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Georgia Baseball falls to NC State with season on the line

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/10/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia Baseball saw its season come to an end Monday night at Foley Field as the Bulldogs fell 8-5 to NC State in Game Three of the Athens Super Regional. It was winner-take-all in the Classic City, and the Wolfpack will head to the College World Series. Meanwhile for UGA, it’s a tough defeat in the program’s biggest game in over 15 seasons.

After a pair of scoreless innings in the field, Tre Phelps got Georgia going at the plate with a two-run home run early in the second. The youngster, named a Freshman All-American earlier in the day by the National College Baseball Writers of America, didn’t quite clear the batter’s eye like he did yesterday but did get it over the wall in center field to give the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.

NC State responded quick though. In its very next plate appearance, Garrett Pennington got all of one with a runner aboard to tie things up.

Georgia starting pitcher Zach Harris avoided too much damage on the seven hits he allowed in the first three innings, but in the fourth, a leadoff double by Matt Heavner was enough to bring on the Bulldog bullpen.

Wes Johnson turned things back over to Saturday’s starter Kolten Smith, and by the time things were over in the inning, the Dawgs were down. A walk and a sacrifice bunt gave State runners at second and third with just one out. Then, the lead runner scored on a passed ball before Noah Soles crossed home on a just out of the reach of Charlie Condon at third base. That made it 4-2 Wolfpack.

Georgia threatened in the fifth, loaded the bases with one out after a Clayton Chadwick double, Kolby Branch single and a Corey Collins hit by pitch. However, after a pitching change from NC State starter Logan Whitaker to the Wolfpack’s top reliever Jacob Dudan, Condon and Slate Alford went down in order and UGA left without anything to show for. Then, State led off the sixth with a home run by Eli Serrano to make it 5-2.

UGA got one back in the bottom half of the inning. Phelps recorded his third hit in three plate appearances before reaching third on a single by Dillon Carter. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Fernando Gonzalez, but a solo home run by Eli Serrano quickly retook the momentum for NC State in the next inning.

Smith would be lifted for Brian Zeldin, another Georgia reliever that threw already in the series. He got two outs quickly and turned things back over to the Bulldog bats.

Once again, Georgia managed to plate one. The inning led off with a Collins walk and a Condon hit by pitch. That’s when NC State went to the bullpen for its closer, Derrick Smith. He allowed a deep fly out to center on the first pitch to Alford before Dylan Goldstein grounded out to score Collins. That was all though for the Dawgs.

The theme of Georgia scoring and State responding continued in the eighth. One out away from a 1-2-3 inning, NC State was able to extend its at bat long enough for Alec Makarewicz to make the Bulldogs pay. He hit a two-run home run to right center, the Wolfpack’s fourth of the game to make it 8-4.

Georgia would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, still trailing by four, but it was for nothing. Condon hit his 37th home run of the season in what ended up being very likely his last at bat of his Bulldog career, but Georgia couldn’t do any more damage. Phelps flew out to center fielder Serrano and NC State dog piled on Foley Field.

Georgia’s season comes to a close with the loss, totaling a record of 43-17. The Bulldogs advanced further than any UGA team since 2008 and won more games, both overall and in SEC play (17), than any squad under the direction of a first-year head coach. Over a dozen players are out of eligibility while others will await the results of the MLB Draft in July to determine whether they’ll return or not. Georgia has already hit the transfer portal hard, adding seven including several highly regarded for their respective positions.

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