March 17, 2012
ATHENS, Ga., --- Georgia used an 18-hit attack to erase an early four-run deficit and posted a 10-5 victory over Tennessee Saturday in front of a Foley Field crowd of 2,348.
Tennessee (10-8, 0-2 SEC) built a 5-1 lead before the 18th-ranked Bulldogs (15-5, 2-0 SEC) had a five-run outburst in the fourth frame to take the lead for good.
Tennessee scored an unearned run in the first and added another run with two outs in the second off of a single by Jake Rowland, scoring Drew Steckenrider. The Bulldogs got a big third out, stranding runners at second and third. Georgia answered back in the second. Senior Colby May registered his first home run of the season with a solo shot to left field. It was one of three blasts by the Bulldogs Saturday.
The Bulldogs ran into more trouble in the third, relinquishing three more runs due to a couple of walks and a balk by freshman Pete Nagel, and an RBI single by Davis Morgan. Nagel was pulled in the third in favor of senior Chase Hawkins as Georgia wound up trailing 5-1.
In the fourth, freshman Hunter Cole (3-for-4, 2 RBI) got the scoring started when he crushed a towering, two-run homer over the trees in left. Cole leads the team with three home runs. With two outs, Georgia got four straight hits to take the lead. Kevin Ruiz smacked a double to left and came home on an RBI-single by Brandon Stephens. He scored thanks to a well-placed double to the wall by Curt Powell. Senior Levi Hyams (3-for-4, 3 RBI), who batted lead off for the first time this season, drove in Powell with a single up the middle to cap the rally as Georgia took a 6-5 advantage.
Tennessee starter Zack Godley was chased after four innings, surrendering 10 hits, seven earned runs, and three strikeouts. Godley had only given up four runs in his previous 25 innings pitched this season. Designated hitter/pitcher Drew Steckenrider came in for Godley, and the Bulldogs added an insurance run with a single by May scoring Kyle Farmer who reached on a base hit earlier in the inning.
Hawkins notched the win in relief, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to move his record to 2-0. He was followed by Jay Swinford who pitched two scoreless and junior Blake Dieterich logged the final two frames for his third save. Godley dropped to 3-1.
Georgia added a single run in the fifth and seventh inning and then got a two-run home run from Hyams in the eighth for the final. It was Georgia's third home run of the day. The Bulldogs have hit seven home runs in their last three games after having just four in their first 16 games.
"I thought we were getting close to breaking out offensively earlier this week; we've worked hard on our approach at the plate in practices this week, and it's showing up now in the games," said Georgia coach David Perno. "It starts with quick innings from our pitchers and Chase Hawkins, Jay Swinford and Blake Dieterich did a good job shutting down Tennessee and allowing our offense to get back in it. We had a balanced attack today, everybody contributed."
Georgia will wrap up its series with Tennessee at 2 p.m. Sunday.