April 3, 2010

Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

Sophomore Levi Hyams and freshman Kyle Farmer combined to drive in seven runs, and a trio of senior pitchers led Georgia to a 12-6 win over fourth-ranked LSU Saturday in front of 7,468 at Alex Box Stadium.

Georgia (10-16, 2-6 SEC) was on the verge of a fast start against LSU right-hander Austin Ross in the first. With one out, third baseman Beau Didier’s miscue of a grounder by Peter Verdin allowed him to advance to second. Hyams (3-for-4, 4 RBI) drilled a single up the middle to give Georgia a 1-0 edge. Sophomore Zach Cone followed with a single to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. With runners at the corners, Ross recovered to retire Robert Shipman (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Zach Taylor to keep it 1-0. LSU (22-4, 6-2 SEC) answered in the bottom of the inning. Mikie Mahtook led off with a double off Bulldog senior Jeff Walters and eventually scored on a groundout by first baseman Blake Dean to the contest at 1-all.

In the third, Verdin reached on a one-out single and then Hyams made it 3-1 with an opposite field blast for his first home run of the season. LSU closed the gap to 3-2 in its half of the inning. Mahtook notched his second double of the game and Tyler Hanover drove him in with a base hit. LSU had runners at first and second with one out and Walters struck out Micah Gibbs. On the play, LSU attempted a double steal and Hanover was thrown out at third to end the inning. In the fourth, LSU loaded the bases with two outs and Walters got Mahtook to fly out to right to maintain a 3-2 advantage.

In the fifth, Georgia increased its lead to 6-2 with a two-out rally, scoring three runs on three hits. Verdin started the outburst with a double. Hyams tied his career high with his fourth RBI, a run-scoring double. After a four-pitch walk to Cone, Shipman had a solid at bat as Cone moved in to scoring position by stealing second base. After falling behind 0-2, he worked the count full before lining a two-run single to left to make it 6-2. Shipman now has 16 RBI on the year including a team-best 10 with two outs.

“Robert grew up in that at bat, he made an adjustment and that was a huge hit for us,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We had a lot of guys step up today including a big day from Levi and Kyle, and we didn’t beat ourselves. We made all the plays and didn’t walk many guys. I left it up to the seniors on the mound and they did the job. We had a nice start and stayed after it. LSU kept coming after us, and we responded with a strong finish for the victory.”

In five innings Saturday, when Georgia scored, LSU came right back to answer. In the fifth, the Tigers had a two-out rally of their own. Gibbs lined a double to right and designated hitter Matt Gaudet (4-for-5, 4 RBI) crushed his team-leading 11th home run to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Ross was lifted in the sixth as LSU brought in right-hander Mitch Mormann. Ross surrendered six runs on seven hits in five innings. He had one walk and seven strikeouts. Georgia got one run back in the sixth with some production from the bottom of the order. Farmer (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Colby May and scored on an RBI-single by catcher Christian Glisson. Jonathan Taylor followed with a double but Mormann avoided a big inning by retiring Verdin and Hayms to keep it 7-4.

Georgia chased Mormann in the seventh, scoring three more runs on three hits as LSU looked to Chris Cotton. In the inning, Farmer had an RBI-double and May collected a two-run single for a 10-4 advantage.  Georgia went to the bullpen at that point as Walter had gone a career-high six innings. He allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Senior Justin Earls got through the seventh and held the Tigers to just one run. Hanover led off with a double and scored on a two-out base hit by Gaudet to give him four RBI on the day and make it 10-5. In the ninth, Farmer capped his best day as a Bulldog off with his first career home run, a two-run blast off of Ben Alsup to make it 12-5.

Walters notched the win to move his record to 1-2 while Ross fell to 3-2. Earls provided two innings and Steve Esmonde pitched the ninth to preserve the victory.

The rubber game of the series is Sunday with first pitch slated for 1:06 p.m. ET as the game will be televised by CSS and Cox Sports. Georgia will start sophomore right-hander Michael Palazzone (3-2, 7.48 ERA) while the Tigers will go with right-hander Joey Bourgeois (3-1, 5.64 ERA).