June 24, 2008
Beckham's Bomb Buoys Bulldogs
SEC Champs are one win away from national
Blast It Like Beckham
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – “When we need it the most.”
That’s what Georgia junior shortstop Gordon
Beckham told head coach David Perno when asked when he would hit
his next home run to give him the school’s career record of 52.
That dinger was a two-run shot that ignited a
four-run eighth as No. 8 Georgia nipped Fresno State 7-6 Monday
in Game 1 of the Championship Series of the 2008 College World
Series in front of 19,559 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will take
place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
“It was pretty good,” Beckham said. “It
jump-started us. We won the game after that. That just got us
going a little bit.”
After Fresno State (45-31) snapped a 3-3 tie with
three in the top of the eighth, Matt Olson singled to start the
bottom of the frame. FS closer Brandon Burke came in and Beckham
hit his second pitch into the left field stands to pull Georgia
(45-23-1) to within one. It was his 27th homer this season, also
a school record.
“He’s a special player,” Perno said of Beckham.
“He commented, a couple guys were on him pretty good about ‘When
are you going to hit another home run?’ He said ‘When we need it
the most’ and we needed it tonight.
Rich Poythress drew a walk after Beckham’s home
run and scored on a one-out double by Matt Cerione to tie the
game at 6-6. Joey Lewis followed with a double off the second
base bag to give Georgia the lead at 7-6.
After surrendering four runs on Saturday to
Stanford, Georgia closer Joshua Fields came on and worked a
perfect ninth to record his 18th save.
“It was a great college baseball game,” Perno
said. “I think that’s what you expect in the National
Championship Series. Fortunately we have Gordon Beckham and Josh
Fields in our dugout. In big games, your great players step up
and they did a great job tonight.”
Georgia showed its aggressiveness early. In the
bottom of the first, Ryan Peisel hit the first pitch into left
and stretched a single into a double. Two outs later, Poythress
had a base hit to left to plate Peisel with the game’s first
Fresno State answered in the third as Jordan
Ribera hit the first pitch out to left for his fifth homer to
even the score at 1-1. Muno, the next batter, hit a one-hopper
off the right shin of pitcher Trevor Holder. He recovered to
throw out Muno at first and took a seven-minute pain delay
before retiring the final two batters to end the inning.
Georgia had a two-out rally in the fourth as
Bryce Massanari had a single, Cerione walked and Joey Lewis had
a base hit to right that brought in a sliding Massanari for a
Fresno State took its first lead in the fifth as
Ryan Overland drew a leadoff walk and Steve Detwiler crushed his
10th home run to left to put the Californians on top 3-2.
Georgia tied it in the bottom of the sixth on
Matt Cerione’s two-out RBI single.
Holder left after seven innings and allowed four
hits and three earned runs. He walked three and struck out four.
The tie was snapped in the top of the eighth.
Erik Wetzel led off with a walk and scored on a double by Steve
Susdorf. Alan Ahmady lined out to shortstop Gordon Beckham, who
tagged out Susdorf to complete the double play. After swinging
and missing badly on two pitches, Tommy Mendonca belted his
third home run of the CWS and his 18th on the season for a 5-3
advantage. Ryan Overland was hit by a pitch and Detwiler doubled
him home to give Fresno State a 6-3 lead.
“That was a good college baseball game,” said
Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole. “We gave a few at-bats
away, but give them credit. What a job they did with two
strikes. That’s usually our strength. We struck out one guy all
night. You go back and look at all their big hits and except for
Beckham’s home run, they were all with two strikes. Give them a
lot of credit for battling.”
Beckham, Cerione and Lewis each had two hits and
two RBI for Georgia. Poythress scored twice for the victors.
Detwiler had two hits and drove in three for