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Saturday was not the best of times in Bulldog Nation. The men’s basketball team lost to Alabama, the women’s basketball team lost to Tennessee, and the top-ranked softball team saw the day’s contests canceled. At Foley Field, however, the Diamond Dogs avenged Friday’s one-run loss with the one-run win that dealt Florida State its first setback of the season.
The Tribe drew first blood on a solo shot to right field in the top of the second stanza, but that lone run represented the sum total of Florida State’s scoring for the afternoon. Starting pitcher Michael Palazzone spent seven innings on the hill, fanning five and walking none while holding the ‘Noles to five hits.
The Classic City Canines finally got on the board in the home half of the fifth canto. Third baseman Curt Powell led off with a single to center field, and right fielder Peter Verdin sacrificed him over to second. Second baseman Levi Hyams brought the baserunner home with a two-out double to tie the game. Georgia took the lead in the bottom of the seventh stanza, when left fielder Johnathan Taylor followed up Verdin’s leadoff triple with a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
FSU did not go quietly, as pinch hitter Rafael Lopez led off the ninth inning with a single off of reliever Patrick Boling. After pinch hitter Stephen McGee drew a one-out walk to put the go-ahead run aboard, Tyler Maloof came in from the bullpen and secured the save by striking out Justin Gonzalez and Devon Travis.
The Georgia pitching staff together carded ten strikeouts, while the Diamond Dogs were led at the plate by Levi Hyams (2 for 4, 1 RBI) and Curt Powell (2 for 3). Amazingly enough, the Red and Black have a chance to claim the series win in their toughest non-conference weekend matchup in Sunday’s rubber game. Securing the weekend’s second victory over Florida State would be huge for the beleaguered Bulldogs.