March 18, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood worked into the ninth inning and allowed just two earned runs and right-hander Tyler Maloof came in to earn his seventh save of the year as the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina 4-2 in the SEC opener at Carolina Stadium in front of 8,069 fans. Georgia is now 9-9 and 1-0 in league play while the loss drops Carolina to 12-4 and 0-1 in SEC action.
Things did get interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning though as Carolina trailed by three runs but mounted a rally as Brady Thomas delivered with a solo home run to right field with one out off of Wood, his second homer of the year. After a walk to Robert Beary, the Gamecocks brought the tying run up to the plate. Enter Maloof, who was able to strike out Peter Mooney on a full count for the second out. That set the stage for Scott Wingo, who drove a deep fly ball to right-center that was almost a home run but caught by right fielder Peter Verdin up against the bullpen fence preserving the Georgia win.
Wood was effective throughout the game as he limited the Gamecocks to just two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He is now 2-2 on the year. Gamecock junior left-hander Michael Roth suffered the loss and is now 4-1 on the year. He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Georgia jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Levi Hyams singled with one out and scored on a RBI double to left-center by Zach Cone. They would add an unearned run as with two outs Kyle Farmer reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Peter Mooney that scored Cone from second base. They would increase the lead to 3-0 in the third inning as the first two batters reached base with singles and Chase Davidson scored on a double play induced by Roth.
Carolina got a run across in the bottom of the third inning. Wingo led off with a bunt base hit and Jackie Bradley Jr. walked with one out. With runners on the corners and two outs, Adrian Morales knocked a base hit to right field scoring Wingo and bringing the Gamecocks within two runs. Levi Hyams gave the Bulldogs some insurance in the top of the ninth inning with a RBI single. Peter Verdin led off with a base hit to left field and after a sacrifice bunt scored on Hyams’ RBI base hit to right field.
Hyams was 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored to lead Georgia at the plate on the evening. Verdin was also 2-for-4 with a run scored. Morales and Thomas each went 2-for-4 with a RBI to lead the Gamecocks.
Game two of the series is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday with live video broadcast and Gametracker stats available at GamecocksOnline.com. It’s also available on the Gamecock Radio Network with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody on the call.