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May 4, 2012
Athens, Ga.---- Georgia got eight strong innings from Alex Wood and some help from the Auburn bullpen to win the opening game of an SEC series 5-2 Friday at Foley Field.
Georgia (26-20, 10-12) scored four runs without the benefit of a hit in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. The Tigers (25-20, 10-12 SEC) issued two bases-loaded walks, hit a batter with the bases loaded and a ground out allowed another run to score.
It was more than enough for Wood who struck out 10 and allowed two runs on four hits tom improve to 6-1. Auburn right hander Jon Luke Jacobs (5-2) got the loss but pitched 5.1 innings allowing just three hits and two runs.
In the third, Georgia went on top 1-0. With one out, senior Colby May walked, next left fielder Connor Welton ripped a single to right field to put runners on the corners with junior third baseman Curt Powell at the plate. Powell blooped a single over the head of the first baseman to give Georgia a 1-0 lead, while also extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
In the fifth the Bulldogs were threatening again. With two outs, second baseman Levi Hyams was on third, Welton hit the ball hard to left center. Auburn's left fielder Cullen Wacker and center fielder Ryan Tella went for the ball, Tella, running full speed, dove for the ball, but collided with Wacker. Wacker made the catch the for the third out, but both players were down for several minutes. Fortunately, both players were able to walk off the field. Wacker suffered a strained knee and he did not return to the game.
In the sixth Auburn equaled the score. After Wood retired the first two batters, first baseman Garrett Cooper singled to center and pinch-hitter Justin Bryant reached on a walk. Shortstop Dan Glevenyak shot a single past a diving Powell and into left field, scoring Cooper and making the score 1-1.
After 5.1 innings, Georgia chased Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs once he gave up an infield single to junior shortstop Kyle Farmer. Later that inning Auburn's bullpen allowed four walks and one hit by a pitch giving Georgia a four-run lead. Right hander Slade Smith came in to relieve Jacobs, the first batter he faced, right fielder Hunter Cole, singled to left field, then junior catcher Brett DeLoach walked to load the bases. Freshman Justin Bryan then walked to give the Bulldogs a lead again; next Smith continued to struggle with his control as he hit center fielder Peter Verdin with a pitch, allowing Cole to score. Verdin was the last batter Smith faced--he finished with one hit, two walks and three earned runs--relieving him was left hander Cory Luckie. With the bases still loaded, Hyams grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning, but DeLoach scored on the play. Luckie then walked back-to-back batters giving Georgia another run to make the score 5-1.
Auburn picked up another run in the eighth and then Georgia looked to freshman Pete Nagel came in the ninth and took care of the Tigers. He picked up the first save of his career with two strikeouts and pitched around an error.
"I thought Alex Wood did a very good job and Pete came in and threw strikes too," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We managed to have a big inning without getting a hit, but I'll take it. We have a tough time getting that big hit or double with the bases loaded, but it was good to see us score four runs. I was impressed with our outfield play, that is the group we had out there in the fall and we tried some different combinations for various reasons during the season but now it looks like that's the best one and we'll stick with Conor (Welton) in left, Peter (Verdin) in center and Hunter (Cole) in right."
The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 4:05, and the game will be televised by CSS. Before the game, the Bulldogs will honor former baseball lettermen.