Dawgs knock off Kennesaw State

ATHENS - Georgia senior Ryan Peisel went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the fifth-ranked Bulldogs past Kennesaw State 6-2 Tuesday in front of 1,737 fans at Foley Field.

Georgia (28-12-1) grabbed a 1-0 edge in the first when Peisel led off with a single, moved to second on a stolen base and eventually scored on a groundout by Rich Poythress. The Owls (21-21) responded with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the second for a 2-1 advantage. Shortstop Curtis Van Wyck smacked a two-out double and then scored on a double to right center by Bucky Smith. On the play, centerfielder Miles Starr inadvertently kicked the ball and it allowed Smith to score. It was Starr's first career start in centerfield after logging two innings there this past Sunday against LSU in Baton Rouge.

The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the frame when Peisel executed a two-out squeeze bunt, scoring Lyle Allen who had reached on an error by van Wyck. Georgia junior right-hander Will Harvil tossed a career-high four innings, allowing two runs on four hits before giving way to sophomore Justin Earls. In the sixth, KSU threatened when the first two hitters reached on an error and an infield single. However, Earls came back to retire the next three Owls including a pair of strikeouts to keep it 2-2. In the bottom of the inning, pinch-hitter Bryce Massanari was hit by a pitch with two outs. Allen lined a double down the right field line and Massanari tried to score but was thrown out.

In the seventh, Georgia surged ahead 6-2, scoring four runs on four hits and chasing KSU starter Bubba Blalock. He gave the Owls 6.1 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits. Peisel provided the go-ahead run-scoring single while the second run in the inning came on a passed ball by Jace Whitmer. Massanari's two-run double off Brett Kennedy capped the scoring.

Earls (2-1) notched the win after providing three scoreless innings and tying his career-high with five strikeouts. Blalock got the loss to fall to 0-2. After Earls, sophomores Steve Esmonde and Dean Weaver pitched a scoreless inning apiece for the Bulldogs.

"We did some different things with the lineup early to keep developing our depth, and I liked what our pitchers did because I knew eventually we would score," said Georgia coach David Perno. "All four of our pitchers went out there, competed well and threw strikes. They only walked one and struck out eight, and that's what we like to see. Also, I was glad to see Ryan Peisel have a good midweek game. Overall, it was a good win after a long, tough weekend series on the road."

Up next, the Bulldogs return to SEC action Friday on the road against Florida (25-15, 10-8 SEC). First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live by Sun Sports.

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