The series with Ole Miss already was lost, but the Diamond Dogs’ dignity was not; quality pitching performances in the previous two losses provided at least a ray of hope for the Red and Black heading into Sunday’s series-concluding contest with the Rebels. Georgia finally figured out how to make a quality start count, giving David Perno his 300th career victory with a win on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning when three straight one-out singles produced a one-run lead. A leadoff walk by Johnathan Taylor in the bottom of the canto went to waste when a flyout, a lineout, and a pop-up ensued. After the Rebels went three up and three down in the top of the second stanza, Georgia tied the game in the home half of the frame.
Kyle Farmer sent a one-out single into center field and took second base on a passed ball. Christian Glisson’s base hit advanced the runner to third and Colby May’s sacrifice fly scored him. Mississippi had only a two-out single to show for the top of the third inning.
The Red and Black went back on the offensive in the bottom of the stanza, starting with Taylor’s leadoff single. A David Phillips error and a Peter Verdin flyout moved the runner over to third, and, after Levi Hyams drew a base on balls, Zach Cone drove in a pair of runs with a triple. Robert Shipman’s ensuing single scored another before Farmer flied out and Shipman was caught stealing.
The middle third of the contest was scoreless. Chase Davidson’s one-out single in the bottom of the canto produced the only baserunner for either team in the fourth frame; Hyams’s leadoff single in the fifth likewise made him the only man for either squad to make it out of the batter’s box in that inning; the sixth stanza saw two base hits squandered in the visitors’ turn at the plate and a Glisson single wasted in the lower half of the canto.
The Rebels threatened to climb back into it in the top of the seventh frame when Phillips’s one-out solo shot to left field was followed by back-to-back base hits. At that point, though, Cecil Tanner came in from the bullpen and extracted a foulout from Kevin Mort and a groundout from Matt Smith to preserve the Classic City Canines’ 4-2 lead.
That score remained unchanged after the home half of the stanza, in spite of Verdin’s leadoff single, but Ole Miss closed the gap further in the top of the eighth inning. Zach Miller began the proceedings with a walk, moved over to second on a balk, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. At that point, Alex Yarbrough scored him with a single to force Tanner from the mound. Justin Earls took over and coaxed a double-play ball out of Miles Hamblin and a pop-up out of Taylor Hashman.
Now leading 4-3, the Diamond Dogs added a pair of insurance runs in the home half of the canto. Farmer led off with a single, Glisson reached on a fielder’s choice, and May sent a two-run shot out to left field. Cooper Moseley closed it out in the top of the ninth inning by overcoming a two-out Shipman error with a flyout elicited from Mort.
Like his predecessors on the mound on Friday and Saturday, Michael Palazzone turned in a solid performance from the starting spot. The Georgia sophomore upped his record to 4-3 by striking out seven, walking none, and conceding two earned runs in just over six stanzas’ worth of work. The bullpen went nearly three frames while giving up one hit and one earned run, earning Cooper Moseley his second save of the season.
The Diamond Dogs were effective throughout the batting order. From the leadoff spot, Johnathan Taylor went two for four with a walk and no strikeouts. Zach Cone batted cleanup and drove in a pair of runs, also without any strikeouts. Kyle Farmer (2 for 4), Christian Glisson (3 for 4), and Colby May (1 HR, 3 RBI) provided production from the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots in the lineup, respectively, and none of them struck out, either.
This was a workmanlike performance to salvage some small part of the series. After two solid starts were squandered, the Classic City Canines made good on another quality outing from the pitching staff, building and then extending a lead to card the win while out-hitting the opposition (13-10) and committing only one error. The Athenians played a good game, and maybe, just maybe, they can play a few more before the season is done.