Grand Slam Lifts Georgia

A seventh-inning grand slam by Georgia designated hitter Joey Lewis lifted the No. 1 ranked Bulldogs to a 6-3 win over 11th-ranked Ole Miss Friday night in Oxford before the fourth-largest crowd in Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field history.

"A real good college baseball game, one that they deserved to win certainly," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after the Rebels fell to 30-12 on the season and 11-8 in Southeastern Conference play. "We left too many base runners on, and they were able to get the big hits."

The Rebels left nine on base, but the Bulldogs, who improved to 33-9 and 14-5, left 11 stranded.

A Regional atmosphere throng announced at 9,232 couldn't help lift the Rebels in this one. After the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Rebels answered with two of their own in the bottom of the first.

Jordan Henry walked and Logan Power sent a rocket into center field that hit off the batter's eye blue wall, a shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy and the Rebels into a tie.

That tie would last until the grand slam by Lewis in the top of the seventh. The Rebels didn't get many hits off UGA starter Trevor Holder. Only three in six innings, as a matter of fact, and only four total in nine innings off three Bulldog pitchers.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Rebels had the bases loaded with Kevin Mort at the plate. But Mort grounded the first pitch he saw to the second baseman, who lofted it over to the first baseman to end the Rebels' biggest threat of the evening.

The Bulldogs proved why they are leading the SEC and are ranked tops in the nation immediately thereafter. After Michael Demperio singled, Matt Cerione sac bunted him to second, and sophomore starter Drew Pomeranz (6.1 innings, 3 runs, 2 earned, 7 hits, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks) was pulled in favor of David Goforth.

The Rebel redshirt freshman reliever got Colby May to fly out to left. Then slugger Rich Poythress, with 20 home runs this season, was intentionally walked. That was followed by a walk of Bryce Massanari, with 12 round-trippers, and then up came Lewis, who also had 12 homers.

Now he has 13 as the shot heard from Oxford to Athens went into the first row of the left field terrace.

"It was supposed to be a fast ball in, and I just got it out over the plate a little bit," said Goforth, who didn't figure in the decision as Pomeranz (4-2) got the loss. "That happens. He just ran into it and got a hold of it."

Lewis was 1-for-19 in his 20 at-bats before the grand slam.

"This is the best atmosphere I've played in," said Lewis, who was 1-for-5 in the contest, comparing Swayze's crowd to Omaha and the College World Series.

Matt Smith said the Rebels still believed they could win the game even after the big Georgia blast.

"It didn't deflate us," Smith said of the grand slam. "We came back the next couple of innings and competed at the plate and tried to get some things going."

Goforth (a third of an inning, 3 runs, 1 hit, 3 walks, 5 batters faced) lasted one more batter, walking Lyle Allen, and the hard-throwing righty left the game. Junior lefty Nathan Baker came in and finished the contest, allowing no more runs.

The Rebels had their chances late. Smith walked to lead off the eighth. But Zach Miller hit into a double play just before Kyle Henson sent one out of the ballpark to make it 6-3.

Back to back walks followed to give Ole Miss another shot. But a Georgia pitching change with closer Drew Weaver coming in got David Phillips to ground out to end that inning.

The Rebels were still breathing in the bottom of the ninth as Henry walked to get things started. But the hero of inning one, Power, hit into a double play, and Matt Snyder ground out to end the game.

Baker went 2.1 innings allowing no runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

Holder (7-2), the first of three Bulldog pitchers, got the win. He went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits with thre walks and three strikeouts.

Will Harvil relieved Holder to start the seventh and went 1.2 innings with a run and a hit and three walks. Weaver fininshed it up for the victors, going one and a third with a walk in four batters faced.

"They were a little bit better than us today," Matt Smith said. "All we can do is come back out tomorrow and fight and just be ready to go."

Saturday's game is set for 4 p.m.

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