SEC Tournament Pitching Matchup Set
Senior Levi Hyams has a six-game hitting streak.

May 21, 2012

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BIRMINGHAM, ALA.----Georgia will start sophomore left-hander Alex Wood Tuesday night at the SEC Tournament while Vanderbilt goes with junior right-hander Drew VerHagen.

Georgia (31-24, 14-15 SEC) is the No. 8 seed while Vanderbilt is the No. 5 seed after going 16-14 in league play and 29-25 overall. Wood is a team-best 7-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts while VerHagen is 5-2 with a team-leading 3.63 ERA in 22 appearances including six starts. The Georgia-Vanderbilt game at Regions Park will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Florida-Auburn contest slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET.

On Monday’s SEC Tournament Coaches media call, Bulldog head coach David Perno said Vanderbilt is playing very well, and in the SEC, everybody is good and capable of beating anybody.

“We knew last week that we could be anywhere from a No. 5 to a No. 10 seed because we’re all bunched together as far as our SEC records,” said Perno. “We’ve played well of late; we’ve just been a little short in the run category. We’re throwing strikes and taking care of the baseball.  We feel good with Alex going Tuesday, and he’s been as good as anybody we’ve played.

“We knew a few weeks ago that this would be an important tournament again for us, just like last year,” Perno added.  “Alex and Michael Palazzone will go in the first two games. We scaled back their workload in between outings for a few weeks now, knowing they would go the first two here and both should be good to go.”

Last year at the SEC Tournament, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals, going 3-2 to propel them to another NCAA Regional bid. Georgia made it to the NCAA Corvallis Regional final before falling to the host Beavers of Oregon State. Incidentally, Oregon State then headed to Nashville to face Vanderbilt in a Super Regional, and the Commodores won it.

This year, Vanderbilt won the series over Georgia 2-1 in Nashville. Georgia won game one as five pitchers combined on a seven-hit shutout, and junior Curt Powell accounted for the game’s only run, a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. Wood started that game and tossed 4.1 innings when the game was halted due a rain delay that lasted more than an hour. Meanwhile, VerHagen made two relief appearances in the series, going 3.2 scoreless innings in game one and then got the win in game three, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing one run on four hits with three walks. Vanderbilt claimed a series over nationally-ranked Ole Miss this past weekend in Nashville.

Georgia is making its 20th appearance at the SEC Tournament, and it owns a record of 28-38. Georgia is schedule to practice at Samford Monday afternoon.  In his last start coming Thursday against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Wood earned his seventh win, going seven innings and surrendering one unearned run on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. Palazzone pitched a complete game in a 4-0 loss to the Crimson Tide last Friday. Palazzone made the SEC All-Tournament team last season.          



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