Levi Hyams tied a career-high with 4 RBI in Saturday's victory.
April 9, 2011
Michael Palazzone tossed his first nine-inning complete game of his career to lead 30th-ranked Georgia to an 8-3 series-clinching victory over Ole Miss Saturday in front of 8,833 at Swayze Field.
Georgia (18-14 overall, 8-3 SEC) has won seven straight Southeastern Conference games and seven consecutive games overall while the Rebels fell to 19-13, 4-7 in the SEC. Junior Levi Hyams (2-for-4) matched his career-high with a four-RBI day while Jonathan Hester (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Kyle Farmer (3-for-5) combined to pace Georgia's 14-hit attack. Palazzone is now 5-1 after allowing just three runs on eight hits with one strikeout in going the distance. He did not walk a batter to extend that streak to 34 consecutive innings. Earlier this season, he tossed a seven-inning complete game to beat ninth-ranked LSU and last week pitched 8.2 innings in knocking off 24th-ranked Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs built a 3-0 lead in the second off right-hander David Goforth. Hester reached on a one-out single and then with two outs, a walk to catcher Joey Delmonico and infield hit by right fielder Peter Verdin loaded the bases for Hyams. The junior second baseman delivered a three-run double down the right field line. The Rebels closed the gap to 3-2 in the fourth after a two-out, two-run blast from first baseman Matt Smith off Palazzone. It was his team-leading sixth home run of the year.
The Bulldogs built their lead back up to three in the sixth. Farmer extended his hitting streak to 10 with a leadoff single. With one out, Brett DeLoach drew a walk and both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch by Goforth. Hester followed with an RBI-groundout. The Rebels lifted Crouse in favor of RJ Hiveley and Powell greeted him with a two-out, RBI-single and Georgia extended its lead to 5-2. Ole Miss got one run back with a two-out, home run from shortstop Blake Newlau, the first of his career, and it was 5-3. Palazzone had surrendered just one home run on the year prior to Saturday's start in cozy Swayze Field that measures just 330 down the lines and 390 to centerfield.
Georgia threatened in the seventh, loading the bases twice but managed to push across just a run on an infield single by DeLoach for a 6-3 advantage. Ole Miss went to the bullpen twice in that frame and Mike Mayers extinguished a potential big inning by the Bulldogs. Goforth (1-5) went 5.2 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Georgia added single runs in the eighth and ninth for the final courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Hyams and Hester. Also of note Saturday, Delmonico was back in the lineup for the first time since March 20 against South Carolina, a stretch of 11 games as he rested a sore left hand. He went 1-for-2 with two walks before he was lifted in the eighth for pinch-runner Lance Martin. The Bulldogs turned three nifty double plays to aid another quality start by Palazzone. Through the first 10 league games, Georgia had turned just three double plays. Georgia claimed its first series here in Oxford for the first time since 1989.
"We did exactly what the plan was today," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Michael did an outstanding job again like he's done all year, and their guy was good but he made a couple mistakes and then we took advantage of their bullpen by continuing to score.
"Our defense did a tremendous job especially the ability to turn double plays and that helped Michael," Perno added. "His pitch count was so low, we didn't have to worry about getting anybody else up. We're special up the middle, Kyle (Farmer) and Levi (Hyams) work well together. Our bullpen is fresh for Sunday."
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch slated for 2:30 p.m. EDT. Georgia will start junior left-hander Craig Gullickson (3-1, 4.38 ERA) while the Rebels will counter with junior left-hander Austin Wright (3-3, 3.96 ERA).