Georgia drops regional opener

ATHENS, GA – The road to Omaha just got a bit longer.

The number 8 overall seed Georgia Bulldogs (35-22-1) dropped the first game of the Athens regional 10-7 to Atlantic Sun conference champion Lipscomb University (33-28), and must now win four games over the next three days to advance to the Super Regional.

That daunting task begins tomorrow at 3 p.m when Georgia faces the loser of tonight's game between Louisville and Georgia Tech.

"It's obviously extremely tough, but when you have the veterans we have and the pitching staff – it's doable. But the big thing is you've got to win the game. We've got to win the game tomorrow. We've been scuffling now for a couple weeks and we've got to do a better job defending the scoreboard and winning the scoreboard. We haven't done that lately and hopefully we'll get back on track tomorrow," Georgia head coach David Perno said.

Things looked good early for the Bulldogs, as they took advantage of an error and four hits to jump out to a 4-1 early lead over the visiting Bisons, but that was to be the pinnacle of Bulldog success.

Lipscomb tied things up by the end of the 3rd and took a commanding 8-4 lead after the 5th inning on the strength of a two run homer by Ryan Wilkins that drove Georgia starter Stephen Dodson from the game.

"You've got to tip your hat to them," Perno said. "They did a great job in battling back and scored a lot of runs and got the big hits when they needed them."

Georgia actually outhit the Bisons with 13 hits to Lipscomb's 10, but couldn't turn those hits into additional runs.

"We had a lot of great at bats today, we really did," Perno said. "We hit the ball hard. We needed some to leave the yard. We just couldn't find that elusive home run."

Georgia's last chance came in the bottom of the 8th, when Rich Poythress came to the plate with one out and two runners on after an RBI single by Gordon Beckham that closed the gap to 9-7. Poythress, however, grounded into an inning ending double play to extinguish the potential Georgia rally.

Beckham, who went 1 for 5 today with the one RBI, said he knows his play must improve for Georgia to advance.

"I'm obviously frustrated with my performance today. I didn't give up. I didn't quit. It just didn't work out for me today," Beckham said.

"Tomorrow's a new day so I plan on taking us back and helping the team a lot more than I did today."

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