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Diamond Dogs Save Best for Last: Georgia Bulldogs 20, Kentucky Wildcats 0

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kentucky 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 4
Georgia 2 1 4 1 2 0 7 3 X 20 22 1

Friday was for Bulldog Nation a busy day beset by inclement weather. On the same evening that the Georgia softball team outdueled Elon, the Diamond Dogs scored in seven of eight stanzas on the way to winning a 20-0 laugher.

The second outing of the three-game set got off to a much better start for Kentucky than Thursday’s contest. Jeff Walters issued a leadoff walk to Chris Bisson, who swiped second base and took third on a wild pitch before Gunner Glad drew a base on balls, as well. Walters then sneaked a called third strike by Lance Ray, walked Marcus Nidiffer, got Andy Burns to strike out looking, and coaxed a flyout from Taylor Black to escape the first frame unscathed.

In the bottom of the initial inning, Johnathan Taylor sent a one-out single into center field, advanced into scoring position on a Levi Hyams groundout, and came home on a base hit by Zach Cone. The Georgia left fielder took second on a Jordan Cooper error on a failed pickoff attempt, enabling Kyle Farmer to bat in an unearned run with a single to short. The Blue and White went three up and three down in the visitors’ half of the second stanza.

Zach Taylor got the bottom of the canto underway with a base hit, stole second, advanced on a Luke Maile error, and scored on a Kevin Ruiz single. A trio of outs ensued, but the third frame began with the home team leading 3-0 in runs and 5-0 in hits. No Wildcat reached base in the top of the stanza, but the Bulldogs continued the barrage in the bottom of the inning.

Cooper loaded the bases on a single, a hit batsman, and a walk before giving way to Matt Little. The Kentucky reliever walked in one run, surrendered the one-out sacrifice fly that scored another, gave up a double steal and a walk, and conceded a two-RBI single to Chase Davidson before striking out Peter Verdin.

Consecutive singles to start the upper half of the fourth frame were erased by a double play, and back-to-back bases on balls were negated by a groundout to keep the shutout intact. Georgia generated another run in the bottom of the canto on a leadoff single, a pair of wild pitches, and a two-out RBI base hit. Brian Adams began the top of the fifth inning with a single, but a strikeout and a double-play grounder rendered the hit harmless.

The Bulldogs began their turn at the plate with successive singles off the bats of Christian Glisson and Ruiz. A one-out wild pitch allowed both baserunners to move into scoring position, and a Verdin walk put three men aboard. A single scored two runs, a groundout advanced two runners, and a pitching switch produced a hit batsman before Farmer flied out with the Red and Black leading 10-0 in runs and 12-3 in hits.

Burns carded a two-out base hit in the top of the sixth stanza and took second on a Ruiz error, but a pop-up stranded him. Georgia failed to generate a hit in the home half of the frame, and, while Kentucky registered a couple of one-out doubles in the top of the seventh canto, both baserunners were put out at third to keep the goose egg on the scoreboard.

When the Red and Black returned to the plate, the first batter was plunked and the second drew a walk. Farmer drove in a run with a one-out single, then a wild pitch and another hit batsman loaded the bases for Glisson. The Georgia catcher was walked to push the Bulldog second baseman across home plate and bring in a new Kentucky hurler from the bullpen.

The new pitcher made little difference, as he allowed the two-RBI single to Ruiz that gave the Diamond Dogs fourteen runs to go with their fourteen hits. A two-out Lance Martin single and a Kyle Jackson error plated two more. Another base hit produced another run before a flyout ended the four-hit, seven-run inning. Alex McRee relieved Walters after seven frames of shutout baseball and held the Wildcats to a two-out walk in the visitors’ turn at the plate.

Three straight singles to start the bottom of the eighth stanza loaded the bases for Glisson, who brought home one run with a base hit to left field. Ruiz sent a single into right field to score another. Martin parked a one-out base knock in center field to plate a third. Following a strikeout and a groundout, the contest proceeded to the visitors’ half of the ninth inning.

Patrick Boling took the mound and persuaded the first two batters he faced to swing at strike three. Keenan Wiley tacked on a two-out single to bring the tying run to Watkinsville, but Boling struck out the next Kentucky hitter to close out the victory. The Georgia reliever was not credited with a save.

Obviously, this was the Diamond Dogs’ best game of the year by far. Georgia scored 20 runs on 22 hits behind stellar nights by Zach Cone (2 for 4, 1 RBI), Kyle Farmer (4 for 5, 4 RBI), Christian Glisson (2 for 3, 3 RBI), Lance Martin (2 for 3, 2 RBI), Kevin Ruiz (4 for 4, 4 RBI), and Johnathan Taylor (5 for 5, 3 RIWWB). Jeff Walters surrendered six hits in seven stanzas to earn just his second win of the season. The bullpen fanned four, walked one, gave up one hit, and did not surrender a run, earned or otherwise. The Athenians committed one error to the Wildcats’ four.

The blowout victory clinched the Classic City Canines’ first SEC series win of the spring. Georgia will go for the sweep tomorrow in the hope of building momentum heading into the offseason, with the goal of turning the Diamond Dogs’ fortunes around in 2011.

Go ‘Dawgs!