Dawgs Relentlessly Pound Ohio State

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Georgia exploded for eight runs in the first inning and rolled to a 24-8 win over Ohio State in game one of the Tallahassee Regional Friday at Dick Howser Stadium.

The Bulldogs (38-22), who recorded season highs in runs, hits and total bases, will face the winner of Florida State and Marist Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

Georgia hit seven home runs, including three by Rich Poythress and two each Joey Lewis and Matt Cerione, to set a new school record with 105 home runs this season. Poythress also doubled and tied his career high with four hits and drove in seven runs to set a new single season school record with 84 RBI, breaking the previous mark of 77 set by Gordon Beckham last year.

Cerione had a career-high five hits and five RBI, Joey Lewis had four hits and Colby May had three hits for Georgia. Michael Demperio and Zach Cone added two hits and Levi Hyams had a hit and three walks. Poythress became the second player in Georgia history to have two three-home run games. He also hit three in the 11-7 win over Kennesaw State on April 21.

Justin Grimm (4-4) earned his second win in as many starts as he held Big Ten regular season champion Ohio State to two runs on six hits in five innings. The Bulldogs roughed up Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Alex Wimmers (9-2) for 10 runs on eight hits in four innings.

"Three weeks of frustration came out today," Georgia coach David Perno said. "We were getting off to good starts early in the year, and we couldn't have asked for a better start today."

In the first inning, Peter Verdin reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and after advancing to third, he scored when the Buckeyes failed to cover home plate. Cerione followed with a home run to right field, and Poythress then doubled off the top of the right field wall. After a walk to Bryce Massanari, May singled up the middle to score Poythress and give Georgia a 3-0 lead. Lewis, the next batter, hit a three-run blast over the short porch in right field to make it 6-0. Hyams then walked and Michael Demperio had a bunt single to put two more runners aboard. After a double steal, Cone drove in another run on an infield single, and Verdin reached on a fielder's choice to drive in the eighth run of the inning.

Every Georgia batter except Cone scored in the inning, and he had an RBI single. It was the most runs scored in an inning by the Bulldogs since since scoring 13 in the eighth inning against Liberty in 2004.

Ohio State (40-18) cut the Georgia lead to 8-2 on a two-out two run double in the third by Ryan Dew.

Poythress led off the fourth inning for the Bulldogs with hits first home run of the game, and Lewis launched his second home run of the day three batters later to extend the lead to 10-2.

Play was suspended after the top of the fifth due to rain and lightning, and the game resumed at 7:00 after a five-hour, 12 minute rain delay.

Georgia increased its lead to 11-2 in the sixth inning on a two-out RBI double by Demperio that scored May, then after the Buckeyes scored a run in the seventh, Poythress blasted an opposite field home run in the bottom half of the inning to make it 13-3. Later in the inning Hyams singled through the left side to score May from second.

Ohio State tacked on three runs in the eighth, then Georgia scored 10 runs highlighted by grand slams by Poythress and Cerione and a two-run double by Miles Starr. The Buckeyes added two runs in the ninth for the final margin.

Poythress now has 24 home runs, four shy of the single season record set by Gordon Beckham last year. Georgia finished the game with 23 hits.

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