did not walk a batter.
In the eighth, Farmer was hit by a pitch to reach with one out. Then, Hester won a battle with Weiss, smashing a two-run home run on the 10th pitch of the at bat to put the Bulldogs in front 6-1. It was Hester’s second home run of the year.
Wood earned his first career win while Tyler Maloof pitched the ninth to collect his fifth save in as many chances. He inherited a bases-loaded jam and got a strikeout and a double play to preserve the victory.
“I felt like this could be Alex Wood’s coming out party even though his numbers coming in may not have backed that up but certainly he was outstanding tonight,” said Perno. “Cole was impressive, dominating at times and there was Wood matching him and throwing up zeros too. He got the tough outs and that was huge. Then, Tyler (Maloof) comes in and closes it out. He can handle the moment and execute. He loves it.”
The Bulldogs wore a special decal on the back of their batting helmets with the initials “J.T. #2” in honor of their injured teammate junior outfielder Johnathan Taylor. Also, Cone wore Taylor’s number two jersey in Friday’s contest. Currently, Taylor is at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta after sustaining a neck injury in last Sunday’s game against Florida State. Taylor underwent neck surgery to stabilize his spine this past Monday in Athens.
Georgia will face the USC Trojans Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Dedeaux Field.