Georgia pounds NC State 11-4

ATHENS – Georgia (40-22-1) only got hits in three innings Friday, but they certainly made those innings count as they easily defeated N.C. State (41-21) by an 11-4 margin in the opener of the Athens Super Regional.

Matching hits to runs exactly, the Dawgs notched 4 hits in the first, 5 hits in the sixth, and 2 hits in the eighth, scoring 4, 5, and 2 runs in those innings respectively.

"They're a good hitting team. If you make mistakes like (leaving the ball up) they're going to take advantage of it," said N.C. State starter and 5th round draft pick Clayton Shunick (7-6). They're good hitters no doubt."

Georgia's bats answered State's challenge in the third - with clutch two-out hitting. After a Robbie O'Bryan walk and single by Lyle Allen, Georgia's next two batters struck out. Matt Olson, however, continued his recent tear with a RBI single that was followed by hits from Gordon Beckham and Rich Poythress that put the Dawgs on top 4-2 after the third.

Georgia head coach Dave Perno pointed to that response as the key determinant in today's game.

"I thought that third inning was the key. We gave up a couple, but we've done a great job of all year being able to answer and change momentum, Perno said.

His rival head coach agreed with that assessment.

"Just tip your hat to Georgia. They obviously played very well today. As ironic as it seems, with the score 11-4, I thought we played well today. I thought Olson's hit was obviously the big hit. Just can't wait for tomorrow and hopefully it will be a better day," said Wolfpack head coach Elliot Avent.

Tomorrow may be another day, but today never got any better for the Wolfpack after they took a brief lead. The Bulldogs benefited from an outstanding performance by junior Trevor Holder (8-4).

Nearly throwing a complete game, Holder went 8 and 2/3rds - scattering seven hits and surrendering only two runs on solo homers in the third inning.

Georgia added seven more runs while N.C. State only picked up three more hits over the rest of the game, with Holder able to settle into a groove after the two homers.

"It was nice to get a win today. The guys, we were all focused on winning this first game. I can't say enough about how the guys battled and put up runs. The defense played outstanding," Holder said.

The day was made even better for Holder after he was drafted in the 10th round by the Florida Marlins, a fact he did not learn until after the game.

"I just found out right after the game actually. It's been a nice day. I guess yesterday I was just sitting there watching the computer screen, not really dejected, but coach Perno called me up and reminded what we're here for, to win a national championship. That got my head on straight," he said.

Used to playing from behind in the postseason, Georgia finds itself in an awkward situation entering Saturday's contest - it does not face elimination. But Perno said he is confident in his team's ability to be ready.

"I don't worry about this team being ready to play tomorrow. They have to have the same urgency as if we're down 0-1, because we've been on that other side. We know if things don't work out tomorrow who carries the momentum into Sunday's game," he said.

His shortstop Gordon Beckham added, "We've got to take it, because they're not going to just roll over."

Georgia and N.C. State will meet again tomorrow at noon, in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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