In the early going, it appeared that the last leg of the Diamond Dogs' road trip would not begin any more auspiciously than Georgia's series with Mississippi State in Starkville or its outing against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
The Red and Black paid a visit to Vanderbilt in Nashville and promptly surrendered runs to the Commodores in each of the first two innings. After claiming a 4-2 lead in the third, the Bulldogs gave it right back, allowing the home team to tie it up in the fourth frame and take a 7-4 lead in the fifth.
What was so appalling was the way the Diamond Dogs went about squandering their advantage. In the top of the fifth inning, Georgia's Bobby Felmy led off with a single to left field, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Jason Jacobs single. The next two Bulldog batters recorded outs and Felmy was left stranded in scoring position.
In the bottom of that same frame, two hit batsmen, a wild pitch, and a walk set up a bases-clearing double by Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, resulting in a trio of Commodore runs.
Georgia responded in the sixth inning with a leadoff double by Alvarez's counterpart, Ryan Peisel. Matthew Dunn advanced the runner to third and a Joey Side single brought Peisel home to cut the lead to 7-5.
The Red and Black were unable to capitalize on the opportunity to start a rally, however, and Side was left on second base after Jonathan Wyatt was hit by a pitch and Felmy became the first of consecutive Bulldog batters to record outs.
Then, after the Commodores went quietly in the bottom of the sixth, the Diamond Dogs mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh stanza. Jacobs opened the inning with a single to center field and a Matt Robbins double advanced the Georgia catcher as far as third base. That set up a three-run shot by Gordon Beckham when the Red and Black shortstop took the ball deep.
Later that same inning, consecutive singles by Dunn and Side set up a two-out hit by Felmy to add an insurance run. That was the last of the scoring by either squad, but the Bulldogs' four-run seventh gave the Diamond Dogs the 9-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Red and Black tallied 16 hits and put themselves into position to end this road trip on a positive note. The same two teams will meet at Hawkins Field on Saturday afternoon, when the 22-11 Diamond Dogs will attempt to even their conference ledger at 7-7.