Georgia Baseball still rolling

AUBURN - The 16th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs extended their winning streak to nine in a row including seventh straight in conference play as they defeated Auburn 10-7 Friday at Plainsman Park in front of a crowd of 2,818.

The Bulldogs (33-16, 14-11 SEC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first, sending eight men to the plate. Auburn freshman right-hander Paul Burnside had not allowed an earned run in 25.1 innings of conference action. Jonathan Wyatt and Joey Side reached on back-to-back singles to start the contest and then Gordon Beckham drew a walk to load the bases. Junior Josh Morris notched a run-scoring single followed by a sacrifice fly by Bobby Felmy made it 2-0. Senior catcher Jason Jacobs (2-for-4, career-high 5 RBI) delivered the big blow, a three-run home run for a 5-0 advantage.

Auburn (22-29, 9-16 SEC) closed the deficit to 5-2 in the second, collecting a pair of runs on four hits including a run-scoring single by Justin Bristow and a two-out RBI-single from Tyler Johnstone off Bulldog senior Mickey Westphal. In the third, freshman Mike Bianucci (3-for-5, 2 RBI) connected for his eighth home run of the year to bring the Tigers to within two at 5-3. In the fourth, the Tigers surged ahead 6-5, scoring three runs on two hits. It marked the first time in 77 innings that the Bulldogs fell behind in their last nine games dating back to the April 25th contest against Western Carolina.

However, the Bulldogs immediately responded with four runs on four hits, all doubles, in the fifth to chase Burnside. Beckham led off with a double and then Morris drew a walk. With one out, Jacobs smacked a two-run double. Olson followed with another run-scoring double and then Ryan Peisel came through with another run-scoring double as the Bulldog surged ahead 9-6.

"A lot of people didn't realize that we haven't trailed in a game during this winning streak until tonight," said Georgia coach David Perno. "However, we answered immediately to reclaim the lead and Mickey (Westphal) followed it up with a couple of shutout innings and that was big. We also played another solid game defensively with some more great catches in the outfield."

Georgia added an insurance run in the seventh when Felmy singled, stole second and eventually scored on a Peisel groundout. Every Bulldog had at least one hit and seven of the nine scored a run in the 14-hit attack.

Auburn cut it to 10-7 in the seventh on a two-out run-scoring double by Russell Dixon which ended Westphal's outing. Georgia looked to senior Rip Warren and he pitched an inning of scoreless baseball before turning it over to sophomore closer Joshua Fields. He notched his SEC-leading 11th save, blanking the Tigers over the final 1.1 frames.

Westphal improved to 6-0, scattering seven runs on 11 hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Burnside dropped to 2-2, allowing eight runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings. The Tigers got a nice relief performance from Andy Masten who pitched the final 4.2 innings. Georgia is now 9-4 in the road in the SEC.

The series continues Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.

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