Athens, GA - Georgia jumped out to an early five-run lead but Missouri rallied for four runs in the ninth to post an 8-5 victory and claim the series Sunday at Foley Field.
Georgia fell to 12-21 overall, 2-10 in the SEC while the Tigers improved to 11-17, 4-8 in the SEC.
Missouri reliever Keaton Steele shut the Georgia offense down for the last five innings, retiring 15 straight Bulldogs. Steele ended up giving up just four hits and one run while striking out nine in 7.1 innings of work. He also went 3 for 5 at the plate with a run. He picked up the win to move his record to 3-1. Blake Dieterich got the loss to fall to 1-1. Georgia starter Jared Walsh allowed three runs, two earned, in 3.2 innings, both relievers Jarrett Brown and Dylan Cole allowed a run in one inning of work. Right-hander Bryan Benzor had a very solid outing; he pitched three shutout innings while giving up just four hits.
It didn’t take the Bulldogs long to get on the board, in the first inning third baseman Curt Powell and second baseman Jess Posey lead off the game with a pair of singles. Two batters later shortstop Kyle Farmer hit a grounder to his counterpart Dillion Everett, who threw the ball over the head of second baseman Kendall Keeton and into right field allowing Powell to score. Next, starting pitcher Jared Walsh plated another run with a single off the right field wall.
Senior catcher Brett DeLoach and freshman first baseman J.T. Phillips led off the second with consecutive singles up the middle. Freshman Cody Sheedy then knocked in DeLoach with an infield single, followed by a Powell run scoring single to centerfield giving the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
Georgia’s offense tacked on their final run of the game in the third. Farmer and Walsh led off the inning with a couple of singles and then DeLoach hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Farmer, increasing the lead to five.
In the fourth Missouri began their comeback. Right fielder Dane Opel led off with a single to center, next Keaton Steele doubled off the right center field fence, then Georgia native Dylan Kelly knocked in the first Tiger run with a single to center. Next left fielder Jake Ivory hit into a run scoring fielder’s choice to shortstop, in which he was able to advance to second on an error by Posey. Ivory later scored on a Keeton single up the middle, bringing the Tiger deficit to two.
After picking up a run in the eighth, the Tigers finished off their comeback in the ninth. Pinch hitter Scott Sommerfield led off with an infield single, then Dillion Everett hit a sacrifice bunt to reliever Blake Dieterich, but second baseman Nelson Ward, who was covering first, failed to hold on to Dieterich’s throw, allowing Everret to be safe at first and letting the pinch runner Brannon Champagne advance to third. Next, left fielder Case Manson walked to load the bases. With the count 2-0, Dylan Cole then entered the game to relieve Dieterich, the first batter he faced, Opel, cleared the bases with a triple to give the Tigers their first lead of the day. Kelly then hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Opel and extending the Tiger winning margin to three.
“We just couldn’t execute in the ninth inning,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We let a team hang around after we were in control. We just couldn’t finish any innings off and it just came back to bite us. We didn’t finish yesterday and we didn’t finish today. We came out today and hit the ball all over the field and then we played like it was over and we decide we don’t have to score any more, but that is not the case.”
Next, Georgia will play host to Georgia Tech on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. That game will be televised on CSS.