Dawgs beat State with walk-off

ATHENS - Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham, the national leader in home runs, added a dramatic three-run walk-off blast to his tally Wednesday as the Bulldogs defeated Georgia State 7-5 at Foley Field

It was the 17th home run of the year for Beckham who was named the "Midseason Player of the Year," earlier in the day by Baseball America. The Bulldogs improved to 25-12 overall while the Panthers dropped to 18-16. Beckham's blast over the left field wall came on a 1-0 count off Panther closer David Ferrer. He was 0-for-4 before the home run, but now he is batting .430 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI for the year.

"We made a few mistakes in the late innings tonight that we haven't done much this year, but our veterans came through at the plate," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Ryan Peisel got it started in the ninth with the base hit and stolen base, Matt Olson had a good at bat to draw a walk and then Gordon came through. He's a .430 hitter so even though he didn't have a hit up to that point, he didn't shut it down, he hung in there and delivered in big fashion. We weren't going to bunt in that situation. We had our guys up there and we were playing to win."

In the ninth, Georgia State took advantage of errors by Beckham and reliever Justin Earls to move back ahead 5-4. The Bulldogs trailed the entire game until tying it in the eighth. The Panthers grabbed a 4-0 lead in the third on a pair of two-out, two-run singles by shortstop Chase Childers and catcher Marc Mimeault. Freshman right-hander Justin Grimm started for the Bulldogs and went three innings, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and one strikeout. Senior right-hander Nick Montgomery was handed the ball to start the fourth frame. GSU starter Kenny Camp provided three innings and scattered three hits and a run. He was lifted in the fourth after a leadoff single by Rich Poythress (2-for-4, HR, 1 RBI). John Locklear followed Camp, and the Bulldogs threatened but managed only a run to make it a 4-1 contest. Poythress scored when Lyle Allen bounced in to a double play. In the fifth, Georgia got a sacrifice fly from Matt Olson that scored Matt Cerione (2-for-3) as the Bulldogs closed the gap to 4-2.

In the sixth, Poythress crushed his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot off Locklear to make it a one-run contest at 4-3. Montgomery provided three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, and then the Bulldogs turned to Earls in the seventh. The Bulldogs threatened in the seventh as Ryan Peisel (2-for-3) started a two-out rally with a bunt single. Olson followed with a double down the left field line. However, Locklear got Beckham to ground out that maintained the Panthers advantage. Georgia tied the game in the eighth when pinch-hitter Adam Fuller delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to right center off Panther left-hander Robinson Polanco.

Sophomore Dean Weaver picked up the win, recording the final two outs of the ninth, to improve to 2-1 while Polanco dropped to 5-3.

Georgia returns to SEC action Friday in Baton Rouge, La., when it faces LSU at 8 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs lead the overall SEC race and the Eastern Division with a 12-3 mark while the Tigers are tied for second in the Western Division at 6-9.

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