ATHENS, Ga. (Feb. 18, 2004) - The Georgia Bulldogs erupted for six runs in the final two innings to blow open a close game and earn a 7-0 victory over East Tennessee State Wednesday afternoon from Foley Field in Athens, Ga. The Bucs had several opportunities to get on the board early, but left 11 men stranded on base, compared to five for the Bulldogs.
ETSU (0-5) had chances to score first in the second, third and fifth innings. With one out in the second, sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) reached on catcher's interference then moved to second on an infield single by junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.). But the Bulldogs were able to get out of the inning with no damage, as starting pitcher Rip Warren struck out the next batter then picked Byrne off of second.
Freshman designated hitter David Yates (Douglasville, Ga.) led off the third with a double to the right field gap. Junior third baseman Justin Clear (Lafollette, Tenn.) advanced Yates to third with a sacrifice bunt, but also reached first as Warren's throw pulled Georgia first baseman Josh Morris off of the bag. But again Georgia was able hold the Bucs scoreless as Warren threw out Yates at third on a fielder's choice, and shortstop Justin Holmes made a great play on another fielder's choice throwing out Clear at third on a ground ball in the hole. Warren recorded the final out of the inning as senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) lined out to center.
Yates led off another inning with a hit, singling to center to begin the fifth. Clear moved Yates up a base with his second sac bunt, followed by a walk to sophomore left fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) to give the Bucs runners on first and second with one out. The Bucs were again unable to get a run across as Warren and relief pitcher Chris Webb retired the next two batters to end the inning.
Georgia (5-0) broke the scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Designated hitter Jason Jacobs led off the inning with a single to center field, followed by a slow roller by second baseman Marshall Szabo that made it through the middle into the outfield for a single. Catcher Derek Smith followed with an infield single to load the bases. Bulldog right fielder Joey Side then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Jacobs from third for the first run of the game.
East Tennessee State left two runners in scoring position in the top of the sixth. Sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) led off the inning with a walk, followed by a Byrne single to right-center. Moore then advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, but Bulldog reliever Bo Lanier struck out the next two Buccaneers to thwart the potential rally.
The Bulldogs widened their lead to 3-0, scoring two runs on three hits in the bottom of the seventh. Bulldog first baseman Josh Morris led off the frame with a double to right-center, and then scored on a subsequent single to center by Jacobs. Szabo then hit into a fielder's choice, retiring Jacobs, but would later come in to score on an infield single by Holmes.
Georgia iced the game with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, third baseman Josh Smith doubled to right, followed by an intentional walk to Morris. The next batter, pinch-hitter Ryan Pittmon, reached on an error, scoring Smith and allowing Morris to advance to third. Szabo then doubled to right to score Morris and advance Pittmon to third. Pittmon scored and Szabo moved to third on a wild pitch before Szabo scored on a sac fly by catcher Clint Sammons.
Byrne and Yates led the Bucs at the plate with two hits each. Georgia was paced by Jacobs and Szabo, who also had two hits on the afternoon. Morris and Szabo each had a game-high two runs scored for the Bulldogs.
Lanier (1-0) earned the win for the Bulldogs, pitching three excellent innings in relief, allowing no runs on one hit and striking out three. Buccaneer sophomore righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) pitched well, but was charged with the loss (0-2) after allowing one earned run on three hits in three innings pitched. Hall also struck out two Bulldog batters.
ETSU sophomore lefty Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) started the game for the Bucs and was dominant, allowing just one hit and one walk in three innings pitched while striking out three Bulldogs.
The Bucs return to action for their home opener Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Xavier from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.