Comebacking! Dawgs beat Stanford in CWS

The Georgia Bulldogs are getting used to having their backs against the wall.

Georgia (43-23-1) trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh but came away with two runs in that frame to go up by the final margin. After Stanford (40-23-2) recorded outs of the first two batters, junior Gordon Beckham singled and sophomore Rich Poythress walked. Next, junior Bryce Massanari hit a ball that went off the yellow home run line down the right field line, but the ball was called foul sending Massanari back to the plate where he was hit by the next pitch. Then with the bases loaded, sophomore Matt Cerione singled to center driving in the innings two runs.

With the win, the Bulldogs advance in the winner's bracket with a 2-0 record and will await their opponent for a Friday contest at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Georgia's opponent will be determined on Wednesday when Stanford and Miami play an elimination game at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Bulldogs need one more win to advance to the national championship series, a best two-out-of three between the bracket winners.

The last time Georgia started a CWS with wins in its first two games was in 1990 when it defeated Mississippi State 3-0 and Stanford 16-2 before going on to win the national championship.

Cerione finished Monday night's game 2-for-3 with three runs batted in, all with two-outs, to lead the Bulldog offense, while his effort was supported by the performances of Beckham (2-for-4, 2 runs), Poythress (2 walks, 2 runs) and sophomore David Thoms (2-for-4).

The Bulldogs' bullpen worked the final six innings in relief of senior starter Nick Montgomery without allowing a run on just one hit. In 11 innings at the CWS, the Bulldog bullpen has allowed just one run.

"We got tremendous relief pitching again tonight," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Stephen Dodson, Alex McRee and Joshua Field did a great job. We hung in there and got the big hit when we needed it. We've won two games against two very good teams and we're excited to be 2-0 and now get ready for Friday."

Montgomery turned the ball over to junior Stephen Dodson after surrendering three runs on five hits over the first three innings. Dodson worked 3.2 innings to help set up sophomore Alex McRee for the win and senior Joshua Fields for another save. McRee came in to record the final out of the seventh inning before working a scoreless eighth and improved to 7-1 on the year with the win. Fields, pitching in a save situation for the first time since May 13, issued a walk and hit a batter but did not allow a hit en route to his 17th save of the season and 40th of his career. He is tied for second nationally with 17 saves and it gave the Bulldogs a school record 18 on the year.

"It definitely is very satisfying, and I think that what makes it even more satisfying is that it hasn't always been like this," Fields said of Georgia's bullpen success this season. "This year we've really worked on stuff during the off-season, and the way that Dean (Weaver) and (Alex) McRee have really stepped it up towards the middle and the end of the year has been huge for us. I know the Lord has blessed me very much this year, but having guys like that who can go the seventh and eighth innings so that I can throw the ninth innings instead of throwing the eighth and the ninth or even the seventh-eighth and ninth takes a huge amount of pressure off of me. It is very satisfying to see, especially those young guys, stepping up."

Jeffrey Inman started the game for the Cardinal but did not factor into the decision after working 5.1 innings allowing two runs on seven hits. Austin Yount relieved Inman and suffered the loss after surrendering two runs in 2.1 innings. Yount fell to 6-4 on the year.

Stanford carried the lead into the seventh inning after scoring three runs in the third inning. Zach Jones led the frame off with a triple to left and scored on a groundout from Jake Schlander. Then, with two outs and Joey August on after a double, Jason Castro provided the Cardinal with a two-run home run to right.

Georgia pulled to within one at 3-2 with a run in the fourth and a run in the sixth. In the fourth, Beckham singled, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a double to left from Cerione. In the sixth, a walk to Poythress, a single from Massanari and walk to Cerione ended the day for Inman as the Cardinal turned to Yount to face pinch hitter Robbie O'Bryan. Yount issued a four pitch walk to O'Bryan scoring Poythress but got out of the inning without allowing further damage until Georgia's two-run seventh.

Beckham's single in the fourth and Massanari's base hit in the fourth extended each player's respective hitting streaks. Beckham's streak now stands at 11 games, while Massanari's is a team-leading 18 games.

"Unbelievable," Beckham said on being 2-0 this year compared to going 0-2 in the 2006 CWS. "You can substitute a lot of words for that, but this is exactly the way we wanted to do it. We usually do it the hard way through the Regional and the Super Regional, and we've started off really well here obviously with 2-0. We've got a little time off, and we can rest and recuperate to get ready for Friday. I think that it's just a tribute to this team on how hard we've played these last two games. We've been down, and we've came back. We've won two games against two very good teams and I give them all the credit in the world, but we've come out on top."


Dawg Post Top Stories