ATHENS, Ga. --- After taking an early one-run lead, the Georgia Bulldogs were outscored 6-2 for the remainder of the contest and fell to Alabama in the first game of an SEC series Friday at Foley Field.
Georgia (8-14, 0-4 SEC) was led by senior Kyle Farmer, who extended his hitting streak to eight games, going 2-4 with three RBI. Starter Sean McLaughlin (3-2) picked up the loss on five innings pitched, finishing the night with four earned runs, four walks and three strikeouts.
Alabama (14-9, 3-1 SEC) stood behind the strength of its starting pitcher, Charley Sullivan, who improved to 1-1 with a one-run, five-strikeout performance. Ray Castillo recorded the save, his third on the season by getting the final four outs.
The Bulldogs got off to a fast start in the first inning with three consecutive singles, the last of which, a rope from Farmer, plated leadoff man Nelson Ward. They were unable to get anything more. The Crimson Tide pulled ahead in the fourth inning. With two on and one out, Mikey White then flared a single into shallow right field, where Jared Walsh mishandled it, allowing both runners in scoring position to reach home. McLaughlin was able to retire the subsequent two batters, holding the tally to 2-1.
Alabama would build on that lead its next two times at the plate, scoring four runs off of five hits. White came through again for the Tide as he registered his third and fourth RBI with two outs in the fifth. Ross Ripple entered the game for Georgia in the sixth to relieve McLaughlin. Alabama managed one unearned run off of him while Georgia sophomore Heath Holder pitched a career-best two scoreless innings and junior Dylan Cole took care of the ninth.
Georgia cut the deficit to three in the eighth to yield the final margin. Farmer delivered his 60th career double to score both Cody Sheedy and Ward. After a walk and an error from the third baseman, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with two outs, but potential go-ahead run in Walsh grounded out to first to end the inning.
“We weren’t real sharp on defense and that was uncharacteristic and we’re not doing a good job of picking each other up,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We look to start a rally and then we don’t finish it. We had some chances for a couple of big innings and got just one in the first and then two late in the game.”
Georgia entered the game ranked third in the SEC in fielding at .979 but made two errors Friday and its losing streak extended to six games.
Game two of the series is slated for a 4:05 p.m. start Saturday with CSS televising the contest.