On the road to face 13th-ranked Arkansas for a crucial SEC series, the Diamond Dogs overcame a run of five losses in their last six games while facing a Razorback outfit whose team ERA of 2.79 was the lowest in the league. Evidently well rested after Tuesday’s rainout, Georgia scratched out a 4-2 SEC road win to start the weekend the right way.
The contest’s first hit came in the bottom of the second stanza, when the Hogs led off with a double. This was followed shortly by the outing’s second hit, a single that gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead. After being held without a hit until the fourth frame, Georgia tied the game with an unearned run in the fifth inning. Third baseman Curt Powell did his part by notching a one-out double, then an Arkansas fielding error and a wild pitch brought him the rest of the way home.
The Razorbacks answered in the home half of the canto, however. A pair of two-out singles and a double staked the host squad to a 2-1 advantage, only to be erased in the visitors’ half of the sixth stanza. Second baseman Levi Hyams led off with a first-pitch double, after which a single carded by shortstop Kyle Farmer and a walk drawn by left fielder Hunter Cole loaded the bases. A wild pitch scored one baserunner, a groundout by catcher Brett DeLoach plated another, and a two-out first-pitch single by center fielder Conor Welton brought home the third.
That marked the end of the scoring, and very nearly of the hitting, so Georgia was able to notch a series-opening 4-2 victory. In a contest in which the hits were even at seven per side, Farmer led the Bulldogs by going two for four, while Cole extended his hitting streak to 13 games and Powell reached base for the 16th consecutive outing.
Friday night’s hero, however, was Alex Wood, who struck out eleven Razorback batters in a complete-game victory, while Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek absorbed his first loss of the season. Both clubs left the ballpark on Friday night owning 5-5 records in SEC play, but only the Red and Black will take the diamond on Saturday with a chance to clinch the series. Will right-handed hurlers Michael Palazzone and Pete Nagel, slated to start the next two games and each in search of his first win of the season, be able to close the deal, as Wood was?