Slumping Dawgs lose to Western Carolina

ATHENS - Tyler Johnson tossed a career-long 5.1 innings and Jonathan Greene hit a three-run home run to lead Western Carolina past Georgia 7-5 Tuesday at Foley Field.

Western Carolina (23-18) jumped out to a 4-0 led in the top of the fourth off freshman reliever Iain Sebastian. The inning was highlighted by an RBI single from Trey McDaniel and Greene's home run. Sebastian fell to 0-2 while Johnson improved to 3-1 and Greg Holland pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save. The Bulldogs drop to 24-16.

Georgia got a strong outing from freshman left-hander Jason Leaver who tossed three scoreless frames in his first career start. He did not allow a hit and struck out a career-high four before giving way to Sebastian as the Bulldogs had planned to get several pitchers some work Tuesday. Leaver had made nine relief appearances on the year and was 1-1 with a 5.16 ERA coming in to the game. He lowered his ERA to 4.26.

In the bottom of the fourth, Georgia picked up a run to close the gap to 4-1. With two outs, junior first baseman Josh Morris reached on an error by Catamount shortstop Tim Hallam to extend the inning. Then, singles from Matt Robbins and Matt Olson allowed Morris to score.

Two innings later, the Catamounts added two runs off junior Adam McDaniel to go up 6-1. Blake Murphy hit a solo home run, and Mitchell Hatley delivered a RBI single to left.

The Bulldogs staged a comeback attempt in their half of the frame, scoring four runs on five hits that cut it to 6-5. Junior Joey Side ignited the rally with a leadoff double that extended his hitting streak to 12 games. With one out, Morris knocked a two- run home run to center while Ryan Peisel and Matthew Dunn contributed two-out RBI singles. For Morris, it was his team-leading 14th blast this season and 42nd of his career.

In the ninth, three straight singles from Tim Hallam, Barrett Shaft, and Steven Strausbaugh off sophomore Joshua Fields produced another run for the Catamounts and provided the final margin. WCU used four pitchers on the ninth including getting two scoreless innings from Bryan Tupper. Johnson allowed four runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Sebastian surrendered four runs on four hits in one inning.

"We're struggling right now, and we're going to see what we're made of here the next couple of weeks," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We've got a couple of guys playing well but overall we need to play a lot better baseball. Jason (Leaver) did a great job in his first start and Stephen (Dodson) had another solid outing in relief."

Georgia plays host to eighth-ranked Georgia Tech (32-9) Wednesday.

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