April 24, 2009

Courtesy of Georgiadawgs.com

OXFORD, Miss. - Joey Lewis' two-out grand slam in the top of the seventh broke a 2-2 tie and lifted top-ranked Georgia to a 6-3 win over Ole Miss in front of 9,232 fans Friday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

Lewis had been in a 1-for-19 slump, but his 13th home run of the season helped give Georgia (33-9, 14-5 SEC) its eighth straight SEC road win as the Bulldogs maintained a 1.5 game lead in the race for the SEC championship.

"This one was tough," Georgia coach David Perno said. "Trevor (Holder) was phenomenal after the first inning. We walked the leadoff guy in eight and ninth, but we were still able to win. Our home run was worth four runs and their two were worth three. We didn't get any help anywhere else in the league tonight but we took care of business. To come here in this environment and win was quite an experience."

Both teams plated two runs in the first, then the two veteran pitchers settled in as Georgia's Holder allowed just two hits in the next five innings while the Rebels' Drew Pomeranz faced just four batters in each of the next five frames.

Ole Miss (30-12, 11-8 SEC) threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but Holder induced an inning-ending groundout from Kevin Mort.

Then in the seventh, Georgia's leadoff hitter Michael Demperio singled to left field on an 0-2 pitch then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Cerione. Pomeranz was lifted for reliever David Goforth, who got Colby May to fly out to right field for the second out, moving Demperio to third. Rich Poythress was intentionally walked and Bryce Massanari drew a walk to load the bases for Lewis who launched his second grand slam of the season to left field on a 1-1 pitch.

"Lewis had been struggling, but he didn't go up there and take a strike," Perno said. "He wanted to be the guy in that moment, he stayed aggressive and got his pitch."

Georgia scored first as Cerione reached on an error to lead off the first, then May walked and Poythress drove in two runs on an opposite field double to give the Dogs the early lead. Ole Miss' Logan Power tied it on a two-run homer to straight away center in the bottom of the inning. Neither team scored again until Lewis' grand slam in the seventh.

Ole Miss' Kyle Henson blasted a two-out solo home run in the eighth to cut the lead to 6-3, and the Rebels brought the tying run to the plate after a pair of walks, but Dean Weaver entered the game and got David Phillips to ground out to end the threat. Weaver worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Trevor Holder (7-2) held the Rebels to two runs on three hits in six innings to tie Cris Carpenter for fourth all-time at Georgia with 22 career wins. Pomeranz (4-2) was charged with the loss as he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings.

Poythress went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk, and Levi Hyams and Peter Verdin added two hits for Georgia, who outhit Ole Miss 11-4. Poythress' two RBI tie him with Jeff Keppinger for fourth all-time at UGA with 168 RBI and he has now driven in 69 runs this season, just eight shy of the single season school record.

The Bulldogs and Rebels will play the second game of the series Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern. Alex McRee (4-0, 2.19) will face off against Ole Miss' Phillip Irwin (5-3, 3.57).