May 20, 2009


CBI Live
erione slams Bulldogs past Rebels in SEC tourney


By Jimmy Jones

Special to 


HOOVER, Ala. - Ole Miss celebrated winning the regular season SEC co-champion title during pre-game ceremonies only to have the sixth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs burst their bubble in a real big hurry on the strength of Matt Cerione's first career grand slam, a screaming line drive in the sixth inning that cleared the centerfield fence at the 405' mark to power a 6-3 win in the opening round of the conference tournament.
It started as a pitcher's duel as Bulldog starter Miles Starr and Ole Miss left-hander Drew Pomeranz (left) matched zeros for 4.2 innings.
The Rebels, ranked seventh in the nation by College Baseball Insider's composite poll, took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Kevin Mort led off with a single into right field and moved over to scoring position on a base hit by Evan Button and it stood up until Cerione's blast put Georgia (1-0 SEC tourney, 36-20) ahead for good in the sixth frame.
The Bulldogs, once ranked as high as number one in the country, came into the contest fresh off a sweep by South Carolina and losers of nine of their last 10 games, added to their lead in the seventh when Zach Cone singled off of the pitcher's glove and advanced to second on a wild throw that ended up down the right field line. He then advanced on a wild pitch and after Miles Starr was hit by a pitch, scored moments later on a double by Peter Verdin.
Cerione scored Starr with a deep fly ball to right to bump the score to 6-2.
The Rebels (0-1, 40-16) made some noise in the eighth on a leadoff hit by Logan Power followed by a base hit just over leaping Bulldog shortstop Levi Hyams to put runners at first and third. Kyle Henson hit the first pitch he saw for an RBI single to score Power to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 6-3. It would be the last threat they would be able to mount against Georgia pitching.
Justin Grimm (right) picked up the win, his third of the year, with 5.1 innings of solid work. He allowed eight hits and just one earned run while striking out three and walking two.
Pomeranz (6-4) was saddled with the loss. He threw 5.1 innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits. He walked three and registered six strikeouts.
Georgia advances to play Arkansas on Thursday at 5:00 central time.
Mississippi squares off with Florida on Thursday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 10.

(photos by Jimmy Jones)