After notching two televised comeback victories in as many days on Wednesday and Thursday nights, the Diamond Dogs took the field on Friday evening looking to clinch an SEC series triumph against 18th-ranked Ole Miss. This time, the Classic City Canines took the early lead, holding off a late surge to claim a 6-3 win in an outing in which the hits were even at nine apiece.
Alex Wood, who arrived at Foley Field sporting a 4-1 record and a 2.45 ERA, drew the starting assignment, and he proceeded to pick off the only Rebel baserunner of the first frame and erase an error that put a runner on third with one out in the second stanza by inducing the next two Mississippi hitters to strike out and pop up, respectively. Accordingly, the contest remained scoreless heading into the bottom of the inning.
Right fielder Peter Verdin sent a two-out single into the outfield, then left fielder Conor Welton did likewise, enabling third baseman Curt Powell to drive in two runs with a double. The third canto saw both clubs card two-out hits which were negated by subsequent strikeouts, and a leadoff single in the top of the fourth frame was rendered moot when Wood extracted a double-play grounder out of the ensuing batter.
Designated hitter Jared Walsh led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to right field, then a Verdin walk and a one-out Powell single put runners at the corners, setting the stage for the double steal that brought another run home. A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly made the score 5-0. Ole Miss got on the board with back-to-back doubles to begin the fifth inning, but Wood set down the next three Rebels.
Although the sixth stanza started with a base hit and a hit batsman, another double play got the Diamond Dogs out of the inning without any damage being done. Likewise, Mississippi’s leadoff walk to open the seventh canto also went for naught, as the next three visiting batters managed only outs.
The eighth inning became the fifth straight stanza to begin with the Rebel leadoff hitter getting aboard, and a subsequent double evened the hits at eight per side. Bryan Benzor came in from the bullpen, and, although he registered two outs, he did not do so before surrendering two runs. Georgia added an insurance run in the home half of the frame when Verdin drew a one-out walk, swiped second, and came home on a Welton single, so Benzor took the hill in the top of the ninth canto needing only to secure three outs before surrendering three runs, which he did while facing the minimum number of batters.
The top of the Bulldog order (Levi Hyams, Kyle Farmer, and Hunter Cole) combined to go one for ten with one RBI and six strikeouts, but the last three batters in the lineup (Peter Verdin, Conor Welton, and Curt Powell) cumulatively went five for ten with three RBI and three stolen bases. Alex Wood allowed eight hits, two walks, and three earned runs in seven and one-third innings, during which he struck out seven. He also left the pitching staff fresh for Saturday; in the first two series games, Georgia has used just three pitchers, while the Rebels have sent seven hurlers to the mound. The Red and Black will go for the series sweep on G-Day.