Levi Hyams helped Georgia to an 8-6 win Saturday in Knoxville.
April 23, 2011
KNOXVILLE, TENN. --- Georgia scored seven two-out runs Saturday to defeat Tennessee 8-6 and even the SEC series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Junior Michael Palazzone improved to 7-1 after going a solid 8.2 innings, spoiled only by Davis Morgan's ninth-inning, three-run shot down the left field line that was ruled a home run. Palazzone's final line was six runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He had allowed just one earned until the ninth. Junior Tyler Maloof came on to get the final out and record his 13th save. UT starter Rob Catapano got the loss to fall 2-4 after allowing five runs on six hits before leaving in the fourth.
Georgia (20-20, 10-7 SEC) jumped ahead 2-0 in the first, rallying with two outs. Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer got it started with a base hit and then junior Zach Cone followed with a single. Designated hitter Brett DeLoach brought them home with a two-run double. It gave him a team-high 15 RBI in SEC action. The Volunteers got one run back in their half of the first. Andrew Toles reached on an infield single, took third on a single by Zach Osborne and scored on a groundout by Khayyan Norfork.
Georgia got the run back in the second with another two-out RBI. Third baseman Curt Powell reached with a two-out single and took second on a wild pitch. Junior second baseman Levi Hyams made it 3-1 with a run-scoring single and gave him a 10-game hitting streak. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 5-1 in the fourth. Right fielder Kevin Ruiz began the inning with a walk and went to second on a base hit by Jonathan Hester. Tennessee went to the bullpen, lifting Catapano in favor of Carter Watson. He struck out Joey Delmonico who was trying to bunt. Then, Powell followed with an RBI-double. UT removed Watson for a sidearm left-hander in Hunter Daniel. Hyams grounded one to second for Georgia's fifth run as Hester scored.
In the fifth, Tennessee (22-16, 5-12 SEC) trimmed the deficit to 5-3 by taking advantage of a couple of two-out Bulldog errors, their first miscues in the past seven games. Chris Fritts and Toles singled with two outs and advanced 90 feet with stolen bases. A miscue by Powell at third allowed one run in and a failed pickoff attempt by right-hander Palazzone resulted in the second run coming home. Overall, Powell was busy at the "hot corner" Saturday, registering one putout and five assists.
The ninth inning was entertaining to say the least. UT got 4.2 shutout innings from Jon Reed including the first two outs in the ninth. Then, the Volunteers went to their bullpen again to bring in Dalton Saberhagen. He walked Hyams and gave up a single to Hyams. UT then went to Zack Godly to face Farmer. The junior shortstop belted a three-run home run to give the Bulldogs an 8-3 advantage. Palazzone was looking for his third complete game of the year. He gave up a leadoff single to Tyler Horne and then got Josh Liles to pop out. Ethan Bennett reached with a base hit to bring up Morgan. He lined a shot down the left field line that appeared to be to the left of the foul pole. However, it was ruled fair and that made it 8-6. After a mound visit by Georgia coach David Perno to calm the Bulldogs down, Palazzone retired Chris Fritts. Toles followed with a sharp grounder to Farmer that he couldn't handle and that brought the tying run to the plate. It was Farmer's first error in the past 15 games. Georgia brought in Maloof to face Zach Osborne. He laced a ball up the middle that Hyams snagged raging to his right and threw him out to end the game.
"I feel bad for Michael, he pitched great even though the boxscore doesn't look like he did," said Perno. "We did a much better job of two-out hitting today, and we won a lot of full-count battles. Kyle's home run in the ninth was huge. Our error streak came to an end, I know we ended up with three errors but we actually played pretty good defense today if you saw the game."
"The play to end the game was spectacular by Levi, and it was good to see Tyler come in and get going with another save," Perno added.
The rubber game of the series will be Sunday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs will start junior left-hander Craig Gullickson (3-2, 6.67 ERA) while the Volunteers counter with sophomore right-hander Nick Blount (1-0, 2.55 ERA).