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February 22, 2014

Dawgs fall short

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fourth-ranked Florida State used a four-run seventh to break a 4-4 tie and went on to defeat Georgia 10-4 in front of 6,568 fans at Dick Howser Stadium Saturday.

"We were in good shape at 4-4 heading to the seventh, and then we shot ourselves in the foot those last two innings," said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. "We're not throwing the ball in the strike zone and we need to challenge their hitters. It was a great crowd today and a good game until the seventh but we played nearly a four-hour game and that's not fun to watch."

Georgia (1-5) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Freshman centerfielder Stephen Wrenn led off with an infield single and with one out scored on a double by junior left fielder Hunter Cole. Georgia had a chance for more but left two runners in scoring position as junior left-hander Brandon Leibrandt escaped further trouble. In his first start of the season last Saturday, Leibrandt tossed six scoreless frames and allowed just four hits. The Bulldogs managed three hits in the first frame as Cole extended his hitting streak to six games and Wrenn at four games.

FSU (6-0) tied the game in the bottom of the second as Jose Brizuela had a leadoff single, stole second and scored on a two-out double by Ben DeLuzio off sophomore Sean McLaughlin. The Bulldogs responded by reclaiming the lead courtesy of Cole who belted a two-run home run in the third to make it 3-1. Junior Nelson Ward was on after drawing a one-out walk. FSU answered with a two-run home run by DJ Stewart with one out in the third to tie the game at 3-all.

Junior left-hander Jarrett Brown delivered clutch relief when FSU threatened in the fifth. After the first two Seminoles reached, Georgia went to the bullpen. Brown retired the 3-4-5 hitters in the FSU lineup to keep it a tie game.

In the top of the fifth, FSU went to its bullpen as left-hander Bryant Holtmann came on in relief of Leibrandt. Georgia got a pair of one-out singles from Conor Welton and Brandon Stephens to put runners at the corners for sophomore second baseman Cody McCance. He worked the count full and then came through with an RBI-single to put Georgia back in front 4-3. It was McCance's first career hit as a Bulldog. FSU would employ three pitchers in the inning and keep it a one-run contest as the Bulldogs left the bases loaded. FSU tied the game in the sixth on an RBI-single by Danny De La Calle. With two on and two out, Georgia looked to Jared Cheek, and he struck out Justin Gonzalez.

However in the seventh, Stewart smacked a leadoff double off Cheek, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a groundout by John Nogowski to give FSU a 5-4 lead. The Seminoles would send nine to the plate and add three more runs in the inning to build an 8-4 advantage.

Gage Smith (1-0) picked up the win in relief with 1.1 scoreless innings while Cheek fell to 0-2, allowing four runs on one hit with three walks and three wild pitches in an inning. The game lasted three hours and 50 minutes.

The series concludes Sunday with first pitch slated for 1:03 p.m.



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