February 25, 2012

Dawgs go to 6-0

Georgia head coach David Perno will be the first to admit that it wasn't pretty, but its nice to not play well offensively and get a 2-1 win over Winthrop with a key player not in the lineup.

"We are glad to get that one," said Perno. "(Kyle) Farmer being out (hamstring) was big because he usually gives us a lot of confidence, but we got away with a few things today and our pitching bailed us out."

The pitching, led by senior Saturday stalwart Michael Palazzone was dominant for the Bulldogs for all nine innings against the Eagles.

Palazzone went seven strong innings, scattering three hits, issuing one free pass, surrendering one earned run while sitting down four Winthrop batters on strikes.

"Michael looked really good," said Perno. "He hit a wall, command wise, after the third inning with his secondary stuff, but after that he seemed to get his second wind. He finished really strong.

Winthrop's Eric Ruth was up to the challenge, and drew a great deal of praise from the Georgia lineup.

"He got ahead all day," said right fielder Peter Verdin. "He was able to keep us off balance and you have to give him credit."

Ruth went seven and a third innings giving up six hits, one walk, both Georgia runs, and struck out seven.

Perno was also impressed with the Eagle starter.

"Their guy deserves a lot of credit," he said. "He got ahead and had a put away breaking ball that we struggled with. A lot of our struggles at the plate could be credited to him."

It was Georgia's starter, Palazzone, that gave up the first run of the game on a fifth inning, two-out single by Winthrop catcher Tyler Donovan that scored second baseman Chad Smith.

Georgia immediately responded when designated hitter Brett DeLoach led of the bottom of the fifth with a infield single, Georgia's first hit of the game, followed by a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Colby May.

DeLoach scored just a few pitches later on a run scoring, well placed double by second baseman Nelson Ward who was filling in for the injured Farmer with usual starting second baseman Levi Hyams moving over the play shortstop. Ward's double was the only extra base hit of the contest.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when catcher Brandon Stephens, who came on in the top of the seventh for starting backstop Joey Delmonico, led off with a single that was followed by a fake bunt slash single by third baseman Curt Powell.

With runners on first and second with no outs, leadoff hitter Conor Welton struck out trying to move the runners up with a sacrifice, but he was immediately picked up by Verdin who ripped a single through the left side of the infield to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.

According to Perno, Powell's play to set up the RBI single was one that all players have the green light to attempt if the situation is right.

"We really like to free up our guys to fake the bunt and slash when the third baseman comes crashing on the bunt," said Perno. That was a great play."

Bryan Benzor, who had come on to replace Palazzone in the eighth and pitched a perfect frame, retired the side in order in the ninth to move his record to 2-0 on the season.

Georgia will look to go 7-0 and attempt a series sweep over the Eagles on Sunday at 1:00pm at Foley Field.

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