Side's blast lifts Dawgs over Vandy

ATHENS, Ga.- After butchering the base paths all night long, Georgia rallied past Vanderbilt on Friday thanks to some base running hustle by Jason Jacobs and a big blast by Joey Side.

Side hit his sixth home run of the season to lead off the ninth inning, banging a pitch by reliever Stephen Shao off the Foley Field scoreboard to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 win over the Commodores.

"I knew he was going to pitch me outside, and, luckily, he left one up instead of getting it down," Side said.

Jacobs set up the dramatic end when he beat Commodore shortstop Dominic De La Osa to second base in the seventh inning, allowing Josh Morris to score and tie the game at 2-2. De La Osa, a freshman, fielded a routine ground ball off the bat of Adam McDaniel and, rather than pitching the ball to second baseman Warner Jones, he jogged toward second base, thinking he had plenty of time. Instead, Jacobs slid in just before he reached the base, and Morris, who never stopped running, scored.

"I felt like I was in there," Jacobs said. "I felt the call could have gone either way, but that's the luxury of playing at home sometimes. Those are the calls we hadn't been getting on the road."

A crowd of 2,332 fans showed up to see the Bulldogs play their first home game in 19 days. It was Georgia's seventh straight SEC game that has been decided in the eighth inning or later.

"That was just pure hustle," Coach David Perno said of Jacobs' play. "It's going to take that. We have to do those things to get where we need to get. We have to do some extra things."

After Jacobs' play, Matthew Dunn came up next and slapped a single up the middle to score Jacobs and give the Bulldogs a 3-2 edge. Dunn was 1-for-24 with no RBIs in SEC play heading into the Bulldogs' Sunday game against Alabama. In the last two games, he's gone 4-for-6 with three RBIs.

Jacobs' hustle didn't seal the win, though. All-SEC closer Will Startup blew his third save in as many weekends by allowing the Commodores to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth. That wasted a beautiful effort by starter Michael Hyle, who pitched seven-plus innings and gave up just four hits and two earned runs.

Startup eventually got the win for the Bulldogs, thanks to Side's blast.

The win kept Georgia's slim hopes of making the SEC Tournament alive as it improved to 24-20 overall and 8-13 in the conference.

After the top of the sixth, the Commodores led 2-1 despite having more errors (three) than hits (two). Left field Stephen Shao accounted had both Vanderbilt RBIs at that point, one on a third inning groundout to score Alex Feinberg in the third and another on a sixth inning double that drove in Rucker Taylor in the sixth.

Both runs were the result of Bulldog mistakes. Feinberg reached base on an error by Jacobs and Taylor was hit by Hyle pitch to lead off the sixth.

Georgia mistakes were the theme of the early innings. The Bulldogs cost themselves scoring chances in the first and second due to atrocious base running. Bobby Felmy and Jacobs each got thrown out at third base while running on ground balls hit to the left side of the infield, and McDaniel was thrown out easily after trying to steal second base before Commodore starter Jensen Lewis had even released the ball. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Felmy was thrown out trying to steal second base with All-SEC cleanup hitter Morris at the plate. Top Stories