Tonight’s game is set for a 6:30 p.m. start.Georgia enters this weekend’s meeting winners of five straight and seven of its last eight.
Ole Miss, meanwhile, is hoping to turn things around and break out of its recent slump having lost five of its last seven.
SCOUTING THE DAWGS: As a team the Bulldogs are hitting a league-worst .233, but as Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco pointed out, its been Georgia’s pitching that has earned it wins against SEC foes.
“Offensively they have struggled a little bit, but in conference play they have pitched so well that they only have to score a few runs — which, it seems like that’s what the guys at the top have done,” he said.
The Bulldogs staff boasts a 2.14 ERA, third-best in the league and has limited opponents to a .247 batting average.
Starting tonight for Georgia will be sophomore left-hander Alex Wood.
Wood is 3-3 on the year with a 3.40 ERA.
Right-handed junior Michael Palazzone (4-1, 2.14) and junior lefty Craig Gullickson (3-1, 4.38) will take the mound for Georgia on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
— STARTING LINEUPS —
GEORGIA (16-14, 6-3)
2B Levi Hyams .328 BA
3B Curt Powell .274
SS Kyle Farmer .241
CF Zach Cone .299
DH Brett DeLoach .289
RF Kevin Ruiz .276
1B Jonathan Hester .258
C Brandon Stephens .255
LF Peter Verdin .222
LHP Alex Wood (3-3, 3.40 ERA)
OLE MISS (19-11, 4-5)
CF Tanner Mathis .358
SS Blake Newalu .312
2B Alex Yarbrough .339
1B Matt Smith .330
LF Matt Tracy .291
3B Preston Overbey .257
DH Matt Snyder .260
C Taylor Hightower .324
RF Jordan Poole .250
LHP Matt Crouse (6-1, 2.23)
— SCORING SUMMARY —
Ole Miss 3, Georgia 0 (BOTTOM 1): Georgia third baseman Curt Powell and starter Alex Wood had a difficult first inning. After Wood hit Tanner Mathis and walked Blake Newalu to start the game, Powell pulled up on a bunt laid down the third base line by Alex Yarbrough thinking it was going foul. The ball stayed fair and after Matt Smith struck out looking Powell threw a ball off the bat of Matt Tracy into right field attempting to start a double play. The error resulted in two runs for the Rebels. Following a mound visit, Preston Overbey lifted a one-out pitch from Wood into deep center field, scoring Yarbrough from third to round out Ole Miss’ scoring.
Ole Miss 3, Georgia 2 (TOP 3): Powell makes up for one of the earlier runs he helped allow by scoring Peter Verdin from second base on a single past Smith at first base. A two-out single by Zach Cone following a walk to Kyle Farmer scored Powell easily from second base to plate Georgia’s second run.
Georgia 4, Ole Miss 3 (TOP 4): Georgia added two more runs in the top of the fourth thanks to three singles. Leadoff hitter Levi Hyams scored Jonathan Hester and Brandon Stephens via a hit to right field.
Georgia 6, Ole Miss 3 (TOP 5): In what was one of the more bizarre plays I’ve seen live, Cone extended the Georgia lead to 6-3 with no outs.After hitting a double to left-center (scoring Farmer easily), Ole Miss shortstop Blake Newalu threw the relay throw into the ground allowing Cone to race to third base. Ole Miss catcher Taylor Hightower attempted to slide and flip the ball to third base, but whipped the ball over Preston Overbey’s head. The second error of the play allowed Cone to score Georgia’s sixth run of the game.
Georgia 6, Ole Miss 4 (BOTTOM 5): Newalu sacrifice fly to center field scored Hightower from third base to get Ole Miss back on the scoreboard.
Georgia 7, Ole Miss 4 (TOP 6): Following a single, sacrifice bunt and another single to put runners on the corners, Powell hit a fly ball to center field to score Stephens.
Georgia 7, Ole Miss 5 (BOTTOM 6): Overbey hit his second home run of the season in the sixth inning, a solo shot over the wall in center field.
Georgia 7, Ole Miss 6 (BOTTOM 7): Hightower and Jordan Poole led off the seventh with back-to-back singles and after a wild pitch advanced both runners to third and second, pinch-runner Jordan King scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tanner Mathis.
Georgia 8, Ole Miss 6 (TOP 8 ): Hester led off the eighth inning for Georgia with a solo home run into Ole Miss’ bullpen, ending the night for Ole Miss starter Matt Crouse.
Georgia 9, Ole Miss 6 (TOP 9): Georgia plated an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to a fielding blunder off the glove of Overbey that allowed Cone to score from second base.
Georgia 9, Ole Miss 8 (BOTTOM 9): Poole made the most of his first start of his career, placing the first pitch he saw from closer Tyler Maloof well over the Rebels’ bullpen for a two-run homer. (If you were at the game, you more than likely were able to pick out Jordan’s mother, Sabrina. She was the one down the third-base line jumping up and down with her fists in the air.) Poole’s first-career home run wasn’t enough, however, as the next three Rebels were retired in order to preserve the Georgia win.
— BY THE NUMBERS —
Despite the two runs against Maloof picked up his 12th save of the season.
Crouse (6-2) was saddled with his second loss in as many starts, surrendering eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 7.0 innigns. He also struck out two.
Wood (4-3) earned the win, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk in 7.0 innings.
Hightower and Poole, both Georgia natives, led Ole Miss with two hits apiece. Poole and Overbey also had team-highs with two RBIs each.
Saturday’s game is set for a 2 p.m. start and will be televised on SportSouth.
David Goforth (1-4) will get the start for Ole Miss, while Georgia will go with Michael Palazzone (4-1).
(April 8, 2011)