April 13, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. --- Boosted by Curt Powell's two-hit, two-RBI night, Georgia defeated No. 18 Ole Miss, 6-3, at Foley Field on Friday night to claim an SEC series.
The Bulldogs (22-13, 7-7 SEC) took an 2-0 lead in the second when Powell sailed a long double to right field to drive in Peter Verdin and Conor Welton. The Rebels dropped to 23-12 overall, 6-8 in the SEC.
The bottom of the lineup, including Powell, came through for the Bulldogs, as the 6-7-8-9 hitters were a combined 6-for-13 with six runs scored and four RBI.
Georgia pitcher Alex Wood improved to 5-1, after pitching 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts. Also, he picked off his team-leading fourth runner at second base. Wood worked his way out of a jam in the second inning when the Rebels had runners on second and third with one out. Wood struck out Preston Overbey and forced a pop fly by John Gatlin to end the inning and keep Ole MIss scoreless. Bryan Benzor pitched 1.2 innings and recorded his first career save as Rebel pitcher R.J. Hively tallied the loss to fall to 3-3. Hiveley gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings.
Georgia increased its advantage to 5-0 in the fourth, starting with Jared Walsh's first career home run. Welton then stole home as part of a double-steal, with Powell advancing to second. The last Bulldog to steal home was Bryce Massanari at Kentucky in 2009. Powell later crossed home on a Levi Hyams sacrifice fly to center.
Ole Miss put a run on the board in the fifth inning after Gatlin doubled to left field to drive in Overbey. Ole Miss scored again in the eighth inning and brought the score to 5-3 when Wes Allen drove in Auston Bousfield followed by Austin Anderson bringing in Alex Yarbrough.
The Bulldogs sealed the win in the eighth and increased their lead 6-3 when Welton singled to centerfield and drove in Verdin.
"We got a couple of early runs with two outs and nobody on and then were able to stretch it out and that's a big help for your pitcher," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Ole Miss did a good job getting the leadoff guy on but credit Alex and the defense for responding and protecting the lead. Alex's pitch count was a little high by the eighth so we went to (Bryan) Benzor and that was good for him to go more than one inning and get his first save. He hasn't been in that situation, and he came in and threw strikes and got the job done. I am pleased with how we've played these first two games and Saturday is another big day."
Georgia will conclude its series with Ole Miss on Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Bulldogs will try for their first three-game sweep of an SEC team this year. The Bulldogs did this just once in 2011, sweeping No. 24 Mississippi State in Athens.