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Diamond Dogs Defeat No. 1 South Carolina to Advance in SEC Baseball Tournament

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Carolina Gamecocks 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 2
Georgia Bulldogs 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 4 8 0

The Diamond Dogs knew the stakes were huge when they crossed paths with the top-ranked defending national champion Gamecocks on Friday night, and they did what they had to do, scratching out the 4-2 win that ensured them of no worse than a .500 record and kept them alive for another day.

Thanks to a pair of fielding errors, a couple of singles, a double, and a wild pitch, Georgia took an improbable 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first frame. South Carolina got back one of those runs in the top of the second stanza on a trio of singles, but the Bulldogs answered in their turn at the plate on a pair of singles and a stolen base. The Gamecocks responded in the top of the third inning by loading the bases with one out, but Blake Dieterich got out of the jam by extracting a double-play ball from the Palmetto State Poultry after allowing only one run.

In the wake of a wild first two and a half cantos, the contest settled into a pitchers’ duel in which neither side could gain any traction, and, despite the presence of a number of baserunners along the way, the several stanzas that followed saw no additional scoring . . . ever. The Diamond Dogs held on to card a huge 4-2 win.

Obviously, the two South Carolina errors were important, but don’t dismiss this result as a fluke. Both teams notched eight hits in 33 at-bats, and Dieterich and the bullpen combined to pitch a whale of a game, silencing the Gamecocks’ bats for the final six frames.

The Bulldogs, who have a long history of underachieving in Hoover, at long last are playing at or above their level. The Athenians will be playing on Saturday at Regions Park, which is a tremendous accomplishment unto itself, but that achievement pales in comparison to the one the Red and Black could add to their resume tomorrow: Georgia is one win away from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

Go ‘Dawgs!