Dawgs knock off Auburn - Rubber game Sunday

ATHENS - Sophomore Joey Side's two-out, two-run single off John Madden in the sixth propelled Georgia to a 7-5 win over Auburn Saturday in front of 2,281 at Foley Field.

The Bulldogs (26-23, 10-15 SEC) evened the SEC series with the win while the Tigers fell to 31-21 overall, 12-14 in the SEC. Junior Will Startup pitched five innings in relief of Sean Ruthven to pick up the win while Mitchell Boggs tossed two shutout innings for his third save. Auburn reliever Grant Cardwell got the loss to drop to 2-3.

Auburn took a 1-0 led in the first. Tyler Johnstone singled, moved around to third on a wild pitch and a fly out, and came in on a sacrifice fly by Karl Amonite. In the second, the Tigers added two more runs off Bulldog starter Sean Ruthven. Josh Donaldson walked and moved to third on single by Bruce Edwards. Then, Adam Stacey and Clete Thomas each provided RBI singles for Auburn. Startup came on for Ruthven to start the third and set the Tigers down in order.

Georgia tied the game at 3-3 in its half of the third, getting a pair of hits plus a Tiger miscue and a passed ball. Jonathan Wyatt and Justin Niefer drew walks and Bobby Felmy (3-4, HR, 2 RBI) singled to load the bases for Josh Morris who would pick up an RBI on a groundout to third. Then, Jason Jacobs singled to right and Felmy scored from second when Tiger catcher Josh Bell couldn't handle the throw in from Clete Thomas. Georgia would tie it when Morris crossed the plate on a passed ball.

Felmy gave Georgia a 5-3 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer to right off Auburn starter Josh Sullivan. He has now hit safely in a career-high 11 straight contests.

In the fifth, Auburn pulled to within one at 5-4. Johnstone singled and Thomas was hit by a pitch to reach base. They would move up to second and third on a double steal. Amonite then flew out to deep center for his second sacrifice fly of the game.

The Tigers evened the score at five in the top of the sixth. Donaldson doubled, moved to third on a fly out, and scored on a single to right by Stacey. The Bulldogs had an answer with two runs in bottom of the frame. Matthew Dunn and Wyatt reached base on a bunt single and a walk. Niefer put down a sacrifice bunt to move up the runners. The Tigers then opted to intentionally walk Felmy loading the bases. Auburn turned to Madden. He struck out Morris on three pitches for the second out. However Side delivered a single up the middle, plating Dunn and Wyatt for a 7-5 advantage. The two-run single extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.

In the eighth, the Bulldogs looked to Boggs. He set the Tigers down in order in the eighth and got the first two in the ninth before issuing a walk to Thomas. However, he got Bell to ground out to first to end the game.

"We're approaching every game like we're in the loser's bracket of our own tournament," said Georgia coach David Perno. "That's why we went to Will (Startup) early in the game and he controlled the tempo and Mitchell (Boggs) did a nice job of closing it out. I don't see us pressing, we're still executing and playing solid baseball. We scored seven runs and didn't make any error for the second day in a row. We've got a veteran team, they're not fiery but very calm about everything."

The rubber game of the series will be Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Auburn will start freshman right-hander Cliff Mullins (1-1. 3.13) while the Bulldogs will counter with sophomore right-hander Brooks Brown (2-2, 6.21).


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