Athens, GA - Second-ranked Vanderbilt edged Georgia 5-1 in Sunday’s rubber match of an SEC series at Foley Field as the Bulldogs made a season-high five errors.
Vanderbilt (35-6, 16-2 SEC) got on the board first in the top of the second inning, scoring two runs thanks to two errors and a wild pitch by the Bulldogs. The inning started off with a hard hit single by Mike Yastrzemski. Spencer Navin then hit a grounder back to pitcher Sean McLaughlin at the mound, however, McLaughlin couldn’t hold onto the ball and committed his second error of the afternoon allowing Navin to reach base.
After a sacrifice bunt by Conrad Gregor pushed both runners into scoring position, a wild pitch allowed Yastrzemski to score from third. The Commodores scored their second run of the inning on an RBI single into left field by Vince Conde that came on the 14th pitch of the at-bat.
Georgia (15-26, 4-14 SEC) threatened to cut into Vanderbilt’s lead in the bottom of the second after a one out walk by Brett DeLoach was followed by a Daniel Nichols single that gave the Bulldogs runners on the corners with just one out. However, TJ Pecoraro was able to force Zack Bowers to pop out in foul territory, and then struck out Justin Bryan to get out of the jam.
Vanderbilt extended their lead in the top of the third inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from Zander Wiel and Yastrzemski to make it 4-0. Xavier Turner led off the inning with a single into left, and later advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and stolen base. Wiel continued his hot streak during the series with his second double and sixth RBI of the weekend.
The Bulldogs were finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two out RBI single by Kyle Farmer. Farmer’s single brought in Nelson Ward who singled with one out and then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Farmer’s single extended his hitting streak to six games and cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 4-1 through five innings.
After allowing the Bulldog’s only run of the afternoon, Pecoraro, who went 4.2 innings, was lifted in favor of Carlson Fulmer. He pitched 2.1 innings while allowing just one hit and no runs and struck out two while facing the minimum of seven batters. Fulmer notched his first win while McLaughlin dropped to 4-4.
Closer Brian Miller finished the game off for Vanderbilt pitching two innings allowing just one hit and one strikeout for his 11th save.
“That’s just unacceptable this time of the year,” said Georgia head coach David Perno after the game. “We were just kicking the ball around on defense. It was embarrassing. We are in a situation where we can get to Birmingham (for the SEC Tournament), it’s not farfetched but we have to make plays. We have to have good at bats, we have to get hits, and we have to score runs. We just aren’t getting it done. There’s a lack of confidence that we have and we just can’t get over that hump right now.”
Georgia will head to Turner Field in Atlanta on Tuesday for the annual meeting with rival Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. The Yellow Jackets won the first contest with Georgia earlier this year in Athens by a score of 7-5 at Foley Field. It will be the 11th straight year the teams meet at Turner Field, and the Bulldogs hold a 7-3 edge in the “Spring Baseball Classic for Kids,” which benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.