March 6, 2012

Farmer boosts Dawgs

LAWRENCEVILLE - Although Georgia's bats remain in an early-season slumber, as long his Bulldogs continue to win, skipper David Perno won't complain - at least too much.

That basically sums up his feelings after Tuesday night's game against Kennesaw State in the Gwinnett Baseball Classic at Coolray Field, which wasn't decided until the bottom of the ninth when Kyle Farmer singled to beat the Owls 3-2.

"The bats will get hot eventually," said Farmer. "This is probably a win that we needed. Everybody started hitting late in the game, and we got the one there in the ninth that we needed."

With the game tied at 2, pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz led off the bottom of the ninth by reaching on a throwing error by Kennesaw third baseman Aaron Dobbs.

After pinch-runner Nelson Ward went into run, Peter Verdin laid down a sacrifice bunt before Zak Griffith intentionally walked Curt Powell to put runners at first and second. Following a wild pitch to move Ward to third, Griffith intentionally walked Conor Welton bringing up Farmer who laced a 2-1 pitch to left to drive in the winning run.

The win boosts Georgia to 11-2 on the year heading into this weekend's series at Foley Field against 16th-ranked UCLA.

Tuesday's victory also made a victory of reliever Blake Dieterich (3-0), who walked just one batter and struck out three in 2 1/3 innings.

Dietrich was the winning pitcher in last year's Gwinnett Classic when Georgia beat Alabama in the inaugural game, 6-3.

Farmer went 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI for Georgia which only collected six hits, but did draw five walks.

"Anytime you walk the same amount of times that you strike out, you're going to have some opportunities," Perno said. "So we had some opportunities. We just didn't get enough two-out hits, but we're getting better offensively."

Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring Welton on a sacrifice fly by Levi Hyams, who drove the ball to deep right field only to be robbed by Chris McGowan who made a great running catch.

Starter Josh Sosebee went three innings for the Bulldogs - giving up the tying run in the second - before being replaced by freshman Pete Nagel, who allowed just one hit in two innings before the Owls eventually scored a run in the seventh to take the lead.

A bases-loaded walk by Dieterich - the last of six Bulldog pitchers - forced in the run.

But Georgia would answer in the inning's bottom half.

Following a single by Verdin, Powell laid down a sacrifice bringing up Welton who lined a double inside the bag at third for the tying run.

But that would be all the scoring for the inning.

Farmer followed with a bouncer to third, but the throw back across the diamond was able to get Welton after the Bulldog center fielder slid off the bag to keep the game tied at 2-2.

NOTES: Prior to the game, little Kasyn Olivadotti threw out the first pitch with her dad, Bulldog inside linebacker coach Kirk Olivadotti at her side. Kasyn Olivadotti was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.). Earlier this year, the UGA football coaches Wives, in conjunction with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, established The Kasyn Cares Fund to benefit cancer research at the Aflac Cancer Center in honor of young Kasyn. Net proceeds for the game will benefit The Kasyn Cares Fund. … Georgia returns to action Friday evening against 16th-ranked UCLA at Foley Field. Gametime is set for 6:30 p.m. … With his fifth-inning hit-by-pitch, Verdin has now reached base in 13 straight games.