The Diamond Dogs limped into Foley Field on the evening of Confederate Memorial Day for a game against Georgia Tech that I felt compelled to follow while peering out from between my fingers as I covered my eyes in fear of what I might see if I dared to watch the stomping that was sure to follow.
After all, the Yellow Jackets are very, very good at baseball and the Bulldogs are very, very . . . not. Nevertheless, Georgia's Nathan Moreau pitched a whale of a game, allowing just two runs in five innings of work.
Both Golden Tornado scores came in the top of the fourth frame, one on a Matt Wieters solo shot to center and the other an unearned run attributable to an error on the part of the Red and Black.
The Diamond Dogs were getting it done at the plate, as well, belting out 16 hits and a dozen runs over the course of the contest. Georgia was up 4-0 after one, 10-0 after two, and 12-2 after five.
The usual tandem of Jonathan Wyatt, Joey Side, Gordon Beckham, and Josh Morris generated the runs in the first two frames, while Matt Olson led off the fifth inning with a single and eventually came around to score.
Why, then, was I so nervous when Moreau was taken from the game at the start of the sixth stanza and succeeded on the mound by Trevor Holder? After all, Holder retired the first batter he faced . . . but then my fears began to appear well-founded.
Jeff Kindel hit a home run and successive singles were surrendered to Andy Hawranick, Mike Trapani, Michael Fisher, and, later in the inning, Steven Blackwood. All told, four runs crossed the plate during the sixth inning, halving the home team's advantage with three and a half innings remaining.
Fortunately, the scoring ceased there, but it was not without its nerve-wracking moments as I awaited anxiously the moment at which the Diamond Dogs would blow the lead. To their credit, they shut down the big inning in progress and held the Ramblin' Wreck scoreless the rest of the way, preserving a 12-6 victory over a top-tier opponent.
I'm not ready to redeclare my confidence in the balance of the season, but, for now, I'll take this win, which Georgia needed in the worst way.