May 12, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. --- Senior catcher Joey Delmonico capped a career day with a 10th inning RBI-single as Georgia posted a 6-5 walk off win over fourth-ranked South Carolina Saturday.
A Foley Field crowd of 2,686 watched the Gamecocks (38-13, 17-9 SEC) score four runs in the ninth sandwiched around a 24-minute rain delay to force extra innings. Then, the Bulldogs (29-22, 13-13 SEC) answered with their fifth walk-off of the year and second Saturday in a row. Last week, Georgia beat Auburn 6-5 in 11 innings and never led until Kyle Farmer's RBI-single. This Saturday, the Bulldogs did it off junior ace reliever Matt Price who fell to 4-4.
Georgia freshman Pete Nagel, who came on after the rain delay and allowed a two-run game-tying double to LB Dantzler in the ninth, came back strong in the 10th with a perfect frame for his first career win. He is now 1-1.
Georgia was led by Delmonico and senior Peter Verdin, who went a career high 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. The game marked the fourth four-hit game in Verdin's career. The Bulldogs went up 2-0 in the third inning after Farmer delivered a two-run double, his 18th of the year, bringing in Delmonico and Curt Powell. Georgia added to its lead in the fourth inning when Delmonico drove in Hyams, and Conor Welton brought in Verdin.
The Gamecocks scored in the fifth inning and brought the score to 4-1 when Joey Pankake doubled to left field and drove in Tanner English who posted a big day going 4-for-5.
The Bulldogs increased their advantage to 5-1 in the fifth inning, as Verdin singled to left field and brought in Brett DeLoach. In the eighth, Georgia escaped a jam recording three consecutive outs, after allowing runners to second and third.
In the bottom of the 10th, Verdin led off with his fourth hit of the day. He recorded his team-leading 13th stolen base and then made his way to third base on a May groundout. Delmonico smashed a Price offering in to the gap in left center that English dove for but couldn't come up with and the walk-off single brought in Verdin. Delmonico entered the game with one RBI on the year in 39 at bats, and ended the day 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Bulldog senior Michael Palazzone was in line for a win before the Gamecocks comeback. He went seven solid innings and allowed just one unearned run on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Junior Blake Dieterich came on in the eighth and allowed two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings before giving way to Nagel after the rain delay.
"We came through today with some tremendous performances and none of it would've been possible without the job Michael Palazzone did there in the beginning," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We looked to be in pretty good shape, but South Carolina is very good and managed to tie it up there in the ninth. I'm not sure if Pete was ready to go after the rain delay, he got out of sync, but he was much better in the 10th. We got a big day from a couple of seniors in Joey (Delmonico) and Pete (Verdin), and everybody played good defense again. It would've been tough to bounce back Sunday if we had let this one get away, and I credit the guys for hanging in there and battling back."
The rubber game of the series will be Sunday at 2 p.m.