April 1, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia Bulldogs defeated 24th-ranked Mississippi State 4-1 Friday in front of a Foley Field crowd of 2,071.
Georgia (12-14, 4-3 SEC) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when freshman Conor Welton scored on a RBI single by junior Zach Cone. Welton reached on a fielder's choice and then recorded his first career stolen base en route to scoring.
State (19-7, 4-3 SEC) tied it up in the third inning after Wes Thigpen, who led off the inning with a double, scored on a Ryan Collins ground out to third.
Georgia left-hander Alex Wood fought out of a jam in the fifth inning, striking out three straight batters after loading the bases on two walks and an error. He struck out State's 3-4-5 hitters in Ryan Collins, Jarrod Parks and Cody Freeman.
Georgia responded in the sixth. Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer provided a surge of power for the Bulldog offense in the sixth inning when he hit his team-leading third home run of the season, a two-run shot to make it 3-1. Farmer leads the team with 23 RBI. Cone followed with a single and then later scored on a sacrifice fly from Kevin Ruiz for a 4-1 advantage.
Wood picked up his third win of the season, leveling his record at 3-3, delivering seven innings of work in which he gave up just one run on three hits while recording eight strikeouts. Sophomore Blake Dieterich pitched the eighth and then gave way to junior Tyler Maloof in the ninth after the first two batters reached. He registered his SEC-leading ninth save after Wes Thigpen reached on fielder's choice and then got Nick Vickerson to hit into a game-ending double play.
"(Kyle)Farmer is the best .220 hitter in America," says Georgia coach David Perno. "He is so clutch, and I told him that was so huge. He really just consistently comes through in the clutch for us."
Perno went on to add "with Wood and (Michael) Palazzone, and even Dieterich and Maloof pitching out there you don't really need that much run support. A few big hits here and there and some good bullpen support for these guys, and we have been winning some ball games. We've started rolling recently and hopefully we can keep up the good pitching and can continue to progress and develop on the field and at the plate."
Game two of the SEC series will be Saturday at 2 pm.