March 10, 2012

Errors doom Dawgs

Friday night it was the bats, Saturday it was the gloves.

Either way, the results were the same as ninth-ranked Georgia dropped its second straight game to 16th-ranked UCLA 7-6 Saturday as four Bulldog errors lead to an equal amount of unearned runs.

"Too many mistakes today and that was unfortunate, because that was the first probably real horrible game that we've played defensively," skipper David Perno said. "It happens. It's baseball and these young kids, you make mistakes and we made our fair share of them today. We gave up four unearned runs and that was the difference."

Despite the miscues, the Bulldogs (11-4) tried to rally late.

Trailing 7-5 going to the bottom of the ninth, a wild pitch by Bruin closer Scott Griggs scored Brett DeLoach for the tying run with Jonathan Hester moving to third.

But that would be as close as Georgia would get as pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz grounded out to short to end the game, dropping its second in a row despite out-hitting UCLA (11-3) 10-9.

"We swung the bats good today; I was happy about that," said junior Kyle Farmer, who went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. "But our defense didn't show up today."

Georgia struck for three runs in the third, breaking a string of 11 straight scoreless innings going back to Tuesday night's game against Kennesaw State.

Freshman Nelson Ward started off the inning by drawing a walk after falling behind 1-2, bringing up Conor Welton who beat out a bunt single when Bruin second baseman Kevin Williams was late getting to the bag at first.

Farmer then followed with a double down the line in left for Georgia's first run, followed by DeLoach who drove the first pitch he saw for a sacrifice fly to center field. Two batters later, Hester singled to center to bring home Farmer for the third run.

Bulldog starter Pete Nagel, meanwhile, was rolling right along.

The freshman from Metter retired the first 12 batters he faced before the Bruins struck for three runs to tie the game, although just one was earned when Ward dropped a two-out, bases-loaded line drive that allowed two more to score.

In the sixth, Michael Palazzone took over for Nagel and gave up the go-ahead run on an RBI fielder's choice by Trevor Brown to make the score 4-3.

One inning later, the Bulldogs finally got the two-out they've been lacking of late when Farmer's double off reliever Eric Filia-Snyder tied the game.

But it didn't stay that way for long.

What followed was not for the young to watch as Bulldog fielders botched the first two plays of the eighth for a pair of errors, including a throwing miscue by Palazzone (0-1), that led to two unearned runs and a 6-4 Bruin lead.

It could have been much worse.

UCLA eventually loaded the bases with nobody out, but didn't score any more as Earl Daniels struck out a Bruin batter before enticing a double-play.

The Bruins tried to return the favor in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Ryan Deeter (1-0) when Brown bobbled a throw from short that would have been the final out, scoring Jared Walsh for Georgia's fifth run.

That brought up Farmer with the bases loaded, but Griggs struck out the Bulldog shortstop to keep the score 6-5 before the Bruins added a run in the ninth for a 7-5 edge.

Still, Perno did leave the game seeing some positive.

"I'm excited about the way we approached our at-bats today," Perno said. "I think it gives us something to build on offensively. Guys had good at-bats, we've just got to keep plugging, keep playing different people and keep everybody sharp."

NOTES: Georgia and UCLA wrap up their three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m. … With Peter Verdin's second inning fielder's choice, he has now reached base in all 15 of Georgia's games. … Hester made his first starts at first b in place of the slumping Colby May and responded with three hits in five at-bats. Ward, meanwhile, opened at second in place of Levi Hyams, who came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.

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