Western Carolina tops Georgia 3-1

ATHENS – John Ingram smashed a three-run home run in the top of the ninth off Georgia closer Joshua Fields to rally Western Carolina past the Bulldogs 3-1 Tuesday at Foley Field.

The Bulldogs (5-11) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eight when freshman pinch-hitter Matt Cerione delivered a two-out, run-scoring single off Greg Holland. The Bulldogs tallied 16 hits but to that point Drew Saberhagen and Holland and held them off the scoreboard.

After striking out Jonathan Greene to start the ninth, the Catamounts (10-6) got to Fields. Catcher Blake Murphy and second baseman Kenny Smith reached on walks. A wild pitch moved both in to scoring position. Then on a 2-0 count, Ingram connected for an opposite field home run to make it 3-1. Georgia's rally in the ninth fell short.

Senior Jonathan Wyatt led off the final frame with a base hit. After Holland struck out Peisel, sophomore Gordon Beckham recorded his third hit of the night. Holland struck out Joey Lewis for the second out. Wyatt and Beckham executed a double steal. Then on a 3-2 pitch, Matt Olson was called out on strikes on a check-swing appeal to end the contest. Olson, Beckham and redshirt freshman Clayton Cain had three hits apiece. Cain was making his first career start and had only two plate appearances on the year.

"We've found every way to lose and now we need to find some ways to win," said Georgia coach David Perno. "I like our team, we're a resilient bunch and everybody is together and keeps believing we're going to get it going. Our season starts Friday with the start of SEC play. I don't think I've ever looked forward more to the start of the SEC season. We've lost some heartbreakers this year, but on Friday, everybody is 0-0 in the league."

Holland earned the win to even his record at 1-1 while Fields dropped to 0-3. Georgia got a fine start from sophomore Jason Leaver who matched his career-high with six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with a walk and one strikeout. Saberhagen left with two outs in the eighth. He scattered 13 hits and didn't walk a batter.

Up next, Georgia begins SEC play here with Auburn Friday at 6 p.m. The Tigers are 17-2 and ranked as high as 10th nationally. They have a pair of midweek games against 30th-ranked VMI before coming to Foley Field.


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