Sunday, April 24, 2011

Diamond Dawgs Take Series From Vols


Junior Kyle Farmer tied a career-high with four RBI and the Dawg bullpen threw seven shutout innings to register a 5-3 SEC series-clinching win over Tennessee Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

“We did it the hard way here, losing an extra-inning game on Friday and then coming back to win the series with good wins Saturday and today,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Kyle had another big day for us and the bullpen was outstanding.”

Junior second baseman Levi Hyams led off the game with a double to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Tennessee sophomore right-hander Nick Blount came back to strike out freshman Conor Welton. Then, Farmer (2-for-3, 4 RBI) smashed a two-run home run, his second blast in as many at bats, to put the Dawgs in front 2-0. In Saturday’s 8-6 win over the Volunteers, Farmer delivered a three-run home run in the top of the ninth. Farmer now has a team-leading six home runs and 41 RBI. Zach Cone followed with a single and then moved into scoring position with his 10th stolen base of the year. After retiring Brett DeLoach on a flyout, first baseman Jonathan Hester lined a 3-2 pitch into center for a run-scoring single and then was thrown out trying to go to second to end the outburst.

Tennessee (22-17, 5-13 SEC) looked to answer in the bottom of the first after a leadoff double from Andrew Toles. However, junior left-hander Craig Gullickson retired the next three Volunteers to maintain the 3-0 edge. Tennessee came through in the second after loading the bases with one out on two hits and a walk. Gullickson struck out Wes Walker for the second out and then gave up a two-run single to Toles on a 3-2 offering. After a mound visit by Georgia coach David Perno, Gullickson got Zach Osborne to hit a soft grounder back to him to keep the Dawgs in front 3-2.

In the third, the Volunteers tied the game and chased Gullickson. Khayyan Norfolk led off with a single and scored on a double by Matt Duffy to make it 3-3. After going 2-0 on Horne, Georgia went to the bullpen in junior left-hander Chase Hawkins. Horne drew a walk and then Hawkins got Davis Morgan to bounce to third when Curt Powell started a double play. Hawkins got the Dawgs out of further trouble in that frame as the Volunteers stranded their fourth runner in scoring position in the game.

Georgia (21-20, 11-7 SEC) reclaimed the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Hyams and Welton reached on a pair of walks and then Farmer continued a productive day with a two-run double off Jerod Pepper for a 5-3 lead. Hawkins cruised through the fourth and fifth frames before allowing two straight hits to start the bottom of the sixth and after a sacrifice bunt, Georgia went to sophomore right-hander Earl Daniels to face pinch-hitter Ethan Bennett with two men in scoring position. He got Bennett to pop out to Farmer and then Toles put a charge in to one to right that Peter Verdin hauled in up against the wall to keep it 5-3 Dawgs.

In the seventh, Tennessee put two on with one out against Daniels, and then he battled back to strike out the next two Volunteers in Horne and Daniel Morgan to send it to the eighth. Daniels tossed 1.2 scoreless innings and then sophomore left-hander Blake Dieterich pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts to pick up his second save. Hawkins began the streak of scoreless innings by the bullpen, going 3.1 to collect his second win of the year and his first career SEC victory.

Georgia will be back in action Tuesday when it travels to Turner Field in Atlanta to face ninth-ranked Georgia Tech (30-11) at 7 p.m. on SportSouth. The ninth annual “Spring Baseball Classic For Kids” raises more than $200,000 annually for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and its Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Program. Since 2004, there have more than 20,000 tickets sold annually. Georgia holds a 6-2 edge in the series at Turner Field.

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