If you want the short version of the Diamond Dogs’ series-opening game against Florida State on Friday night, just replay Georgia’s midweek loss to Alabama. We were warned that the Seminoles were offensively potent, and they proved it in a 12-1 annihilation of the Red and Black.
The scoreless first frame actually appeared promising for the Classic City Canines, as Johnathan Taylor led off with a single and the Tribe’s only baserunner was plunked by Justin Grimm. It was all downhill from there for the Diamond Dogs, though. After Georgia went three up and three down in the visitors’ half of the second stanza, a pair of singles and a Kevin Ruiz error allowed an unearned run to score, then a wild pitch followed by a base hit plated another.
Taylor’s two-out single was all the Athenians had to show for the top of the third canto, but James Ramsey began the bottom of the inning with a bang when he sent a solo shot to right field. A base hit, a walk, a double-play ball, and another base on balls set the stage for the Justin Gonzalez home run that made it 6-0 for the home team.
The Diamond Dogs generated a run in the upper half of the fourth frame on a leadoff single by Peter Verdin, a Seminole error, a groundout, and a flyout. Florida State answered in the bottom of the stanza on a couple of singles followed by a Ramsey home run. The side was retired in sequence in the top of the fifth frame, but the lower half of the canto saw the bases loaded with one out when three of the first four Tribe batters walked, singled, and were plunked, respectively. A base hit by Stephen Cardullo brought two men home and a subsequent sacrifice fly scored one more.
Singles by Taylor and Verdin in the visitors’ half of the sixth stanza were erased by inning-ending strikeouts, while a pair of FSU walks in the home team’s turn at the plate were nullified by a double play. Christian Glisson produced the only hit by either team in the seventh frame, and, following a hitless eighth canto, the Red and Black came up to bat for the final time. Zach Taylor and Robert Shipman both drew bases on balls before Lance Martin went down swinging and Glisson grounded into the double play that put a second straight humiliating setback into the books.
Aside from the fact that the errors were even at one apiece, this outing was just as atrocious as Wednesday night’s. Johnathan Taylor (3 for 4) and Peter Verdin (2 for 3) between them accounted for five of Georgia’s six hits and no individual Bulldog batter had both an RBI and a hit to his credit. The Seminole hurlers carded ten strikeouts and did not issue a walk in the first eight innings, while Red and Black starter Justin Grimm surrendered eleven hits and seven earned runs in a scant four frames.
Right now, this is not a good baseball team. The Classic City Canines currently are capable of eking out victories over inferior opponents but are not able to take the field against competent competition. Not only does the string of College World Series appearances in even-numbered seasons appear very much in peril, but it appears highly doubtful that a winning record is even in the cards. If this young team does not grow up in a hurry, the Diamond Dogs will turn out to be as much of an embarrassment as . . . well, pretty much all the major Georgia sports teams in the last year or two, actually.