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Dawgs sitting pretty in Omaha. Georgia rallies past Stanford


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College World Series

Georgia rallies past Stanford

Dogs' Fields induces game-ending double play to get out of jam in 9th

By Stan Awtrey

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 06/16/08

Omaha, Neb. -- Georgia used its late-inning magic again Monday night, this time coming up with a pair of seventh-inning runs that lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-3 win over Stanford and to within one victory of the College World Series final.

Georgia trailed 3-0 after three innings, but pecked away for a run in the fourth and another in the sixth. Then, with two outs in the seventh, the Bulldogs began the sort of rally their fans have come to expect.

"I was a little concerned when we let the first- and third-inning scoring opportunities get away," Georgia coach David Perno said. "Fortunately, we hung in there and got the big hit when we needed it."

Against reliever Austin Yount, nephew of Hall of Famer Robin Yount, Gordon Beckham slapped a single to left, just beyond the reach of diving third baseman Zach Jones. Rich Poythress worked a walk and Bryce Massanari was hit in the back, one pitch after his long opposite-field blow barely missed the right-field foul pole for a home run.

With the bases loaded, Matt Cerione singled sharply to center field, which knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs. It was the second hit of the game for Cerione, who drove in three.

"I knew it was my turn," Cerione said. "I got a ball to hit and hit it up the middle. It's a great feeling."

Georgia reliever Alex McRee (7-1) struck out two of the four batters he faced and was credited with the win. Joshua Fields struggled with his control in the ninth inning but escaped by enticing pinch hitter Colin Walsh to ground into a game-ending double play to earn his 17th save.

"They silenced our bats," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "Their relievers really shut us down, and the closer is one of the best in the country."

Georgia (43-23-1) won't play again until Friday at 2 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's Stanford-Miami game. Miami (53-10) eliminated rival Florida State 7-5 in Monday's first game, although relief ace Carlos Gutierrez was roughed up for the second time in the CWS, allowing three runs and escaping from a bases-loaded jam to end the game.

Things went south for Georgia in the third inning, when Stanford (40-23-2) hit the ball hard against starter Nick Montgomery. Jones opened the inning with a triple to left that hit near the top of the fence and bounced toward the Georgia bullpen before Lyle Allen could run it down. Jones scored on Jake Schlander's infielder grounder.

With two outs, Joey August doubled to right field. Georgia opted not to intentionally walk Jason Castro, Stanford's most productive player ⬠which Perno later called a mistake ⬠and he belted a home run deep into the right-field stands. The homer, his 14th, gave the Cardinal a 3-0 lead.

Stephen Dodson relieved Montgomery in the fourth and pitched 32/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief to stop Stanford's momentum.

"That right-hander got a lot of outs with that slider," Marquess said. "He settled it down."

Georgia got its first run in the fourth inning when Cerione stroked a two-out double into the left-field corner, scoring Beckham.

The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth against starter Jeffrey Inman, who was yanked with one out and the bases loaded. Yount (6-4) then walked pinch hitter Robbie O'Bryan on four pitches to give Georgia its second run.

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