Georgia wins on bases-loaded sacrifice fly

ATHENS - Sophomore Joey Side delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth to lift eighth-ranked Georgia past Elon 5-4 Saturday before a Foley Field crowd of 2,024.

The Bulldogs (2-0) trailed 4-3 going to the bottom of the eighth after the Phoenix (6-2) rallied back for three runs. Junior Bo Lanier cruised through the middle three innings with six strikeouts before leaving after walking the leadoff batter, Gary Morris, in the eighth. Morris stole second and the throw by catcher Derek Smith short-hopped in to centerfield allowing him to go to third. Freshman Joshua Fields came on for Lanier. Adam Weaver cut the deficit to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly. Fields struck out Chris Price for the second out but then allowed three straight hits including a two-run double by Paul Bennett as Elon claimed a 4-3 advantage. Fields struck out John Walker to end the frame.

In the bottom of the inning, Smith reached on an error by third baseman Evan Erickson and two batters latter, pinch-runner Kyle Keen scored on a fielder's choice by pinch-hitter Brandon Masters to make it 4-4. Fields set the Phoenix down in order in the top of the ninth.

Sophomore Jonathan Wyatt (2-for-3, 3 runs scored) led off the Bulldog ninth with a base hit off Chad Tilley who had blanked the Bulldogs for four innings in relief of starter Matt McSwain. Wyatt moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior designated hitter Justin Niefer (2-for-2, RBI). Elon turned to left-hander Chris DeFago to face Bobby Felmy. His first offering bounced to the backstop as Wyatt took third. Then, Elon opted to intentional walk Felmy and first baseman Josh Morris (1-2, 2 IBB) to load the bases for Side. The Phoenix brought in right-hander Kevin Regan who quickly got ahead of Side 0-2. Then, Side worked the count to 2-2 and drilled a fly ball down the right field line that Matt Stocco caught in foul territory and Wyatt tagged up to give the Bulldogs the win.

Fields got the win in his collegiate debut, pitching two innings and allowing two runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Tilley (0-1) got the loss, tossing four innings and scattering four hits, two runs, one earned with a walk and three strikeouts.

In the top of the third, Georgia starter junior Michael Hyle ran into some trouble loading the bases with no outs. However, Hyle managed to get out of the inning only allowing one run on an RBI groundout by Erickson. The Bulldogs would answer in their half of the frame. Wyatt walked and then came around to score on double down the right field line by Niefer tying the game 1-1.

Lanier tossed 3.2 innings of relief of Hyle, allowing one hit and striking out six batters.

The Bulldogs went ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Smith singled and advanced to third on two balks by McSwain. Junior Matthew Dunn sacrificed Smith in with a fly out to right. An RBI single by Morris in the fifth stretched the lead to 3-1.

The three-game series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. start. Georgia will start sophomore right-hander Brooks Brown while Elon looks to freshman right-hander Ryan Basham (1-0, 0.00).

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