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On Tuesday, one day after Johnathan Taylor received a Tempe Sports Authority Foundation Courage Award, the 18th-ranked Diamond Dogs hosted the 15th-ranked Engineers at Foley Field for the first of three weeknight games between the in-state rivals. Georgia never trailed in a 7-1 triumph over the Yellow Jackets.
Following a hitless first inning and a half, designated hitter Brett DeLoach broke the scoreless deadlock with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second stanza. Three of the next four Bulldog batters notched singles to load the bases, setting the stage for third baseman Curt Powell to reach base, and left fielder Hunter Cole to score, on an error by Ramblin’ Wreck third baseman Sam Dove. A two-out base hit by center fielder Conor Welton plated a pair of unearned runs.
Starter David Sosebee lost the no-hitter when he gave up a leadoff double to start the third canto, but the next three Golden Tornado batters generated one groundout, one foulout, one walk, one flyout, and no runs. The home half of the fourth frame saw Powell drop a two-out single into right field, after which second baseman Levi Hyams drew a base on balls, but Welton went down swinging to strand a runner in scoring position.
Dove led off the top of the fifth inning with a base hit, but reliever Alex Wood retired the next three Georgia Tech batters. A one-out DeLoach walk in the bottom of the canto likewise went to waste when the next two Red and Black batters popped up and struck out, respectively. The string of squandered opportunities stopped in the sixth stanza, when the Yellow Jackets opened the visitors’ turn at the plate with three straight singles to make the score 4-1. A strikeout, a groundout, and a baserunner caught stealing prevented further damage, however.
The Classic City Canines answered in the bottom of the frame, as right fielder Peter Verdin was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice, and came home on a single. Another stolen base, another single, and another Ramblin’ Wreck error plated an additional unearned run, then a baserunner-advancing groundout and a wild pitch made it 7-1. A leadoff single and an ensuing walk in the top of the seventh stanza went for naught when Pete Nagel fanned the next three Golden Tornado batters.
The Bulldogs began the home half of the inning with back-to-back bases on balls, but a flyout and a double-play grounder left the score unchanged. After an eighth frame in which the teams between them produced only one baserunner, the Engineers opened the final canto by recording a pair of consecutive singles off of Blake Dieterich. A double-play grounder and a strikeout ended the threat, the inning, and the game.
Though the visiting Yellow Jackets barely trailed their hosts in hits (9-8), the six Georgia pitchers plunked no one, conceded only one extra-base hit, and struck out eleven while walking only two. Hyams, at the top of the order, and Powell, at the bottom of the order, both went two for four. The convincing victory over a higher-ranked rival restored some of the luster to the Diamond Dogs’ start after much of it was lost in the weekend sweep by UCLA; maybe it will even be enough to convince fans of the two-time defending national baseball champions that Georgia actually plays someone, after all.