Jason Leaver was sent to the mound for the Diamond Dogs on Saturday afternoon and his mission was to even the series with the Beavers after Georgia's 10-8 loss to Oregon State the night before.
Saturday's starting pitcher, shown here helping Archimedes move the world.
In this endeavor, Leaver began well enough, inducing two of O.S.U.'s first three batters to fly out to center field and allowing one walk before escaping the initial inning. Jonathan Wyatt led off the bottom of the frame with a base hit for the Bulldogs, but the Georgia center fielder was picked off while Travis Parrott was busy striking out. A Gordon Beckham groundout ended the inning.
The second stanza did not commence positively for the home team, as Braden Wells reached first on a walk and took second on an error. The Oregon State right fielder made it as far as third, but two outs already had been recorded by that time and Joey Wong's ensuing flyout prevented Wells from coming around to score. Three Bulldog batters went quietly in the bottom of the inning.
The scoreless deadlock continued through the third, as a Mitch Canham single was squandered by the Beavers when Mike Lissman hit into a double play and a Jake Crane base hit similarly went to waste for the Red and Black when Mike Freeman likewise surrendered a pair of outs in a single at-bat.
The fourth frame featured some fireworks when Wells singled to center and stole second, but the threat was squelched when Lonnie Lechelt went down swinging. The Diamond Dogs finally got on the board in the bottom of the inning, when Wyatt reached base by being hit by a pitch and the combination of a Beckham double and a Joey Lewis groundout brought the runner home to give Georgia a 1-0 advantage.
Joey Lewis may have gotten an R.B.I. to put the Bulldogs on the board, but did he ever have his own comic book like his Uncle Jerry?
After rapidly dispatching the Beavers in the top of the fifth, the Red and Black went back on the offensive, as both Crane and Freeman singled and Wyatt reached first on an error to load the bases. Unfortunately, a Matt Olson groundout, a Luke Stewart flyout, and a fielder's choice hit into by Parrott prevented the Bulldogs from adding to their lead.
The sixth stanza passed without additional scoring by either squad and the Diamond Dogs sat down a pair of pinch hitters in the top of the seventh inning to keep the Beavers off the board. Solo home runs to right field by Stewart and Wyatt in the bottom of the frame extended Georgia's lead to 3-0.
Then came the big inning for which the Beavers had been waiting patiently. Canham led off the top of the eighth with a base hit, then Lissman and John Wallace registered singles, as well. After Scott Santschi went down swinging, a double by Jordan Lennerton tied the game. A pitching change by the home team failed to stop the bleeding, as a base on balls to Drew George was followed by a Koa Kahalehoe single, a Wong triple, and a Darwin Barney walk before Canham and Lissman flied out to end the inning . . . but not before Oregon State had claimed a 7-3 advantage.
Georgia went quietly in the bottom of the frame, with Lewis's base hit amounting to nothing when three successive Bulldog batters swung unsuccessfully at strike three. The two teams had nine hits apiece after eight innings.
James Dean in "Giant"? That was a good strike. The Diamond Dogs in the eighth inning? Not so much.
Lennerton drew a walk and George put a single into center field in the Beavers' next turn at bat, but no further damage was done, so the Red and Black came to the plate needing to post four runs before recording three outs. They fell far short of this objective, however, as the bottom half of the final frame consisted of a Stewart flyout, a Freeman strikeout, and a Wyatt groundout to drop the Diamond Dogs to 0-2.
Despite recording the game-ending out, the Georgia center fielder again provided the home team with its highlights, as Wyatt went two for four at the plate while scoring a pair of runs. Susceptibility to the big inning and a failure to capitalize on opportunities once more doomed the Diamond Dogs, as did a complete breakdown in the bullpen.
Leaver was solid for five innings, conceding three walks, two hits, and no runs before Dean Weaver surrendered five hits and four earned runs. Iain Sebastian proved unable to shut the floodgates, as he thereafter conceded three earned runs on a pair of hits.
The Red and Black will have a final opportunity tomorrow to salvage some sliver of the series with the defending national champs, but, right now, these Bulldogs do not look like the team we hoped and expected to see this season.