June 1, 2008


Georgia survives, eliminates Louisville


By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


ATHENS, Ga. – Don’t back a Bulldog into a corner.


Georgia raised its record to 12-0 in NCAA elimination games at Foley Field with a 9-8 victory over Louisville Saturday afternoon.


The Bulldogs (36-22-1) will face Lipscomb on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Cardinals, a College World Series participant a season ago, finished the year with a 41-21 mark.


All-American Gordon Beckham ignited a seven-run seventh with a three-run homer that tied the game at 5-5. It was his 24th dinger, setting a single-season school record.


"I thought we did a great job hanging in there," said Georgia head coach Dave Perno. "Until the ninth inning, we kept them out of a big inning. Gordon’s home run got us over the hump. We had runners out there all day, but we just needed to break through. We’ve been a big-inning team and we got ours and it was enough."


Dean Weaver (5-1) shut down the powerful Cardinal offense, pitching four innings in relief with two hits, one run, one walk and one strikeout.


The Bulldogs got on the board in the top of the first as Ryan Peisel, Matt Olson and Beckham had consecutive singles to load the bases before Rich Poythress’ sacrifice fly plated Peisel with the game’s first run.


The Cardinals answered in the second. Singles by Stewart Ijames, Jeff Arnold and Andrew Clark loaded the bases with no outs. Phil Wunderlich hit into a double play to bring home Ijames with the tying run.


Louisville took the lead with a pair in the third as Josh Richmond had an RBI single and scored on a double by Ijames to make it 3-1.


Georgia made it a one-run game in the fourth as Bryce Massaneri drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a single by Matt Cerione and scored on a groundout to narrow the margin to 3-2.


UL pushed the lead back to two in the bottom of the frame as Wunderlich reached on an error and eventually scored on a base hit by Dao to raise the score to 4-2.


Wunderlich hit the first pitch of the sixth off the video board in right, his first, to give the Cards a 5-2 cushion.


Georgia rallied for seven in the seventh. Peisel and Olson started the inning with base hits to chase reliever Zach Pitts. B.J. Rosenberg came in and surrendered the three-run bomb to Beckham. Poythress had an excuse-me double to left center and scored the go-ahead run when Matt Cerione had an infield hit and Rosenburg threw the ball past first. Pinch-hitter Robbie O’Bryan, Lyle Allen and Peisel had run-scoring singles to give the Bulldogs a 9-5 advantage.


The Cardinals did not go quietly into the night. In the ninth, against All-America closer Joshua Fields, Ijames had a two-run homer and Derrick Alfonso followed with a solo shot to pull UL to within one. But Fields got a groundout to end the contest and extend the season for the Bulldogs.