After being shut out in eight of nine innings in a loss on Tuesday night, the Diamond Dogs faced the Plainsmen in an SEC Tournament elimination game on Wednesday evening. Against the Orange and Blue, the Athenians again were held scoreless in eight of nine innings to fall to 0-2 and barbecue.
In the top of the first inning, Michael Palazzone walked the initial Auburn batter, who stole second base. Two outs later, a single brought the opening baserunner home to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Georgia was not similarly able to capitalize on third baseman Curt Powell’s leadoff walk and second baseman Levi Hyams’s ensuing single in the bottom of the canto.
The Alabamians began the third stanza with a single, and the runner advanced on a stolen base and a throwing error. A groundout made it 2-0, and a solo home run later in the frame extended the Orange and Blue’s edge to three runs. Both sides thereafter produced baserunners, but the Classic City Canines left men on first and second in the fourth frame, on second in the fifth inning, on second and third in the sixth stanza, and on first in the seventh canto to leave the score unchanged heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Right fielder Hunter Cole drew a one-out walk on a payoff pitch, then center fielder Peter Verdin sent a single to second base. With two outs away, pinch hitter Nelson Ward drove in one, and left fielder Conor Welton brought home another, with consecutive singles. The Tigers went three up and three down in the top of the ninth stanza, whereas, in the bottom of the canto, Georgia notched a one-out triple off the bat of shortstop Kyle Farmer and added a two-out walk by Cole. The Diamond Dogs, of course, were unable to bring the tying run home from third or the winning run home from first.
Palazzone lasted four and one-third innings, during which he gave up six hits, three bases on balls, and three earned runs, while the bullpen delivered four and two-thirds scoreless stanzas of five-strikeout, one-hit, one-walk relief. As usual, though, the Athenians were unable to turn more hits into as many runs. This probably was the Diamond Dogs’ last game of the season; it ought to be the final game of David Perno’s career as the head coach in the Classic City, as well.