Cerione's Slam Advances Dawgs

HOOVER, AL - Matt Cerione's grand slam in the top of the sixth gave Georgia a 4-1 lead and the Bulldogs held on for a 6-3 win over Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday at Regions Park.

The No. 6 seed Bulldogs (36-20) advance to face No. 7 seed Arkansas Thursday at 6 p.m. Eastern. The Razorbacks defeated No. 2 seed Florida, 8-5.

Cerione finished with five RBI while Zach Cone and Peter Verdin had two hits apiece.. It was the Bulldogs' first win in an SEC Tournament game since 2006.

Justin Grimm (3-4) earned the win after holding Ole Miss to two runs--one earned--on eight hits in 5.1 innings.

"Justin got off to a good start and threw the ball extremely well," Georgia coach David Perno said. "He's been pitching well the last several weeks and he continued that today. We're trying to get back to playing good baseball, and we got off to a good start here."

Both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when Kevin Mort scored on a wild pitch with one out to give Ole Miss a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs came back in the top of the sixth with singles by Cone and Levi Hyams to start the inning. Verdin walked two batters later to load the bases for Cerione, whose first career grand slam just cleared the center field wall to give Georgia a 4-1 lead. Bryce Massanari then walked and Rich Poythress singled to put runners at first and second with one out, but Nathan Baker came in and retired the next two batters to get Ole Miss out of the inning.

The Rebels (40-16) then loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-2. After a walk to Mort, Will Harvil struck out Evan Button to get out of the jam.

Cone singled again to lead off the seventh, then Miles Starr was hit with one out to put runners on the corners. Verdin followed with a double down the left field line that scored Cone, then a sacrifice fly by Cerione scored Starr to extend Georgia's lead to 6-2.

Ole Miss scored a run in the bottom half of the seventh on a two-out single by Kyle Henson and had the bases loaded when Justin Earls entered the game and induced an inning-ending popup to preserve the Bulldogs' 6-3 lead.

Drew Pomeranz (6-4) took the loss after he allowed four runs on five hits in 5.1 innings.Dean Weaver pitched the final 1.2 innings for his 10th save.

Trevor Holder (7-4, 4.68 ERA) will get the start on Thursday against Arkansas. The winner will have Friday off before playing again on Saturday. The loser will play Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern.


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