Dawgs take out Tech

ATLANTA - A Turner Field crowd of 22,599 watched seventh-ranked Georgia defeat No. 25 Georgia Tech 3-2 here Friday in the sixth annual "Spring Baseball Classic For Kids."

The Bulldogs (34-17-1) are now 5-1 in the series played at the home of the Atlanta Braves. Proceeds for the game benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and its Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Program. With the loss, the Yellow Jackets dropped to 36-16 and missed out on a chance to sweep the three-game season series.  

  Both teams exchanged runs in the first. Centerfielder Jeff Rowland reached on a one out walk and later freshman Derek Dietrich's two-out, RBI-single up the middle gave the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 advantage. Georgia senior third baseman Ryan Peisel tied the game right away when he connected for his seventh home run including his third leadoff shot this season. In the bottom of the second, sophomore centerfielder Matt Cerione smacked a one-out double to the gap in left center. Sophomore David Thoms notched his first career RBI with a base hit up the middle, scoring Cerione to put the Bulldogs in front 2-1. The top of the third ended on a splendid diving catch by freshman left fielder Lyle Allen. Then, Georgia looked to build on its lead, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the frame. However, freshman Deck McGuire pitched out of trouble, striking out Allen and getting Joey Lewis to ground out to keep it 2-1. In the bottom of the fifth, Georgia pushed across another run as Gordon Beckham singled, took third on a base hit by Rich Poythress and scored on a groundout by Bryce Massanari.  

  Bulldog senior Nick Montgomery (2-1), making his first career start, pitched a career-high five innings, limiting the Jackets to a run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts to pick up the victory. At that point, Georgia turned it over to the bullpen. Sophomore left-hander Alex McRee came on in the sixth and Tech plated an unearned run on a pair of hits to close the gap to 3-2. The Bulldogs missed a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth when Cerione stumbled going back to second on a Peisel hit that got over the head of right fielder Charlie Blackmon and then tried to score on the play but was thrown at home. On the play, Peisel went to second and pinch-runner Miles Starr made it to third. However, McGuire came back to strike out Olson to keep it 3-2. Sophomore right-hander Dean Weaver pitched the eighth inning for the Bulldogs. He ended up striking out the side but not before Tech put two men on and Dietrich at the plate. He battled Weaver with a 10-pitch at bat before striking out.  

  In the ninth, Georgia handed the ball to All-America closer Joshua Fields, and he retired the Jackets in order including striking out the final two hitters in Feltes and Thomas Nichols. Fields set the Bulldog single season record for saves with 16, which leads the nation this year. He already owns the SEC and Georgia career record with the latest giving him 39. It came in his 104th career appearance which also was a record.  

  "In the first two meetings, we were focused on the SEC race and maintaining our lead but we had no excuses tonight because now we have already won the SEC," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We came in and said let's play better tonight, and we did. We were more aggressive, and we felt good because we had already seen their pitcher twice this season."  

  Tech freshman Deck McGuire entered the game 8-0 on the year including a pair of wins over the Bulldogs. However, he got the loss Tuesday after allowing three runs on 10 hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out six.

   "Overall, we got great pitching tonight, and it started with senior Nick Montgomery," Perno added. "He has been a valuable commodity for us out of the bullpen as has Alex McRee, Dean Weaver and Joshua Fields who followed him tonight, and they were solid. I was happy for Joshua in getting the saves record too."

  Georgia returns to action Thursday when it plays host to Alabama. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 6:30 pm. ET.


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