Suddenly resurgent and poised to begin SEC play with a weekend sweep of the reeling Volunteers, Georgia came up on short on Sunday, eking out only a half-dozen hits in a shutout loss to Tennessee. The Big Orange salvaged the series with a 3-0 win in an errorless outing.
Neither contestant advanced a baserunner as far as second in the first two innings, but the Vols loaded the bases with only one out in the top of the third stanza, only to have the next two batters retired on a strikeout and a groundout by starter Michael Palazzone, who fanned seven and walked one while permitting seven hits and two earned runs in five frames.
Tennessee got on the board in the fourth canto with a one-out single and a two-run homer, then the Big Orange added an insurance run in the seventh inning on a leadoff single, a sacrifice groundout, a wild pitch, and a balk. In the bottom of that selfsame stanza, the Athenians moved a runner into scoring position for the first time when left fielder Hunter Cole was plunked and third baseman Curt Powell was walked. Catcher Brandon Stephens stepped up to the plate as the potential tying run, but he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
That same set of circumstances was replicated in the home half of the eighth frame, as right fielder Peter Verdin led off with a single, center fielder Nelson Ward carded a one-out base hit of his own, and shortstop Kyle Farmer lined into a double play to squander the scoring opportunity. The Classic City Canines had one last chance in the ninth canto, which began with back-to-back singles, but these went to waste when the next three Diamond Dogs struck out swinging, flied out, and struck out looking, respectively.
The bullpen delivered four innings in which the Georgia relievers between them conceded two hits, two bases on balls, and one earned run. Leadoff hitter Levi Hyams and cleanup hitter Brett DeLoach combined to go one for eight with no walks, no RBI, and one strikeout. The only Bulldog with a multi-hit day was Ward, who went two for four from the second spot in the order. The Red and Black left eight runners aboard.