Dawgs inching closer to SEC title

ATHENS - Georgia junior catcher Bryce Massanari became a father on Thursday and drove in the go-ahead run Friday to help the fifth-ranked Bulldogs to a 5-4 win over No. 25 Ole Miss at Foley Field.

Massanari and his wife Lauren became parents Thursday as she gave birth to a girl they named Marley. In the fifth inning on Friday, Massanari delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to put Georgia ahead 5-4. Sophomore Dean Weaver and senior All-America closer Joshua Fields blanked the Rebels over the final 3.2 innings to secure the win for junior Trevor Holder (7-2). Georgia's pitchers tied a season-high with 13 strikeouts and Fields notched his SEC-leading 13th save. The Bulldogs improve to 30-14-1 overall and an SEC-best 16-5-1 while Ole Miss drops to 30-18, 11-11 SEC.

Second baseman Zach Miller gave Ole Miss a 1-0 lead in the second inning when he connected for his first home run of the year. Georgia put runners at the corners with one out and Lance Lynn struck out Joey Lewis. However, Matt Cerione kept the inning going with a two-run double to the gap in left center. Then, Michael Demperio followed with a run-scoring single to put the Bulldogs in front 3-1. Georgia junior shortstop Gordon Beckham smashed his NCAA-leading 21st home run in the third to make it 4-1. However the Rebels closed the gap to 4-3 with a pair of runs in the fourth.

Ole Miss tied the game 4-4 in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Fuller Smith, his sixth of the year. Massanari answered with his clutch RBI-single in the fifth for his 15th two-out RBI of the year. With one out in the sixth and runners at the corners, Holder was lifted in favor of sophomore Dean Weaver. Holder scattered four runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Weaver tied a season-high with five strikeouts over 2.2 innings and allowed just one hit. Fields came on in the ninth and added to his SEC and Georgia record with his 36th career save. Lynn took the loss for Ole Miss, falling to 6-2. He allowed five runs but only two were earned in 6.1 innings.

"It was a big night for us, and we got back to doing what we do best, that is, pitch and play defense and have good at bats and timely hitting," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We did a nice job with two outs, and our pitchers got a lot of strikeouts."

The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised live by ESPNU. Georgia will start junior right-hander Stephen Dodson (5-2, 3.99 ERA) while the Rebels will counter with freshman left-hander Drew Pomeranz (4-1, 3.12 ERA).

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