Following a recent run so sorry it even brought forth an outpouring of sympathy from a South Carolina fan, the Diamond Dogs returned home to Foley Field for a game against Kennesaw State that might have been just what the doctor ordered, were it not for the fact that the Clarke County club has struggled with its Cobb County neighbor. Once again, the Owls were not what they seemed, as KSU crushed the home team on Tuesday night.
Following a hitless first frame featuring a pair of hit batsmen and a scoreless second stanza producing only one baserunner, Kennesaw State took command in the top of the third canto. The big inning began with a leadoff single by Peyton Hart. Jordan Craft notched a base hit of his own in the next at-bat and, with one out away, Tyler Stubblefield sent a single into left field to score a run. A Josh Whitaker walk loaded the bases for Drew Fowlkes, who was issued the base on balls that forced home another run.
At that point, Eric Swegman was pulled from the mound and replaced by Blake Dieterich, who struck out Ronnie Freeman before plunking Clint Roques to bring home a run, surrendering the single to Ross Tendler that pushed two more across, and giving up the ensuing base hit to Hart that scored two more. By the time Craft popped up, the Owls held a 7-0 lead.
Georgia’s only response was a leadoff home run by Cooper Moseley in the bottom of the canto. KSU went three up and three down in the visitors’ half of the fourth frame and the Bulldogs loaded the bases in the lower half of the canto yet came away with nothing. The Owls turned two hits, a hit batsman, and a Red and Black error into a run in the top of the fifth inning but the Athenians offered no retort in their turn at bat, as the side was retired in sequence.
A double, a walk, and an error allowed Kennesaw State to plate an unearned run in the upper half of the sixth stanza. Georgia responded with another hitless inning. Each team registered a hit yet neither team scored a run in the seventh frame. A walk and a pair of singles added up to a run for the Owls in the top of the eighth canto. No Diamond Dog reached base in the bottom of the inning.
A single, another Georgia error, and a triple tacked on another KSU run in the top of the ninth frame before the Bulldogs came up for their last chance at making a game of it. The Red and Black had two men aboard with one man out when Moseley sent a double-play ball to short.
We have now entered the territory occupied by Albert Brooks during his historic on-air attack of flop-sweat in "Broadcast News": this is so off-the-chart bad, it has just gotten funny. Georgia committed three meaningful errors; Kennesaw State was not guilty of a miscue until the ninth stanza, when the game was well out of reach. The Bulldogs gave up a big inning early and surrendered scores in four of the final five frames to allow the Owls to build on their lead, whereas the Red and Black came within one swing of the bat of being shut out at home. Had the Classic City Canines collected twice as many hits as they did, KSU still would have out-hit the Athenians.
Georgia used six pitchers and the only one who didn’t give up a run was Zach Laughlin, who faced the last three Kennesaw State batters of the contest. The first seven Bulldogs in the Red and Black order together went two for 23 with no runs, no RBI, and one walk. Those are the kinds of statistics you make up for a fictional account of a band of lovable losers who are transformed into champions in the second half of the film by grit, moxie, gumption, the homespun wisdom of an irascible manager whose gruff exterior conceals a soft heart underneath, and the love of an alabaster beauty of wealth and breeding who cheers on the indefatigable hero while wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
In reality, however, those numbers merely represent evidence that last year’s late-season disaster has carried over to a 2010 that already is circling the drain. Those of us who view the glass as half-empty (or worse) just picked up a few more votes for our position.