Athens, GA - Kyle Farmer and Curt Powell extended their hitting streaks to 10 and six games, respectively, but the Georgia Bulldogs were unable to put a run on the board Sunday, falling 3-0 to Alabama at Foley Field.
Alabama (16-9, 5-1 SEC) leaned on a solid performance from starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull, who tossed seven strong innings with five strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the year. Ray Castillo picked up his fourth save, after striking out five batters in route to closing out the game. Alabama continued a weekend of exceptional defense to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, Georgia (8-16, 0-6 SEC) has now lost eight consecutive games as the Bulldogs could not take advantage of an excellent start by senior Bryan Benzor.
Benzor, who made his first career start, fell to 1-1, going a career-high four innings and scattering one run on five hits. Palmer Betts, Ross Ripple and Jared Walsh also made appearances, with Ripple tossing a career-high and scoreless three innings.
“Their pitcher was great today, he threw 70 percent strikes and their defense today was phenomenal, it was all weekend,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “I thought Bryan did a nice job for us, and it’s pretty set now we’ve got our Sunday starter. Our bullpen did well considering Blake (Dieterich) was out all weekend due to shoulder stiffness. Ross Ripple was impressive today. Bottom line, our offense is not where it should be at this point, and their guy threw his best game of the year. Still, we had chances again today. We had the bases loaded five or six times in the series, and we scored one run in those spots. “
The Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Leadoff man Georgie Salem got on with one out and made it around the bases thanks to a hit batsman and an RBI single from Ben Moore. A chopper to third put two runners in scoring position with two outs, but Benzor was able to force another groundout to retire the side and hold the damage to one run.
Salem crossed the plate for Alabama again in the fifth after hitting a sharp grounder that second baseman Nelson Ward was unable to handle. He advanced to second and third on a steal and a wild pitch from Betts, and Kenny Roberts drove him in with a single to left field. Georgia then turned to Ripple, who sat the next three batters, keeping the tally at 2-0.
The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on a scoring opportunity in their subsequent turn at bat. Brett DeLoach led off with a walk, and a Daniel Nichols single put runners at the corners with no outs. Turnbull stiffened up from there, however, forcing Walsh to pop up and then fanning both Zack Bowers and Cody Sheedy.
Georgia threatened again with a two-out rally in the seventh, but to no avail. Nichols and Walsh both singled, and then pinch hitter Sean McLaughlin reached on a wild pitch strikeout before Sheedy grounded out to end the inning.
The Crimson Tide added the third and final run in the eighth when a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch from Walsh allowed Kyle Overstreet to take home.
“We’re going to have to tweak the order a little bit,” said Perno. “It’s not necessarily the guys we have, me may just need to spread some things out, jazz it up a little bit. We are definitely capable of producing more runs than we have these first two SEC series.”
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. when they play host to Clemson. The game will be televised by CSS.