After dropping two games against 16th-ranked Clemson earlier in the week, the Diamond Dogs began a weekend series with a 15th-ranked Ole Miss club led by Baseball America midseason player of the year Drew Pomeranz. The junior southpaw was on the hill for the Rebels on Friday night to face a Georgia squad in danger of finishing below .500 that might accurately be described in uncharitable terms. The Classic City Canines did little to redeem that perception in a 4-1 loss at Foley Field.
Justin Grimm retired the side in sequence in the top of the first frame, while Pomeranz walked Peter Verdin in the bottom of the canto but otherwise set down every Red and Black batter he faced. Zach Miller recorded the contest’s first hit in the visitor’s half of the second stanza, but the Mississippi third baseman’s single was surrounded by outs. Georgia went three up and three down in the home half of the inning.
Neither team produced a baserunner in the third canto, and, after the Rebels went down in order in the top of the fourth frame, Verdin drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning. Levi Hyams reached on a fielder’s choice and Zach Cone struck out swinging, but Kyle Farmer drove in a run with a triple to right field before the stanza concluded.
Ole Miss had only a groundout, a foulout, and a strikeout to show for the top of the fifth frame, while the Classic City Canines generated only a two-out Carson Schilling walk in the bottom of the canto. Tim Ferguson likewise reached on a Bulldog error with two outs away in the top of the sixth inning, but, after the Rebel center fielder stole second, Matt Tracy stared at a called third strike to strand him.
After no Athenian made it out of the batter’s box in the home half of the frame, Matt Smith led off the top of the seventh stanza with a base hit. This was followed by a Matt Snyder walk, then Grimm plunked Miller to load the bases. A Miles Hamblin sacrifice fly tied the game, but the next two Rebel batters registered outs without plating runs.
Farmer led off the bottom of the canto with a double and Brett DeLoach moved him over to third with a groundout, yet back-to-back strikeouts stranded the go-ahead run 90 feet from home plate and allowed Kevin Mort to give the visitors the lead with a home run to begin the eighth inning.
Following a Ferguson flyout, Tracy dropped a double into center field. Grimm struck out Smith and Snyder to keep the Diamond Dogs’ deficit at 2-1. Johnathan Taylor undertook to address that circumstance in the bottom of the frame with a one-out single and a two-out stolen base, but a Hyams strikeout stranded the tying run in scoring position.
As the ninth stanza got underway, Grimm was lifted after a six-strikeout, four-hit, one-walk performance. Justin Earls took over in time to surrender a leadoff single, a one-out stolen base, a run-scoring single, a baserunner-advancing groundout, and another run-scoring single before recording the final out to bring the Bulldogs back up to bat trailing 4-1.
Cone led off the bottom of the inning with the base hit that drove Pomeranz from the game. Brett Huber took over on the mound and elicited a flyout from Farmer. Once Cone was put out at second, Zach Taylor stood in and recorded the final out of the contest.
Justin Grimm pitched a great game. Drew Pomeranz pitched a better one, improving his record for the season to 6-0 by fanning fifteen of the 31 batters he faced. Any analysis beyond that would be superfluous.