Ruthven and Startup shutout Tigers

HOOVER – It's been feast or famine for Georgia at the 2004 SEC Baseball Tournament. Today it was more like the Dawgs were on a very strict diet and LSU was not allowed to eat.

Just like yesterday, Georgia didn't get much offensive production today but it didn't matter. The Bulldogs knocked out number three seed LSU in the first elimination game of the tournament. Clint Sammons didn't have any bad luck today. He drove in the only run of the contest as Georgia won 1-0 to advance to play the loser of today's Florida-Vanderbilt game.

The Bulldogs got their most timely hit in weeks when Sammons hit a one-out single with Dawgs on the corners. He drove in Marshall Szabo from third. The Bulldog 2nd baseman lead off the inning with a double and was moved to 3rd with a sacrifice.

"I was just trying to hit to the right side to give us a shot to get a guy in," said Sammons of his game winning hit.

Georgia beat LSU in the final game of their series earlier this year in Baton Rouge. The Bulldog win was key to their season turnaround. The Tigers have not gone winless at the SEC Tournament since 1985 when they hosted the event. They lost to Georgia and Florida that season as well.

Georgia moves to 2-2 in games where they are tied with their opponent going into the 9th inning. It was Szabo's double that started it off. The blast looked like it might leave the yard when it first came off of his bat but the Hoover Met contained the ball.

"I didn't get out of the box as fast as I should have so I turned up the speed when I saw it hit the ground," said Szabo of his shot. He thought that he had ended the game with the swing, however. "I thought I had hit it hard enough to get it out."

Georgia Head Coach David Perno was firm in his commitment to throw his usual SEC pitching rotation from the LSU game forward. The strategy appears to have worked.

"Now I hope you see why we didn't bring back (Sean) Ruthven yesterday so he could be on full rest," Perno explained to the media gathered under the Hoover Met after the contest. Ruthven beat South Carolina last Friday night in Athens.

Ruthven appeared comfortable with the decision to rest even after Georgia's loss yesterday. He was not the pitcher of record but he held LSU in check all game long until Will Startup won the game in the 9th as a result of Sammons' game winning hit. Startup did not allow a hit and only walked one in 5 innings of relief.

"My job was to go in and throw strikes and keep them off balance," said Startup, who gave up a 3-run shot to the Tigers in Georgia's comeback win earlier this year.

"It's hard to win a game with just four hits," said LSU Head Coach Smoke Laval of the impressive Georgia pitching duo.

With yesterday still fresh in their minds, Georgia knows all too well about the difficulty of winning without hitting. But Perno thinks that the Dawgs' slumping bats are just turning the corner.

"I'm not worried about our at bats, I saw some better swings today and we only struck out twice. We're making progress and just need to find some holes and hit a few the other way. Also, we need to hit better with runners in scoring position and get some two-out RBI," he said.

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