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Georgia bounces back, forces winner-take-all finale to Super Regional

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/09/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia Baseball wasn’t ready to be done for the year. Head coach Wes Johnson has talked all season about the fight of his squad, and that was apparent on Sunday as the Bulldogs slugged their way to an 11-2 victory over NC State.

After managing just four hits all game yesterday, Sunday got off to a much better start for the Bulldogs. Charlie Condon singled through the left side with a ball off his bat over 100 miles per hour and was brought around on a two-run blast by Slate Alford. That was all the damage Georgia was able to manage in the first, but heading to the field with a 2-0 lead certainly had to have the Dawgs feeling better about themselves than they were following a Saturday blowout.

Georgia escaped a jam in the second when NC State’s first two to the plate reached base. A fly ball to center field turned into a double play by Dillon Carter as he threw out Jacob Cozart trying to tag to third. Then, Georgia catcher Fernando Gonzalez caught Brandon Butterworth trying to steal second for the final out of the inning.

UGA’s offense got going again in the third with a leadoff single by Corey Collins and Alford’s second hit of the day. Then, with two outs, Tre Phelps sent one over the batter’s eye in center field to make it 5-0 Dawgs.

NC State was forced to go to the bullpen in the fourth, turning things over to Ryan Marohn, but the Bulldogs tacked on a few more. Kolby Branch doubled to left to bring home Carter around from second and sent Gonzalez to third. The two of them had reached earlier in the inning to lead things off.

The Wolfpack recorded its first out on a ground out by Collins, but the ball to the right side made it 7-0. After a pair of walks to Condon and Alford, Phelps brought home another when he was hit by a pitch in a 2-2 count.

Georgia added on to its lead with one in each the sixth, seventh and eighth innings thanks to a solo home run from Paul Toetz, an RBI knock from Gonzalez and another home run from Collins. That brought the UGA total to 11.

All the while Georgia’s offense was rolling, Leighton Finley was giving the Bulldogs quite the outing on the mound. NC State had runners reach in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth but came away with nothing to show for. The Wolfpack finally got on the board in the seventh before Finley was lifted after a career-high 6.2 innings and 104 pitches thrown. He struck out five, allowing only eight hits and just the one run.

Brian Zeldin came on in relief and allowed a solo home run to Jacob Cozart in the eighth, his third of the weekend after hitting two on Saturday. A clean ninth inning kept the score at 11-2 UGA for the final.

A winner-take-all game three is set up for tomorrow. Game time and TV network have yet to be announced. Georgia and NC State went to a third game back in the 2008 Athens Super Regional, the last time these two programs met, with the Bulldogs advancing to the College World Series. A nine-run first inning helped propel UGA to a 17-8 win – something it’ll be searching for once again, trying to make it to Omaha for the first time since that season.

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