The Diamond Dogs, who won on Friday and won on Saturday but had not swept a weekend series since dispensing with Winthrop in late February, needed to do exactly what they did on Sunday; viz., pitch well, notch hits, score early and late and in between, play error-free baseball, and win. All that came to pass when Georgia beat Auburn, 9-3, this afternoon.
The Red and Black took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first frame, when third baseman Curt Powell led off with a base hit, advanced to second on a one-out single by right fielder Hunter Cole, moved over to third on a groundout by catcher Brett DeLoach, and came home on a base hit by designated hitter Justin Bryan. Georgia padded its advantage in the second stanza, starting with a single by second baseman Levi Hyams, who took second on a wild pitch and made it the rest of the way around on a double by first baseman Colby May.
Powell’s subsequent one-out base hit put two aboard for shortstop Kyle Farmer, who belted the home run to left field that made it 5-0. At that point, it was all over except the shouting, though the Plainsmen did not go down without a fight. Auburn notched one run in the fourth inning on a trio of two-out singles before tacking on two more in the eighth canto on three base hits and a double.
Between the two Tiger scoring strikes, though, the Diamond Dogs used two walks and a base hit to generate another run in the sixth stanza, then a series of four singles in the seventh frame combined to plate two more scores for Georgia. After the visitors clawed their way to within five runs of their hosts in the top of the eighth canto, the Red and Black responded in the bottom of the inning.
Powell reached on an error, Farmer advanced him to third on a base hit, and DeLoach brought home an unearned run with a sacrifice fly. In the top of the ninth stanza, the Plainsmen went three up and three down, as they had in three previous cantos. Luke Crumley was solid in the starting role, going five frames in which he allowed one earned run. As a staff, the Bulldog hurlers struck out seven and walked only one, while the Red and Black lineup was highlighted by the performances of Bryan (2 for 3, 1 RBI), Farmer (3 for 5, 3 RBI), May (2 for 4, 2 RBI), and Powell (3 for 5, 1 RIWWB).
The Classic City Canines needed this sweep. At 12-12 in conference play with six SEC games remaining, the Athenians will need to go 4-2 the next two weekends to finish above .500 in league outings. With one remaining series on the road and the other against the two-time defending national champions, taking four of the next six in SEC action will be a tall order, but, had the Diamond Dogs dropped even one against Auburn, even that razor-thin margin for error would have vanished. Georgia now has a chance. It’s not a good one, but, still, it’s a chance.