The Diamond Dawgs swept Clemson clean this week in a dramatic home and home series. Tuesday's 6-5 win at Foley Field was highlighted by a fantastic, three-run-saving catch by freshman outfielder Zach Cone (pictured to the left - Image georgiadogs.com). Before the catch, Clemson looked primed to match the Dawgs hit for hit and run for run, but the momentum of the game completely changed at that point. Georgia scored four runs in the bottom of the inning and got just enough relief work to hold on for the win. Michael Palazzone looked great pitching the seventh and eighth inning. Jason Leaver, who started for UGA, got the win.
Wednesday night looked mighty grim for Georgia with only three outs to go. Clemson held a 2 to 1 edge and Georgia hitters could not figure out Justin Sarratt, Clemson's adept starter. Sarratt sat down 17 UGA batters in a row at one point before Colby May hit one out in the eighth. Georgia's pitching staff was solid too. Hawkins, Earls, Tanner and Walters had given up only a single earned run.
The bottom of the ninth was a different story, though. Cerione led off the inning with a base hit. Jonathan Taylor coaxed a walk from Clemson reliever Matt Vaughn which brought up Rich Poythress, the reigning SEC Player of the Week. Poythress delivered a seeing eye single that was botched by Clemson's right fielder. Taylor's speed scored him from first and Will Harvil slammed the door shut in the bottom of the frame. Dawgs won, 4-2.
So now we have the first mammoth series of the year at Foley. The LSU Tigers bring their big bats, their anemic ERAs, and their top 5 ranking to face off in a sold-out Foley Field. This series should feature some great pitching. LSU senior Louis Coleman has been superb this season and will likely face Alex McRee Saturday. Coleman, like Trevor Holder, decided to turn down pro ball for his senior year. He's given up only five earned in three SEC starts. Sunday starter Austin Ross has been almost as stingy as Coleman, giving up only seven runs in his three conference starts.
LSU had a much-hyped offense coming into the year, but their pitching has carried them so far. As I said earlier in the week, our lefties have to hit. All of LSU's starters are right handers. Cerione, Davidson, and Allen need to get hits and drive in runs. Our pitching can keep us in games, but LSU will score runs. Those three lefties will have a lot to say about this series.
I expect a rowdy crowd. LSU fans, who fire up the RVs for baseball too, will no doubt be there, in their usual glory. Get out there and be loud, even if it's just from the stands. Perno said that he hadn't seen anything like the crowds for Mississippi State earlier this year. I expect this weekend's attendance marks to equal or exceed that record series. Go Dawgs!