Dawgs take second game from State

STARKVILLE - Georgia senior Mickey Westphal tossed his first career complete game to lead the Bulldogs to a 6-1 victory over third-ranked Mississippi State before a near-record crowd of 13,167 at Dudy-Noble Field here Saturday.

Georgia (20-10, 4-7 SEC) was in dire need of a good starting pitching performance and instead got a great one from Westphal who retired 17 of the last 18 MSU hitters to improve to 3-0 on the year. He allowed one unearned run on six hits (all singles) with no walks and five strikeouts. Prior to Saturday, Georgia was 1-5 in its last six games with the starting pitchers combined earned run average of more than 12.00. In game one of the series Friday, MSU beat Georgia 15-5.

Miss. State (25-5, 6-4 SEC) lost for the first time at home in 19 games this season with Josh Johnson falling to 4-2, allowing six runs on eight hits in seven innings. Westphal made his 38th career start, and the game took just two hours and one minute to finish. Earlier this season, Westphal beat the University of Southern California and ace Ian Kennedy in Los Angeles 3-2.

Juniors Joey Side (2-for-5, 3 RBI) and Ryan Peisel (2-for-4, 1 RBI) keyed the Georgia offense. MSU took a 1-0 lead in the second when designated hitter Joseph McCaskill singled to right and took second when the ball got past Bobby Felmy for the senior's first error of the year. McCaskill took third on a flyout and then came home on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Michael Rutledge. Georgia responded with two runs in the top of the third. Peisel and senior Matthew Dunn led off with base hits and then Side smacked a two-run double to right center.

It remained a 2-1 contest until the seventh when Georgia added three more runs on four hits. Freshman shortstop Gordon Beckham started the rally with a one-out double. Peisel drove him home with a base hit and later scored on a two-out, run-scoring single by Side to make it 4-1. Side stole second and an error by catcher Edward Easley allowed him to go to third. Then, junior left fielder Jonathan Wyatt made it 5-1 with a run-scoring single. In the eighth, Felmy drew a leadoff walk which ended Johnson's outing. With one out, senior catcher Jason Jacobs notched a single off of Aaron Weatherford as Felmy advanced to third. Designated hitter Matt Robbins made it 6-1 with a sacrifice fly to right.

"We needed a big lift today, and we got it," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Mickey (Westphal) was outstanding, we made the plays behind him in some tough conditions and we got the timely hits."

Georgia is now 7-3 against nationally-ranked opponents this season. Saturday's crowd ranked as the fourth largest in MSU history. The rubber game of the series will be Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

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