ATHENS, Ga. – Three big-run innings allowed Georgia to score 11 consecutive runs Friday afternoon and take the first game of the NCAA Athens (Ga.) Super Regional, 11-4, at the Bulldogs’ Foley Field.
The Wolfpack (41-20) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the game with a pair of home runs in the top of the third inning, quickly quieting a mostly partisan crowd of 3,517. Drew Martin led off the inning with a solo shot. Two batters later, senior Ryan Pond roped a line drive over the left-centerfield wall.
The Bulldogs (40-22-1) answered in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally against Wolfpack starter Clayton Shunick (7-6). Designated hitter Robbie O’Bryan walked, moved to second on a Shunick wild pitch and scored on back-to-back singles by Lyle Allen and Matt Olson.
Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham, the No. 8 overall pick of Thursday’s Major League Draft of First-Year Players, doubled home two runs with a shot to center field and first baseman Rich Poythress followed with a run-scoring single to left, giving the Bulldogs a 4-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs scored five more runs thanks to a walk, a single, a pair of doubles and a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Joey Lewis off reliever Andrew Taylor. Lewis, the first batter Taylor faced, quickly ended the Wolfpack relief corps’ string of 11 consecutive shutout innings.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, on a two-run double by pinch-hitter Miles Starr.
It was the first time all season that Shunick, a fifth-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in Thursday's draft, allowed more than four runs in a game. He allowed eight hits and eight earned runs in his worst outing of the season.
Georgia starter Trevor Holder (8-4) pitched 8- 2/3 innings to get the victory, allowing just four hits over the final six innings and getting three double plays from his defense to prevent big innings by the Wolfpack. Holder walked catcher Nick Stanley and hit shortstop Tommy Foshi with a pitch.
Lefty Justin Earls relieved Holder and gave up two unearned runs on a throwing error by Beckham. But Pond flied out to right field to end the game.