Curt Powell extended his hitting streak to 11 games Friday.
April 28, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, LA----Austin Nola's two-run home run in the eighth inning led fourth-ranked LSU past Georgia 6-5 Friday in front of a crowd of 7,797 at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU (34-9, 13-6 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jacoby Jones led off with a home run, his second of the year. It marked the first leadoff home run by a Bulldog opponent since Mercer's Billy Burns last year. Georgia (24-19, 8-11 SEC) tied the game in the second, stringing together three straight two-out hits. Senior Peter Verdin started it off and then went to second on a base hit by freshman Justin Bryan and came around on a run-scoring single by senior Jonathan Hester. The Tigers responded with two runs on two hits in their half of the frame including another RBI for Jones for a 3-1 advantage.
Bulldog junior third baseman Curt Powell led off the third by reaching on an infield single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Georgia would tie the game in the frame but missed out on a big inning as five Bulldogs came to the plate with the bases loaded and only Brett DeLoach and Verdin drove in runs with singles. LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman, who entered the game with an SEC-leading 88 strikeouts on the season, struck out freshmen Hunter Cole and Justin Bryan and then Hester to keep it 3-all. Cole was seeing his first action in more than a week after missing the past six games with a muscle strain.
LSU took a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Third baseman Tyler Hanover led off with a double and took third on a passed ball on DeLoach. With one out, Tyler Moore's groundout produced an unearned run. Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood started for the Bulldogs and went seven innings but did not factor in the decision.
Georgia took its first lead in the fifth thanks in part to three Tiger miscues. Third baseman Tyler Hanover made two throwing errors and a wild pitch by Gausman helped Georgia score two runs on two hits. DeLoach notched his second hit of the night and scored on the wild pitch and Cole scored on the second Hanover error. In the seventh, LSU went to its bullpen, bringing in left-hander Chris Cotton. Gausman surrendered five runs (three earned) on a career-high 10 hits allowed with no walks and nine strikeouts.
The Tigers threatened in the seventh, loading the bases after Wood had retired the first two batters of the inning. Mason Katz, the No. 3 hitter and top power threat, came up and Wood got him to fly out to right to maintain Georgia's slim advantage. Georgia turned it over to junior right-hander Bryan Benzor in the eighth. Wood gave the Bulldogs seven innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. After Benzor allowed an infield hit to Rhymes, shortstop Austin Nola followed with a two-run blast to put the Tigers in front 6-5.
Benzor has been tagged with a loss in three straight games as his record drops to 4-4. Cotton picked up the win after pitching two scoreless innings to move his record to 5-0. Nick Goody pitched the ninth for his eighth save but not without a bit of drama. Powell led off the ninth with a single and stole second base. Welton got Powell to third by grounding out to second to bring up Farmer. With the infield in, Goody got Farmer to pop out to shallow right and then retired DeLoach to secure the win.
"We just have to keep fighting and find a way to win at least one down here," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We did everything to win tonight except at the end. The guys are battling and a couple are just really struggling. I was proud of Alex (Wood) because he didn't have his best stuff, but he hung in there and gave us a chance and left with the lead. I thought our freshmen did okay, and it was good to see Hunter (Cole) back in there. We had some chances to break it open a couple times and just couldn't, and then they get a big home run late from one of their seniors."
Georgia is now 7-7 in one-run games this season including 2-4 in SEC contests. The Bulldogs have lost five of their last six games, four of those by one run. The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 7:35 p.m. ET and be televised by CSS.