Georgia Defeats Trojans 5-3 For Fourth Straight Win

March 12, 2011

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LOS ANGELES---Georgia ran its winning streak to four in a row with a 5-3 victory over Southern California Saturday at Dedeaux Field.

The Bulldogs (7-8) got another stellar pitching performance from junior Michael Palazzone and junior Tyler Maloof picked up his sixth save. The Bulldogs’ four wins this week have all come on the road, beating Mercer in Macon, Alabama in Lawrenceville at Coolray Field and now UCLA and USC here in Los Angeles.

Georgia pushed across a run in the first, but the Trojans answered with three runs on four hits off of  Palazzone in the bottom of the frame. Ricky Oropesa, Alex Sherrod and Matt Foat collected RBI for USC to build its early 3-1 edge. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one by manufacturing a run in the third. Junior Levi Hyams led off with a bunt single that catcher Kevin Roundtree threw away allowing him to advance to second. Pinch-hitter Lance Martin, who entered the game for Zach Cone, put down a sacrifice bunt to get him to third and Hyams scored on a sacrifice fly by Chase Davidson. Cone has been battling an illness and managed to play the entire game against UCLA Friday and tried to go Saturday before leaving in the third. For the second straight game, Cone wore jersey number two for injured teammate Johnathan Taylor. The Bulldogs tied the game in the fourth by taking advantage of USC’s third error on the night and a couple of walks including one with the bases-loaded to Hyams.

The Bulldogs grabbed a 4-3 lead in the fifth. With two outs, Jonathan Hester was hit by a pitch. Designated hitter Brett DeLoach lined a run-scoring double to left field. It was his fifth hit of the year including his fourth double since making his 2011 debut this past Wednesday. Palazzone pitched around a miscue by Davidson in the fifth. With one out, Omar Cotto Lozada lined a single to right that got past Davidson and allowed him to race to third. Palazzone got two straight ground ball outs to end the threat, the final one coming on a diving stop by junior third baseman Curt Powell. In the sixth, Davidson came through with a two-out, run-scoring single to bring in Peter Verdin who led off with a walk, stole second and advaced to third on a groundout. USC turned to its bullpen in that inning as Chris Mezger came on for Austin Wood with the Bulldogs up 5-3.

Meanwhile, Palazzone settled in, and for the second week in a row, tied his career-high in going seven innings. After that first frame, Palazzone surrendered no runs on three hits with six strikeouts before giving way to sophomore left-hander Blake Dieterich in the eighth. The Bulldog defense came up with three stellar plays to retire the Trojans. Powell came up with one at third for the first out. Oropesa smashed a double to the gap in left center and tried to stretch it to a triple but was thrown out by the combination of Martin-to-Farmer-to-Powell. Then, freshman Conor Welton made a running catch in the gap in left to send it to the ninth.

“Michael (Palazzone) has been great, he only gave up one big inning there in the first and then he threw up zeros the rest of the way,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Curt (Powell) did a super job at third base tonight, and we got our offense going especially in the top of the order. Zach (Cone) had a relapse and couldn’t go very long tonight, and we had some other guys step up. We’re playing some good baseball now, and the guys are really focused and excited to win another game for J.T. (Johnathan Taylor).”

Dieterich started the ninth and got the first two Trojans before USC tried to rally. The next two reached on a pair of walks, one off of Dieterich and one off Maloof and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. However, Maloof battled back to retire Cotto Lozada as he grounded one to third for the final out and picked up his sixth save. Palazzone improved to 2-1 while Wood dropped to 1-2.

The Bulldogs conclude play in the Dodgertown Classic here Sunday with a game against Saint Mary’s. First pitch at Dodger Stadium is slated for 1 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs will start junior left-hander Craig Gullickson (0-1, 7.71 ERA) while the Gaels counter with junior right-hander Kyle Barraclough (0-2, 5.52 ERA).



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