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February 24, 2013
Key hit eludes Dawgs
After Georgia scored 10 runs in a Game 2 loss to Belmont on Saturday, no doubt the Bulldogs were hoping for a little offensive carry-over for Sunday's finale.
But it wasn't to be, as the Bruins struck for three runs in the 11th and held on to a 5-4 victory before a Foley Field crowd of 1,829.
"We had opportunities to score and just didn't take advantage of it," head coach David Perno said of his Bulldogs, who pounded out 15 hits but stranded 13 runners on the afternoon. "It's tough. I don't know what to say because our guys are fighting, they're playing hard and they deserve a break. We just can't get it right now."
The victory allowed Belmont (5-2) to claim the three-game series 2-1 as Georgia fell to 2-5 on the year.
Starting pitcher Luke Crumley deserved a better fate.
After giving up seven runs in just two innings at Georgia Southern, the tall righty recovered nicely against Belmont, going a career-best 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on just two hits with zero walks and three strikeouts.
"It was big for me," Crumley said. "You never want to start your season like that, so this was big. The coaches and I made some adjustments, some mechanical switches and we were able to get it right."
At one point, Crumley retired 14 of the 15 batters he faced from the first inning on until Drew Ferguson doubled inside the bag at third with one out in the sixth.
That was enough for Perno, who pulled Crumley in favor of Mike Mancuso who gave up the tying run when the next batter Jared Breen singled to right.
"Crumley was outstanding," Perno said. "That was probably as consistent as far as what he's been doing been doing and being able to complete his delivery and present three pitches. That was probably his best."
Unfortunately for Crumley, he didn't get much help from his offense, either.
A pair of solo home runs from Hunter Cole and Brett DeLoach helped the Bulldogs to 2-1 lead, but Georgia wasted two prime opportunities in the third and fifth to significantly add to their one-run advantage.
In the third, Georgia nearly batted around and had the bases loaded for Cole who lined into a 4-3 double-play to end the inning.
The fifth started almost promising after the Bulldogs opened the inning by getting runners to first and third with nobody out but failed to score as well.
"It was tough. We were doing everything right except for getting that one extra run in the first nine innings," said third baseman Curt Powell, who had five of Georgia's 15 hits. "We're right there. I feel like we're right there, we just need to get that big hit."
Georgia could have used the runs.
Neither team was able to mount any offense at all until the Bruins struck for three runs in the 11th to take a 5-2 lead, one run scoring on a wild pitch by J.T. Phillips and two more on a single by Dom Veltri.
As they did in Saturday's Game 2, the Bulldogs tried to rally in the inning's bottom half, scoring twice on singles by Kyle Farmer and Hunter Cole before pinch-hitter Blake Dieterich struck out to end the game.
Heath Holder (0-1) took the loss for Georgia.
NOTES: Georgia returns action Tuesday when the Bulldogs travel to Georgia State. The Bulldogs return home this weekend for a three-game set against UAB beginning Friday. …By going 5-for-6, Powell became the first Bulldog to get five hits in a game since Levi Hyams against Baylor in 2011.