|Presbyterian Blue Hose||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||6||0|
On Friday evening, sophomore southpaw Alex Wood delivered six innings of one-run, no-walk, seven-strikeout pitching, and the Diamond Dogs belted out 13 hits, as the 11th-ranked Georgia baseball team opened its season with a 6-1 victory over Presbyterian at Foley Field. The nicely symmetrical box score showed a single skinny "1" bracketed on either side by four zeroes for the Blue Stockings, whereas the Classic City Canines carded a pair of goose eggs at each end, with a "2-1-1-2" sequence in the middle.
A scoreless tie persisted until catcher Brandon Stephens led off the bottom of the third inning with his first career home run. Third baseman Curt Powell followed this up with a base hit and moved over to third on consecutive bunt singles by right fielder Peter Verdin and center fielder Conor Welton, permitting shortstop Kyle Farmer to plate another run with a sacrifice fly.
A two-out double by Stephens in the fourth frame enabled Powell to make it 3-0 with a base hit, but the inning ended when Farmer popped up with the bases loaded, leaving the door slightly ajar for Presbyterian. The Blue Hose responded with a leadoff double, a baserunner-advancing flyout, and a run-scoring single in the top of the fifth canto to cut into the Bulldog lead.
Second baseman Levi Hyams offered a retort in the Classic City Canines’ ensuing turn at the plate, notching a one-out single and swiping second, so that a flyout by first baseman Colby May and a base hit by designated hitter Brett DeLoach brought the Georgia infielder the rest of the way home. The visitors threatened in the top of the canto by leading off with two straight singles, but Wood fanned the next three batters he faced.
The Red and Black closed out the scoring in the home half of the sixth stanza with a leadoff triple by Powell, an RBI groundout by Verdin, a base on balls drawn by Welton, and a run-scoring double off the bat of Farmer. In the final three innings, the Bulldog bullpen surrendered one hit, conceded two walks, and recorded three strikeouts.
Alone among Georgia position players, May and left fielder Hunter Cole were held hitless for the night. Indeed, the middle of the order proved to be the Achilles’s heel of the lineup---Cole, Hyams, and May, the fourth, fifth, and sixth hitters, together went one for twelve while drawing one walk and batting in no runs---while the first three hitters (Verdin, Welton, and Farmer) combined with the last three hitters (DeLoach, Stephens, and Powell) to go 12 for 23 with three walks and six RIWWB. Though it would’ve been nice had the Diamond Dogs not stranded ten baserunners, the Athenians produced an otherwise fine performance to open the season at 1-0. So far, so good.