March 9, 2014
Athens, Ga. - The Georgia Bulldogs pushed across five runs in the home half of the fourth inning as they handed Western Carolina a 6-2 loss on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the Bulldog Invitational at Foley Field.
Georgia (10-6) extended its winning streak to eight games while WCU suffered its third-straight defeat on the heels of a seven-game win streak which included upsetting No. 15 Clemson last Tuesday.
Seven different Catamounts combined to record eight hits in the game led by junior Jacob Hoyle who was 2-for-4 with his second home run of the season on a solo blast to center field in the sixth inning. J.D. Long went 1-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch hitter, Dale Urquhart, Jr., who singled in his lone at bat.
Senior Jordan Smith (1-2) took the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in 6.1 innings in the start. He walked four with just one strikeout. Reliever Bryce Danielson retired the one batter he was charged with getting while Colton Davis tossed an inning and a third of one-hit, scoreless relief out of the bullpen.
Western Carolina (8-5) took its lone lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning only to see back-to-back extra base hits by Georgia ignite the five-run bottom of the frame. Aaron Attaway led off with a bunt single with a ground out to the right side advancing him to second base. Attaway swiped his team-leading fifth base of the season as the stole third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Adam Martin, who returned to the lineup after missing Saturday due to concussion-like symptoms from a HBP to the helmet on Friday.
However, Georgia's Nelson Ward doubled to open the bottom of the fourth ahead of Connor Welton who belted a two-run home run to right field for the Bulldog advantage, 2-1. The home squad capitalized on two walks and an error, scoring three more runs in the frame on a Zack Bowers double, an infield ground out and sacrifice fly by Heath Holder.
The Bulldogs tacked on an insurance run in the fifth as Ward again doubled to center before being driven home on a RBI double by Hunter Cole to make it 6-1 through five complete.
Ward finished 3-for-3 with three doubles and two runs scored with Welton finishing with a team-high two RBI.
Hoyle belted a solo home run in the top of the sixth to pull the Catamounts back to within four at 6-2, but it was as close as WCU would get. The Purple & Gold threatened in the seventh inning as Danny Bermudez reached on an error before a pinch hit single by Dale Urquhart Jr., put two aboard. Cody Jones laid down a bunt single to load the bases, but the Catamounts weren't able to score. WCU again put two on with one out in the eighth, but were unable to move runners past second base.
Georgia starter Patrick Boling (2-1) tossed a career-long 7.1 innings to earn the victory, scattering eight base hits and limited the potent Catamount offense to two earned runs. Relievers Dylan Cole (0.2 IP) and Robert Tyler (1.0 IP) pitched in the final two innings for the Bulldogs.
Western Carolina returns to action with a pair of mid-week games back in Georgia. The Catamounts travel to Georgia Tech (8-7) on Tuesday before facing Kennesaw State (10-8) on the road on Wednesday.