Dawgs get critical win over Carolina

ATHENS - Junior left fielder Jonathan Wyatt went 3-for-5 with a home run and a career-high four RBI to lead 25th-ranked Georgia to an 8-4 win over 12th-ranked South Carolina Friday in front of a crowd of 2,549 at Foley Field.

Georgia (29-16, 11-11 SEC) took a 2-0 lead in the first when Bobby Felmy delivered a two-out, two-run double on a 3-0 count off USC sophomore Wynn Pelzer. Junior Joey Side and freshman Gordon Beckham were aboard on a single and a walk respectively. In the second, Wyatt belted a two-out, two-run home run to right to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 edge. Wyatt's home run was the fourth of his career and his first at Foley Field. It also extended Wyatt's career-long hitting streak to 12 games.

South Carolina (32-14, 13-9 SEC) got on the board with a run in the third with a two-out RBI single to left from Jon Willard scoring Andrew Crisp. Crisp singled in his at bat extending his hitting streak to 15 games. The run snapped a stretch of 14.1 scoreless innings pitched for Mickey Westphal. The senior left-hander gave the Bulldogs 6.1 innings, scattering four runs on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts to earn another victory. He remained perfect on the year at 5-0 while Pelzer got the loss to drop to 4-2. Pelzer allowed seven runs on 10 hits before leaving with two outs in the eighth.

"It has been a long road to get to .500 in the SEC, and this win was very satisfying for the team," said Georgia coach David Perno. "I like the way we're playing right now. We've been able to score some early runs and the pitching and defense have been solid. Mickey (Westphal) didn't have his best stuff tonight but he kept us in it and got us in to the seventh. Rip Warren has been tremendous, he's been as good as anybody in the SEC the last month. "

In his last eight outings covering a span of 20 innings, Warren is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA with 25 strikeouts and two walks. He has allowed just one earned run in this stretch. The Bulldogs now have won five straight, are 11-6 against ranked opponents including 6-0 at home.

In the top of the fourth, Robbie Grinestaff hit a two-out, solo home run to right center for the Gamecocks to trim the deficit to 4-2. The Bulldogs got the run back in the bottom of the frame as Wyatt singled in a run with a hit through the right side of the infield. Ryan Peisel accounted for the run after singling, move to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dunn, and then scoring from second.

The Gamecocks pulled within one at 5-4 in the seventh on a two-run home run from Chris Brown. Reese Havens reached base when Side, the Bulldog centerfielder, dropped a fly ball.

The Bulldogs added three insurance runs in the eighth giving the game its final margin. Felmy drew a leadoff walk. Then, a single by Matt Olson advanced Felmy to third, and a throwing error from first baseman Justin Smoak allowed Felmy to score. After Dunn drew a walk, Wyatt and Side each added RBI singles off the USC bullpen. Olson's hit extended his hitting streak to seven games. Georgia sophomore closer Joshua Fields pitched the ninth to preserve the victory.

The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 4:06 p.m., and the game will be televised by FSN as the SEC "Game of the Week."

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