Top-ranked Cats even series with Georgia

ATHENS - Top-ranked Arizona evened the series with Georgia, posting a 7-1 win Saturday in front of a crowd of 3,432 at Foley Field.

Arizona (1-1) carried a 2-1 lead through seven innings as all the scoring to that point came on home runs. In the first, Wildcat first baseman C.J. Ziegler hit his second home run of the series, a two-out shot off junior Stephen Dodson. In the bottom of the third, Bulldog shortstop Gordon Beckham (3-for-4, HR) launched a mammoth drive over the batter's eye in centerfield to tie the contest. Then in the fourth, the Wildcats regained the lead after a home run by third baseman Dillon Baird (2-for-3). Arizona broke it open with four runs in the eighth. A three-run home run by T.J. Steele off sophomore Alex McRee capped the outburst plus one run in the ninth provided the final margin.

A trio of Arizona hurlers combined to strike out 13 Bulldogs as Georgia (1-1) stranded 10 on the day. Arizona starter David Coulon picked up the win as he limited Georgia to a run on five hits with eight strikeouts before leaving with one out in the sixth. Eric Berger and Jason Stoffel blanked the Bulldogs over the final 3.2 innings as Stoffel notched a save. Dodson was the tough luck loser, allowing just a pair of runs on four hits in six innings.

Trailing 2-1 in the fifth, Georgia lost a run on a successful Wildcat appeal as Adam Fuller was called out for leaving third base early on a flyout by Ryan Peisel. In the sixth, Georgia put runners at the corners with one out but failed to score. Berger came on and struck out designated hitter Joshua Fields. After a walk to Joey Lewis loaded the bases, Berger recovered to strike out pinch-hitter Bryce Massanari. In the seventh with Michael Demperio at second, Beckham smashed a line drive off of Berger that remained in the infield and Demperio had to hold at third. Then, Stoeffel came in and retired Rich Poythress on a flyout.

"We had a lot of opportunities today but couldn't break through and we had too many strikeouts," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We had chances starting in the first inning and we didn't do a good job all day with two strikes. Overall, I did see a lot of good things from Stephen Dodson. It was a tough loss for him, he pitched better as the game went along and he only allowed two solo home runs."

The rubber game of the series begins Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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