The Bulldogs barely had time to catch their collective breath before it was time to play Georgia's fourth game in a two-day period, as the Red and Black's early afternoon victory over Jacksonville was followed almost immediately by the Diamond Dogs' rematch with Florida State in the early evening.
The game swiftly shaped up to be a pitcher's duel between Georgia's Jason Leaver and F.S.U.'s Bryan Henry. The contest was scoreless through three innings, during which span only four Bulldogs and three Seminoles reached first base and the two teams between them allowed just a trio of hits.
The tie finally was broken in the fourth frame, when a Josh Morris strikeout was followed by a Bobby Felmy double and a Jason Jacobs flyout preceded a Matt Olson single. Subsequent base hits by Ryan Peisel and Matthew Dunn gave the Diamond Dogs a 2-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the inning.
Bobby Felmy went 2-for-5 and scored a run, with his fourth-inning double sparking the first scoring of the game. (Photograph courtesy University of Georgia Athletic Association.)
The next two innings were uneventful, consisting of nothing more than a Ryan Strauss single in the bottom of the fifth and a pair of base hits by Jacobs and Peisel in the top of the sixth. It was not until the bottom of the sixth stanza that the Seminole offense at long last came to life.
The inning began with Shane Robinson knocking a leadoff single through the left side. Jack Rye followed with a base hit of his own, as did Buster Posey to load the bases. Leaver was yanked at that point and the pitching duties passed to Rip Warren, who traded a run for an out when Dennis Guinn reached on a fielder's choice.
Ryne Malone likewise reached on a fielder's choice, but no further damage was done on the scoreboard and Warren then enticed Travis Anderson to swing at strike three. The Diamond Dogs had escaped a jam in which no men were out but three men were on, yet the Georgia lead had been narrowed to 2-1.
In the top of the seventh stanza, the Red and Black set about doing something to rectify that situation. Jonathan Wyatt started things off with a single to left field and, after Joey Side flied out to center field, Gordon Beckham reached first base on an error. Morris proceeded to park a pitch over the left field fence for a three-run shot to make the score 5-1. The next two batters flied out to conclude the Diamond Dogs' offensive outburst, but the home crowd was able to breathe just a bit easier thereafter.
No posting involving the Florida State Seminoles would be complete without a gratuitous shot of Cowgirl Jenn.
Strauss singled up the middle to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but successive strikeouts by the next two batters prevented the F.S.U. left fielder from coming around to score. The Red and Black added an insurance run in the top of the eighth when Kyle Keen turned a bunt into a base hit and subsequent singles by Peisel and Dunn brought the Georgia pinch hitter around to score.
Joshua Fields took the mound in the bottom of the eighth frame and, although he allowed a single to Anderson and bases on balls to Guinn and Strauss, he did not surrender any runs. The same could not be said for the Seminoles in the top of the ninth inning, when an error and a wild pitch, combined with a Felmy single and a Jacobs walk, set the stage for a sacrifice fly by Keen to score an unearned run to make the margin 7-1.
Down to their last three outs, the Seminoles sent Tommy Oravetz to lead off the bottom of the frame as a pinch hitter. While Oravetz accomplished nothing, fouling out to left, Fields thereafter surrendered bases on balls to Robinson and Mark Gildea to give the contest's closing stanza an unwelcome degree of drama. Fortunately, the Bulldog closer sensed this and opted instead to induce Posey to ground into a double play to end the threat, the inning, and the game.
The Diamond Dogs tallied 13 hits to the Seminoles' eight and lived to play another day, forcing a seventh game to decide which team would advance to the super-regional. The concluding contest of the Athens Regional will take place at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow.
To be continued. . . .