May 6, 2012

Huge sweep for Dawgs

Well, this one helped.

Before this weekend's series with Auburn began, Georgia head coach David Perno talked about how his Bulldogs would likely need to sweep one of its three remaining series to finish .500 in league play. Do that, he figured, and his squad would assure itself a spot in the 64-team tournament field.

Following Sunday's 9-3 trouncing of the Tigers before a Foley Field crowd of 2,394, Georgia (28-20, 12-12) has put itself in position to do just that.

"Getting to .500 now and you're looking at three at home, three on the road, you feel like you can reach that 15-win mark and that it's attainable," Perno said. "Especially, when you're running (Alex) Wood out there for two more starts, (Michael) Palazzone and this bullpen is starting to come."

But the Bulldogs aren't celebrating quite yet.

His Bulldogs still need to win three of their remaining six SEC games, beginning with next week's home series against two-time defending national champion South Carolina (36-12, 16-8). Georgia closes out the regular season in two weeks at Alabama (18-31, 7-17).

"We can't relax, obviously when we might be playing the No. 1 team in the country (South Carolina) coming in here next week," third baseman Curt Powell said. "But it's big getting these three wins, so we've got some momentum; we've got Georgia Tech (Wednesday in Atlanta) and if we get that we'll really be feeling good about ourselves heading into South Carolina."

As he did on Saturday, shortstop Kyle Farmer played an integral role on Sunday as well.

One day after beating the Tigers 6-5 with an 11th-inning single, Farmer rocked Auburn (25-22, 10-14) in the second inning of Sunday's contest when he belted a three-run homer to put the Bulldogs up 5-0. It was the first three-run homer for Georgia this year.

Farmer's fourth homer came after Colby May delivered a run-scoring double, capping the Bulldogs' four-run second.

Designated hitter Justin Bryan brought home Georgia's first run with an infield single in the first, one of 16 hits on the day.

Between them, Powell (3-for-5) and Farmer (3-for-5) went a combined 6-for-10, four runs scored and four RBI for Georgia which now has collected 30 combined hits over its past two games.

Farmer finished with three RBI for Georgia, May two, with Levi Hyams and Brett DeLoach driving in one each.

"The best thing about the offense was winning (Saturday)," Perno said. "Scoring two, because their guy's (Derek Varnadore) out there, that was big. We knew they were a little short-handed today so we felt if we could keep the pressure on we could break through offensively."

Pitcher Luke Crumley deserves his share of kudos as well.

The freshman from White County High went a career-high five innings, gave up just one run, scattered six hits (all with two out) and struck out six, also the most of his young career.

"I always tell the freshmen (pitchers) I'm not going to throw you to the wolves. Well, he was one guy I threw to the wolves," Perno said. "His first start's at Florida and his second start's at LSU. Fortunately, his third start was at home and he did a good job."

The Bulldogs also received a pair of scoreless innings from freshman Jay Swinford before the Tigers touched Earl Daniels for a pair of runs in the eighth before Pete Nagel closed out the contest by retiring five of the game's final six batters with three strikeouts.

"We just needed to play well, and we did," Perno said. "We put three games together where we did a little bit of everything. We pitched well, we played great defense and today we got the big knock. It was outstanding."

NOTES: DeLoach, Bryan and May each added two hits for the Bulldogs. … Georgia returns to action Wednesday night at Georgia Tech before hosting South Carolina for three beginning Friday evening at 7 p.m. (CSS).