April 24, 2012

Dawgs fall in ninth

ATLANTA - Leave it to the son of one of the Atlanta Braves' management hierarchy to do in the Georgia Bulldogs Tuesday night at Turner Field.

That's exactly what happened when Kyle Wren - the son of Braves GM Frank Wren - drove in the go-ahead run with two out in the ninth to give the Yellow Jackets a 4-3 win as the Bulldogs once again struggled with runners in scoring position.

"We do that every night. We're used to it," said Bulldog skipper David Perno, shaking his head after his team left 11 on base. "It's wearing on our pitching. They just have to be so perfect and it's making things extremely tough. I don't have any answers right now."

Reliever Blake Benzor (4-3) appeared to have the ninth well in hand for Georgia after striking out the first two batters.

Unfortunately, that's when his luck ran out.

After Mott Hyde singled and stole second, Wren laced a single to plate what turned out to be the winning run.

Georgia (24-18) tried to rally in the inning's bottom half.

Kyle Farmer reached on a one-out single, but that was as far as he got as Tech reliever Alex Cruz (5-1) got Brandon Stephens and Levi Hyams to ground out ending the game.

"I guess I was trying too hard, you know?" Hyams said. "We may have been too tight for this game. It's difficult, you come out here, you're all hyped up playing in Turner Field, but kudos to them. They got it done and we didn't."

It didn't take Georgia long to scratch out the game's first run.

Following a leadoff double by Conor Welton, a perfect sacrifice bunt by Nelson Ward set up Farmer, whose grounder to second put the Bulldogs up 1-0.

Tech tied it up in the third, getting a leadoff double from Hyde, who scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Sam Dove, although it took a nice sliding catch by Peter Verdin to keep the ball from going for extra bases.

Both teams would escape jams in the game's middle innings.

First, it was Georgia Tech which escaped a second and third jam in the fourth when reliever Zane Evans struck out Colby May before the Bulldogs returned the favor in the fifth.

With runners at first and third and two out, Perno pulled starter Blake Dieterich in favor of freshman Pete Nagel, who struck out Dove for the third out.

Georgia would reward Nagel in the inning's bottom half.

Following a leadoff double by Curt Powell, Welton moved him up with a grounder to second bringing up Ward who singled to right driving in the go-ahead run.

But the Yellow Jackets would answer in the seventh to claim the lead.

After a one-out double by Thomas Smith, Hyde launched a deep drive to left which bounced off the top of the fence for a two-run homer to put Tech up 3-2.

Georgia, however, responded in the inning's bottom half.

Following a one-out single by Ward, Farmer and Stephens were hit with in consecutive at-bats loading it up for Hyams who drove in the tying run on a high chopper to second.

Verdin then bounced out to the pitcher to send the game to the eighth tied at 3-3.

"We're just doing a real poor job with runners in scoring position, there's just no other way to spin it," Perno said. "Nobody's stepping up at all. Curt's (Powell) having great at-bats and I look like an idiot hitting him in the nine-hole. He should be hitting third, so we're going to have to visit that."

Ward, Verdin and Powell each had two hits to lead Georgia, which actually out-hit Georgia Tech (25-17) 8-7.

NOTES: Powell's fifth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … The Bulldogs return to action this weekend for a three-game set at LSU which begins Friday at 8:07 p.m. Georgia returns home on May 4 for a three-game series against Auburn. … Tuesday's attendance was 19,669. ... Left fielder Hunter Cole missed his sixth straight game with a pulled muscle in his side.

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