One day after beating the Vols with superior pitching, Georgia overcame Tennessee with offense on Saturday, rebounding from an early deficit to notch a 10-5 victory to improve to 2-0 in conference play with the win that clinched a series victory over the Big Orange.
Tennessee took a 1-0 lead on a leadoff single, a baserunner-advancing groundout, a stolen base, and a Georgia error in the top of the opening inning. The Volunteers extended their advantage in the second stanza, again starting with a leadoff single. Two groundouts advanced the runner to third, and a base hit scored him from there to make it 2-0.
Following a solo home run by first baseman Colby May in the bottom of the frame that marked the senior’s first round-tripper of the year, the Big Orange built on their lead, adding three runs in the third canto. Once more, a leadoff single kicked off the proceedings, and the initial baserunner advanced 90 feet at a time on a groundout, a stolen base, and a balk. A walk, a wild pitch, the aforementioned balk, and a sacrifice plated another run, and another walk, the selfsame sacrifice, and a single to center field tacked on a third.
Trailing 5-1 heading into the home half of the fourth inning, the Diamond Dogs surged into the lead. With one out away, designated hitter Brett DeLoach singled and left fielder Hunter Cole belted a two-run blast to left field for the freshman’s team-leading third dinger. With two outs away, right fielder Kevin Ruiz dropped a double into left field and catcher Brandon Stephens brought him home with a base hit. A double by third baseman Curt Powell drove in another run, and a single by second baseman Levi Hyams accounted for another score. A six-hit stanza had given Georgia a 6-5 lead.
A trio of singles in the fifth inning generated another Red and Black run, and, after Red and Black men’s tennis coach Manuel Diaz regaled the crowd with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch, the Classic City Canines added an insurance run on a DeLoach walk, a Cole single, and sacrifices by May and right fielder Peter Verdin. A leadoff single by Powell and a two-run shot by Hyams closed out the scoring in the eighth canto.
Though starter Pete Nagel surrendered five hits, two walks, and four earned runs to the eleven batters he faced in two and one-third innings, the Bulldog bullpen delivered six and two-thirds stanzas of scoreless relief, fanning four, walking none, and conceding just five hits. Batting in the leadoff spot for the first time this year, Hyams went three for four with three RBI and a walk to pace an 18-hit, ten-run effort for the Red and Black featuring two doubles and three home runs. With Saturday’s series-clinching victory for the Athenians, Georgia improved to 15-5, while Tennessee fell to 10-8.