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The Diamond Dogs won on Friday, so the Classic City Canines came into Saturday’s second series outing with a chance to clinch the three-game SEC set. In another low-scoring conference clash featuring solid starting pitching, Georgia outdueled Mississippi State to take the baseball series, improve to 5-3 in league play, and climb within a game of .500 overall.
Following four scoreless frames, the visiting Bulldogs finally broke through with the contest’s initial run when a two-out double put a runner in scoring position and an RBI single brought him home. The Red and Black responded in the bottom of the sixth stanza, starting with singles by shortstop Kyle Farmer and center fielder Zach Cone. Designated hitter Brett DeLoach drove a home run to left field, plating three, and first baseman Jonathan Hester sent a solo shot to center in the next at-bat to make the score 4-1.
Mississippi State did not go quietly, however. The Magnolia State Mongrels cut into the Classic City Canines’ lead on a one-out triple and a run-scoring groundout in the top of the eighth inning, then the out-of-town Bulldogs crept closer on the scoreboard in the visitors’ half of the ninth canto.
After the first MSU batter was retired, third baseman Jarrod Parks dropped a double into right field. A pop-up ensued, but the opportunity to notch the third out of the frame was squandered when a foul ball was dropped. A base hit by catcher Cody Freeman scored the unearned run that made it 4-3 and drove starter Michael Palazzone from the mound after a six-hit, three-strikeout performance.
The baserunner swiped second to put the tying run in scoring position, but Tyler Maloof tallied his tenth save by striking out the lone batter he faced. The Athenians clinched the series with a Saturday victory in which they carded one more error (2-1), one more hit (7-6), and one more run (4-3) than the opposition. The Red and Black will go for the series sweep on Sunday.