After losing a one-run game on Friday night and winning a one-run game on Saturday afternoon, the Diamond Dogs took to the field in Oxford, Miss., on Sunday afternoon with the goal of winning an S.E.C. road series in baseball. They fell far short of their goal.
Ryan Peisel began the game by grounding out, but Gordon Beckham followed that up with a double down the left field line. Jonathan Wyatt punched a 2-0 pitch through the left side to put runners at the corners with one out, but the next two Georgia batters struck out to strand the Georgia shortstop 90 feet from home plate.
I elected to include a photograph of Kristin Davis because nothing else about Sunday's baseball game looked good.
The Rebels went three up and three down in the bottom of the first frame and the only baserunner the Red and Black produced in the top of the second stanza was Jake Crane, who was hit by a pitch with two outs. In the home half of the inning, Cody Overbeck put the first pitch up the middle for a single and Logan Power reached base on a throwing error.
When Kyle Mills grounded into a double play, the Ole Miss third baseman advanced to his customary position on the diamond, from which a Zach Miller single scored the initial run of the outing. To add insult to injury, the Rebel second baseman advanced to his familiar location on a throwing error and C.J. Ketchum drew a walk on four straight pitches. Fortunately, Brett Basham struck out to prevent additional damage, but the home team had assumed a 1-0 lead in spite of the fact that each team had collected a pair of hits.
After the Diamond Dogs went in order in the top of the third inning, Jordan Henry led off the bottom of the frame with a bunt single on the first pitch thrown his way. The Mississippi right fielder took second base on a passed ball and his older brother walked. Zack Cozart put the first pitch he saw into play, laying down a base hit bunt that loaded the bases for Overbeck, whose single through the left side brought home a pair of runs.
"So, Beck, you were under Oveur and over Unger?" "That's right. Beck was over Unger and I was over Beck."
Power and Mills each flied out in succession, advancing the Rebel shortstop the two additional bases it took to make the score 4-0. After Miller was plunked, Ketchum grounded out to end the inning. The side was retired in order in the top of the fourth frame, so the home team rapidly came back up to bat.
Both of the brothers Henry reached base in the bottom of the inning, as did Cozart on a walk. This resulted in Justin Earls's removal from the contest after he had surrendered five hits and four earned runs to the 21 batters he had faced. Trevor Holder was brought on and he obtained the requisite out that ended the stanza without any scoring occurring.
No Bulldog reached base in the fifth canto, but the Rebels returned to work in the home half of the frame. After Power flied out, Mills knocked a base hit up the middle and was succeeded on the basepaths by Fuller Smith. Miller's ensuing base hit moved the Mississippi pinch runner to second, then Ketchum reached on a fielding error to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Basham plated an additional run before Jordan Henry flied out to conclude the home team's turn at bat.
Had he not dropped dead following his successful competition against a locomotive, John Henry would have been proud of his sons, Jordan and Justin.
Little of note transpired in the sixth stanza, in which Cozart was the lone baserunner for either team. The Diamond Dogs threatened in the seventh inning, which began with a leadoff walk by Rich Poythress. A Matt Olson single moved the Georgia first baseman to second and brought Justin Cryer to the mound. The Ole Miss reliever gave up a base on balls to Matt Robbins before inducing Matt Cerione to pop up and persuading Crane to line into a double play.
A Smith walk was the sole achievement by the Rebel offense in the home half of the seventh stanza and the base on balls Beckham drew on four straight pitches produced the lone Georgia baserunner in the top of the following frame. The bottom of the eighth inning began with a pitching switch from Holder to Jason Leaver and the new Red and Black hurler threw five pitches to Jordan Henry, four of which were balls.
Justin Henry flied out, but the next four Mississippi batters recorded singles, producing a trio of runs in the process. After Evan Button struck out, Peyton Farr received the free pass to first base that loaded the bases and brought Ryan Woolley in from the bullpen. The Georgia reliever's first pitch struck Alex Kliman to bring home another Rebel run and Woolley's second throw to home plate resulted in JoJo Tann hitting into the fielder's choice that ended the inning with the home team holding a 9-0 advantage.
Doctors recommend the liberal application of sunscreen before laying out at the beach, as harmful ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of several skin ailments, including the dreaded JoJo Tann.
The first two Georgia batters in the top of the ninth inning grounded out, but Robbins succeeded in dropping a base hit into right field. It proved to be too little too late, as Cerione flied out in the next at-bat to wrap up the contest and the series.
Nothing about this game wasn't bad. The Diamond Dogs were shut out, they surrendered nine earned runs, they allowed three times as many hits (12) as they recorded (4), and they committed a trio of errors. Georgia's leadoff hitter (Ryan Peisel), cleanup hitter (Rich Poythress), and designated hitter (Matt Robbins) had one hit between them in a combined 10 at-bats. The Red and Black pitching staff collectively recorded four strikeouts while giving up seven walks. The closest thing to a bright spot that the Classic City Canines could claim was the fact that, since so few Bulldogs reached base, only seven men were left stranded.
This weekend, the undefeated and top-ranked Georgia men's tennis team claimed its 24th regular-season S.E.C. championship and its second consecutive conference crown, the once-beaten No. 3 Georgia women's tennis team maintained its league lead with a 6-1 road victory over Ole Miss, and the Georgia equestrian team won its third straight Southern Equestrian Championship, but there was no joy in baseball, where the Classic City Canines absorbed their worst drubbing of the year so far.