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Arkansas 7, Georgia 6

The Diamond Dogs arrived at Foley Field on Saturday fresh from an impressive victory over the visiting Razorbacks and looking to claim the series in the second contest of the three-game set. Trevor Holder took the mound for the Red and Black in the top of the first frame and he began the game by striking out Jake Dugger.

Sean Jones walked in the next at-bat and Logan Forsythe grounded out to move the Arkansas right fielder over to second. After Jeff Nutt drew a base on balls, as well, Casey Coon flied out to strand Jones in scoring position. This brought the home team to the plate and Ryan Peisel led off the bottom of the inning by dropping a base hit into right field and stealing second.

Sean Jones went one for four for the Diamond Hogs on Saturday, but he will always be a beloved figure here in Bulldog Nation after his scoop-and-score against Tennessee in 2003.

Jonathan Wyatt took advantage of the opportunity presented to him, belting out a single to score the Georgia third baseman. Although Rich Poythress subsequently became the third Bulldog of the opening canto to place a base hit into right field, Gordon Beckham struck out and Matt Olson grounded into a double play to prevent the Red and Black from building on their 1-0 lead.

The first two batters in the top of the second stanza registered outs, but Matt Willard punched a base hit into left field and Brian Walker was hit by a pitch. Dugger's single to center scored the Razorback shortstop and Jones's base hit produced a play at the plate in which Walker was out to leave the teams tied after an inning and a half.

Luke Stewart reached base on an error, but he was the only Georgia baserunner in the home half of the second stanza, so the third frame got underway with a Forsythe flyout. Nutt followed this up with a double and, after Coon went down swinging, Danny Hamblin put one out of the park for a two-run shot. Ben Tschepikow popped up to bring about the bottom of the frame, which began with a base hit by Peisel but ended quickly when Wyatt grounded into a double play and Beckham grounded out to conclude the stanza.

Leading 3-1, the Hogs returned to the batter's box to face Joshua Fields, who had succeeded Holder on the hill. The Diamond Dog starter had faced 16 batters and surrendered five hits, a pair of walks, and a trio of earned runs. Fields opened the inning by striking out Willard before giving up a base hit to Walker and a walk to Dugger.

Georgia reliever Joshua Fields faced 11 batters, walked three, and surrendered three runs, yet Professor Gerald Lambeau is still proud to have won the medal named after him.

Jones hit into the fielder's choice that put Dugger out at second, thus freeing up the base that the Arkansas right fielder proceeded to steal. When Forsythe reached on an error, Walker came home to add the unearned run that give the visitors a 4-1 advantage before Nutt's flyout ended the threat.

Although Olson and Stewart each registered a base hit in the bottom of the fourth frame, the other three Bulldog batters grounded out, popped up, and flied out in succession, stranding the Georgia right fielder in scoring position. The Razorback barrage continued in the top of the fifth inning, which began with the awarding of consecutive bases on balls to Coon and Hamblin.

After Tschepikow sacrificed both baserunners over, Willard scored Coon on a sacrifice fly to left field. Walker reached base on the error that plated an unearned run and drove Fields from the mound. Steve Esmonde came on and induced Dugger to pop up and end the inning with the Hogs holding a commanding 6-1 lead. A leadoff walk by Mike Freeman in the bottom of the fifth stanza was nullified when Peisel grounded into a double play. Wyatt's ensuing popup sent the contest to the sixth frame.

The Razorbacks went three up and three down in the top of the inning, bringing the Diamond Dogs to the plate once more. Beckham led off by striking out, but the bases were loaded on a Poythress single, an Olson double, and a Joey Lewis walk. With three men aboard and only one man out, the next two Georgia batters struck out to squander their best chance of the afternoon.

Uh, guys, the next time the bases are loaded, this is more of what we have in mind.

The only Razorback baserunner in the top of the seventh canto was Tschepikow, who was caught stealing. The home half of the inning commenced when Freeman flied out, but Peisel drew a base on balls, stole second, and took third on the Wyatt single that brought Chris Rhoads on in relief. The new Arkansas pitcher proceeded to walk Beckham to load the bases.

Poythress's sacrifice fly scored Peisel and Olson's base on balls loaded the bases anew. Rhoads was pulled in favor of Travis Hill, who struck out Lewis to keep the score 6-2. An uneventful eighth inning ensued in which Dugger was the lone baserunner for either team.

Alex McRee pitched the top of the ninth for the Red and Black, striking out each of the three batters he faced. Trailing by four runs, the Diamond Dogs strode to the plate determined to make the most of their last chance. Peisel got things going with a base hit and Wyatt blasted a home run to right field to cut the Razorbacks' lead in half.

After Beckham grounded out, Poythress placed a base hit into right field. Olson's popup left the Red and Black down to their last out, but Lewis's two-run shot to left field tied the game. Stewart's ensuing strikeout sent the game to extra innings.

To the 10th we go. . . .

The Classic City Canines' euphoria did not last long, as Hamblin led off the 10th stanza with a home run. Despite walking Tschepikow and permitting Willard to reach on an error, Georgia managed to get out of the jam without allowing further damage when Dugger grounded into an inning-ending double play.

In need of additional heroics in the home half of the surplus frame, the Red and Black came up somewhat short. Matt Cerione and Peisel each grounded out and Freeman was thrown out at first to conclude a 7-6 heartbreaker for the Diamond Dogs.

Naturally, I am proud of the Georgia baseball team for battling back from a four-run deficit to tie the game in the ninth inning. However, the Red and Black never should have been in such a situation in the first place. The Bulldogs outhit the Razorbacks by a 13-7 margin and five of the top six batters in the Georgia order (excluding Gordon Beckham) combined to go 12 for 22, score six runs, and tally half a dozen R.B.I.

That's a game a team ought to win, but Georgia didn't because the Classic City Canines committed four errors in the field, hit into a trio of double plays, and left 10 men on base. The bases were loaded for the Red and Black at the end of the sixth and seventh innings. As a result of these altogether predictable shortcomings, the Diamond Dogs fell to 0-5 in extra-inning games this season and dropped to 6-9 in contests decided by a single run.

Go 'Dawgs!