Dawgs continue SEC roll; Top Cats 3-2

ATHENS - Georgia junior Trevor Holder struck out a career-high nine, the bullpen tossed two more scoreless innings and a late rally helped the 11th-ranked Bulldogs defeat ninth-ranked Kentucky 3-2 Friday in front of 3,253 at Foley Field.

The Bulldogs (20-12, 10-3 SEC) trailed 2-1 going to the seventh when senior Matt Olson (2-for-5, 2 R) led off with a base hit. Junior shortstop Gordon Beckham (1-for-1, RBI, 3 BB) finally got a chance to swing the bat after the Wildcats (26-6, 7-6 SEC) had walked him three times including twice intentionally earlier in the contest. He lined a game-tying RBI-double to left field that was misplayed by Keenan Wiley and allowed him to advance to third. After Aaron Lovett retired Rich Poythress, a groundout by Bryce Massanari scored Beckham for a 3-2 lead.  

For the second straight week, Holder tied his career-high by going seven innings, and earned the win to move his record to 4-2. He leads all SEC starters with a 2.06 ERA. Last week, he tossed seven scoreless innings in a no decision versus ninth-ranked South Carolina. Georgia turned to its bullpen with sophomore Justin Earls pitching a perfect eighth with two strikeouts and senior closer Joshua Fields recording his SEC-leading ninth save, retiring the Wildcats in order in the ninth. The Bulldog bullpen now has a streak of 36.1 innings pitched in the SEC without allowing an earned run, a span of 11 games. Kentucky entered the game with the SEC's top hitting team at .351.  

  "It was more great pitching tonight, it's beyond solid, it has been phenomenal," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We struck out 12 with no walks and both runs they got, I thought we didn't make a play that I've seen us make this year that extended the inning. We really competed well tonight, on the mound and at the plate."   

Kentucky struck first with a run in the third. The Wildcats put runners at the corners with one out. Holder struck out Colin Cogwill for the second out. Then, Sawyer Carrol lined a 2-2 offering into right to score Marcus Nidiffer who led off the inning with a double. On the play, Wiley tried to score but was thrown at home by second baseman Michael Demperio who fired a strike to catcher Joey Lewis. Georgia attempted to answer in its half of the third, loading the bases with two outs but UK starter Chris Rusin struck out Massanari. In the frame, Rusin intentionally walked Beckham and then Rich Poythress worked a walk. It gave Rusin for the game, matching his total for the year. He entered the game with only four walks in 41.2 innings and finished with six before leaving with out in the sixth. He allowed one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Lovett got the loss to fall to 1-1, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits over the final 2.2 innings.   

The Wildcats threatened again with one out in the fourth, putting runners at first and second. However, Holder struck out Tyler Howe, and with the Wildcats running on the play, Lewis threw out Chris McClendon at third to extinguish that threat. Georgia tied the game in the fifth with a two-out rally. Olson smacked a double to the gap in left center. Beckham notched his third walk of the night including his second intentional free pass which brought up Poythress. He lined a 2-0 offering into right field to score Olson. Rusin came back to retire Massanari to keep it 1-1. In the sixth, Kentucky scored another two-out run to go back in front of 2-1. Cowgill led off with a single and scored on a bloop double by Brian Spear that landed just fair down the left field line.  

             The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 4:05 p.m., and the game will be televised by FoxSportsNetSouth.


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