Freshman Iain Sebastian made his Bulldog debut and it was a successful one. He struck out second baseman Pete Orr to start the bottom of the first and then retired Ryan Langerhan on a flyout and struck out Chipper Jones. In the second, the Braves tied the contest as Andruw Jones reached second on an errant throw by shortstop Gordon Beckham to start the frame. With one out, right fielder Jeff Francouer line a single to left bringing Jones home to make it 1-1. Sebastian pitched the first two innings and recorded three strikeouts
"March 1st was always the target date for Iain to pitch as he was coming back from a broken collarbone," said Georgia coach David Perno. "He looked really good out there and that's a credit to the hard work he's put in along with our athletic trainer Mike Dillon and pitching coach Roger Williams.
In the fourth, the Braves took a 3-1 lead getting a run-scoring double by designated hitter Kelly Johnson and an RBI-groundout from shortstop Wilson Betemit off of senior Jason Fellows. Meanwhile, Chris Reitsma and Oscar Villareal combined to blank the Bulldogs over the next three innings combining for six strikeouts. In the fifth, Atlanta added another run by taking advantage of a couple of Bulldog miscues. Redshirt freshman Stephen Dodson hit Matthew Diaz with a pitch and then an error by second baseman Jonathan Wyatt allowed him to get to third. Dodson got Michael Ryan to bounce into a double play but Diaz scored on the play for a 4-1 advantage.
Atlanta broke open the exhibition in the sixth, scoring five runs on five hits and another Bulldog error to build a 9-1 lead. Designated hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia keyed the outburst with a run-scoring triple while Betemit had an RBI single too. On the day, five of the 10 Braves runs were earned as Wyatt had three errors while Beckham and Peisel had one each.
Villareal earned the win while Fellows got the loss Wednesday. Braves pitchers held the Bulldogs to one hit until the eighth when Wyatt and Matthew Dunn notched singles off of hard-throwing right-hander Jose Ascaino who hit 99 miles per hour during the frame. Georgia used five pitchers in the ball game. Along with Sebastian, Fellows and Dodson, Nathan Moreau and Trevor Holder faced the Braves.
"I would've liked to play better defensively, and I know it was against the Braves but hopefully we won't play like that again," said Perno as the Bulldogs made five errors on the day. "It was just one of those days for Jonathan (Wyatt) and he'll be fine. We were a little overmatched by their pitchers today. A few of their guys had a lot of Major League experience and in the past we've faced some guys with numbers in the 60s and 70s who were minor leaguers. Overall, it was a good experience for everyone and I was pleased with how our pitchers performed especiall Iain in his first outing "
Up next, Georgia faces the University of Southern California Thursday at 9 p.m. ET in Los Angeles.