Freshman Brandon Stephens went 3-for-4 and scored two runs Friday.
April 8, 2011
OXFORD, MISS.----The 30th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs won their sixth straight SEC contest, posting a 9-8 road win over Ole Miss Friday in front of a crowd of 9,103.
The Bulldogs have won six in a row to improve to 17-14 overall and 7-3 in league play while the Rebels dropped to 19-12, 4-6 in the SEC. Georgia overcame an early 3-0 deficit and took the lead for good in the fourth. Junior Tyler Maloof notched his national-leading 12th save but not before the Rebels made some noise in the final frame.
“We almost gave it away in the first inning, we made several mistakes and gave up three runs on one hit,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We came right back and got back in it in the middle innings and got a number of two-out hits and then some big defensive plays including from Conor Welton, who we just put in the game in the eighth and he makes two good catches. We got through it, and now we have a chance to win a series after a big Friday win.
“We’ve done a good job with the lead this year, we’re used to playing in close games,”said Perno. “This is a neat environment, and our guys enjoy playing here. We started slow, it was hot, but we adjusted and kept our momentum.”
Trailing 3-0 in the third, Georgia got a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles from Curt Powell and Zach Cone off Matt Crouse. Then in the fourth, junior Levi Hyams made it 4-3 Bulldogs with a two-out, two-run single, bringing home Jonathan Hester and Brandon Stephens (3-for-4) Georgia extended its lead to 6-3 in the fifth as Cone provided an RBI-double and scored on the play after the Rebels made a couple of errors. Ole Miss got one back in the fifth and the teams traded runs in the sixth. In the seventh, Tanner Mathis collected an RBI to make it 7-6. Both teams went to the bullpen in the eighth inning.
Wood got the win to move his record to 4-3, scattering six runs (only three earned) on six hits while Crouse (6-2) allowed eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in the loss. Crouse started the eighth, and his first pitch to Hester was launched over the left field wall. It was his fourth home run and gave Georgia an 8-6 lead. Bulldog junior Blake Dieterich pitched a scoreless eighth with two nice catches by Welton and Maloof came on in the ninth. Georgia got an insurance run in the ninth that proved to be very big. Welton delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to plate Cone who drew a walk and went to second on a stolen base.
Maloof issued a leadoff walk to Miles Hamblin and then Jordan Poole smashed his first career home run, a two-run shot to trim the deficit to 9-8. However after a visit to the mound, Maloof battled back to retire the next three Rebels to preserve the victory. Georgia now has saves in 14 of its 17 wins this year.
“Those leadoff walks will get you, and it got Tyler but then he settled in and took care of business like he has all year in save situations,” Perno added.
The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 3:06 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by SportSouth. Georgia will start junior right-hander Michael Palazzone (4-1, 2.14 ERA) while the Rebels will counter with junior right-hander David Goforth (1-4, 3.32 ERA).