May 16, 2012
Georgia (30-22, 13-13 SEC) travels to Alabama (19-33, 7-20 SEC) starting Thursday at 7:35 p.m. ET for the final SEC series of the regular season. Then, the Bulldogs will remain in the state for the SEC Tournament in Hoover at Regions Park from May 22-27.
Georgia split an SEC series with fourth-ranked South Carolina in Athens this past weekend and the rubber game was rained out. This past Tuesday, Georgia completed its home schedule with a 7-4 win over East Tennessee State. Georgia pounded out 13 hits in the victory, highlighted by a 3-for-4 performance from junior catcher Brett DeLoach and a three-run triple by junior shortstop Kyle Farmer who went 2-for-4. Also, senior Peter Verdin had his seventh multi-hit game in the past 11 contests as he went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Meanwhile, Alabama tuned up for the Bulldogs with a 10-5 home win over Troy Tuesday.
The Bulldogs have qualified for the 10-team SEC Tournament and seedings and matchups will be announced late Saturday, May 19 when the regular season is complete. Currently, Georgia has the sixth best SEC record. All seven of the Crimson Tide's SEC wins this year have come at home as they were swept at SEC leader Kentucky (41-11, 18-9 SEC) this past weekend to go winless on the SEC road at 0-15. Georgia went 9-5 in league action at home. Georgia is 4-8 on the road in the SEC after making trips to nationally ranked Florida, LSU and Arkansas plus Vanderbilt.
Redshirt sophomore LHP Alex Wood (6-2, 2.68 ERA, 87K, 19 BB, 90.2 IP) pitched his second complete game of the year in the SEC, but this time he got no offensive support as the Bulldogs fell 3-0 to the fourth-ranked Gamecocks last Friday. Earlier this year, Wood went the distance in a 4-2 road win over No. 13 Arkansas. Senior RHP Michael Palazzone (2-5, 4.93 ERA) was in line for a win over No. 4 South Carolina as the Bulldogs took a 5-1 lead to the ninth this past Saturday. Then, the Gamecocks rallied off the Bulldog bullpen to force extra innings. However, Georgia answered in the 10th inning for a 6-5 win. The Bulldogs are now 9-7 in one-run games including 2-1 in extra-innings.
Wood, Palazzone and RHP freshman Luke Crumley (3-2, 4.05 ERA) will again comprise the SEC rotation this week against Alabama. The Crimson Tide will go with freshman RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-5, 5.04 ERA), freshman LHP Jon Keller (1-5, 4.18 ERA) and junior RHP Charley Sullivan (2-3, 4.98 ERA)
Junior SS Kyle Farmer (.306-4-38), junior 3B Curt Powell (.346-2-19) and freshman OF Hunter Cole (.290-7-21) have had 14-game hitting streaks this season. Farmer's just ended this past Friday against No. 4 USC. Farmer has hit safely in 16 of the past 17 games while Powell has at least one hit in 18 of the past 20 games. Powell is hitting .330-2-9 in SEC action. Georgia's leading hitting in SEC action has been senior OF Peter Verdin (.337-0-12). For the year, Verdin is batting .319-0-24 and has a team-best 13 stolen bases. Verdin batted .556 (5-for-9) against the Gamecocks. Powell ranks second on the team in stolen bases with 12.
Georgia is one of the top defensive teams in the SEC, fielding .978 overall and .981 in SEC games this year. Those marks are on pace to set a school record for the second straight season.
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