March 18, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The 18th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs missed out on an SEC sweep as Tennessee posted a 3-0 win Sunday at Foley Field.
It was the second time this season that the Bulldogs have been shut out, the first being last weekend against then No. 16 UCLA. After racking up 14 runs on 24 in the first two games of the series, the Bulldogs (15-6, 2-1 SEC) struggled to get anything going on offense. Tennessee right-hander Nick Williams (2-2), normally the Volunteer closer, made his first career start, and gave up just two hits in six innings pitched.
Tennessee (11-8, 1-2 SEC) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when Davis Morgan knocked a two-run homer over the left field fence with one out. Jake Rowland followed with a single to right and got into scoring position on a steal, but Michael Palazzone kept his poise and struck out the next two batters to hold the tally at 2-0. Palazzone (0-2), who picked up the loss, yielded the mound to freshman Ross Ripple after five innings, finishing with seven strikeouts and a walk.
The Volunteers made it 3-0 in the seventh when Will Maddox was sent home on a two-out balk from reliever Earl Daniels. Maddox led off with a single, prompting Daniels to come in for Ripple, and reached second on a Chris Pierce sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch. After following the balk with another walk, Daniels was replaced by Bryan Benzor, who was able to force a groundout to retire the side. Benzor and Luke Crumley tossed the final two innings, giving up just one more hit.
Georgia had a chance to make a comeback in the ninth, as Brett DeLoach and Hunter Cole got aboard with no outs, but two Tennessee pitching changes were sufficient to retire three Bulldogs in a row to end the game. The Bulldogs finished with six hits and freshman Nelson Ward went 2-for-4. Williams got the win to move to 2-2 while Carter Watson picked up his first save.
"We struggled on offense, that was fairly obvious," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Williams pitched great, and he didn't give us much of anything. Defensively I think we did a good job in the first couple of innings, but then we kind of let our guard down. Hopefully we get our guys doing what they did Saturday, and we'll be fine."
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday night, when they face Georgia Tech at Foley Field. First pitch is set for 7 p.m, and it will be televised by CSS.