May 29, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An eight-run first inning set the tone for the University of Georgia as the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs recorded a dominating 24-8 victory over No. 3 seeded Ohio State Friday in Game One of the 2009 NCAA Division I Tallahassee Baseball Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. Not even a five hour and 12 minute weather delay could put a damper on the Bulldogs’ afternoon – turned evening – as they tallied 23 hits with seven home runs, including two grand slams, in the win. With the victory, Georgia (38-22) advanced to Saturday’s 4 p.m. winner’s bracket game while the Buckeyes (40-18) fell to the loser’s bracket and will play in an elimination game Saturday at Noon.
Georgia juniors Rich Poythress, Joey Lewis and Matt Cerione had outstanding performances for the Bulldogs as the trio combined to drive in 16 runs on seven home runs, including two grand slams in the eighth inning. Poythress, the team’s offensive leader, had home runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings, including a grand slam and has a team-high 84 RBI and 24 home runs this season. Cerione had two blasts of his own, one in the first inning and a grand slam in the eighth, to move his season totals to 12 home runs and 43 RBI. With a home run in both the first and fourth innings, Lewis now has 18 home runs on the year and 56 RBI.
Georgia scored runs in all but three innings, including multiple runs in four innings. With eight runs in the first inning, the Bulldogs set their single season high, only to break that mark with 10 runs in the eighth. Their total runs, hits and home runs were also season-bests for the Bulldogs.
Also recording multiple hits for the Bulldogs were Colby May with three hits and leadoff hitter Zach Cone and Michael Demperio with two hits apiece. May also scored three runs for Georgia.
Down 8-0, the Buckeyes put two runs on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. Junior Zach Hurley reached base on a one-out single to right, junior Cory Kovanda drew a walk and Burkhart’s hit by pitch loaded the bases. With two out and three on, junior Ryan Dew’s double to right field scored Hurley and Kovanda. OSU scored six runs in the final three innings. Dew picked up his third RBI of the game in the seventh inning, driving in Michael Stephens, who had doubled down the left field line. In the Buckeyes’ three-run eighth inning, three of the first five batters drew walks. The walk to Kovanda scored one run while two others runners crossed the plate on a fielding error and a sacrifice fly. Dan Burkhart had three hits for the Buckeyes.
Georgia sophomore pitcher Justin Grimm improved to 4-4 with the win. He went five complete innings and struck out five but did not return after the weather delay. After four innings on the mound and allowing eight earned runs, sophomore Alex Wimmers recorded the loss for the Buckeyes, putting his record at 9-2 on the year.
Ohio State Head Coach Bob Todd
Opening Statement: “Well I don’t think you need to be a Phi Beta Kappa to figure out what happened. We’ve been beat before, I’ve been beat before in ball games, been beat before a large amount. It’s kind of like a NASCAR race, if your pit doesn’t put the lug nuts on, things fall off in a hurry and that’s exactly what happened and we just weren’t very competitive today, especially after the break. Really we weren’t going to use some pitching that was going to have to be very good until we got back in the game, but we never got back in the game. I think people who watch baseball realize that Ohio State wouldn’t be in this position if we played a lot of games this way. We certainly wouldn’t have Alex Wimmers in the position that he is nationally if he ever pitched that way. I’m not going to have to speak for Alex but this may have been his worst performance since he’s been at Ohio State.”
On if the length of the game will hurt Ohio State tomorrow: “Well you can say that you’re concerned, you can use that as an excuse maybe if things don’t go well tomorrow. If we win and come back and respond, you forget about it. But the two other teams that are playing tonight have suffered the same thing so really at noon you’re going to have two teams that have had the same problem, they have been at the ballpark all evening.”
Ohio State Pitcher Alex Wimmers
On if the error at the beginning of the game threw off his game: “No, not really, after the error, no matter what the circumstances are, I’m still going to have to go out there and battle no matter who is up there. But I just left a few pitches up, actually I left pitches up all day. I did not hit my spots, they just took advantage of it.”
Georgia Head Coach David Perno
Opening Statement: “I think it was three weeks of pent up frustration that came out, definitely (for) these three guys (Matt Cerione, Rich Poythress and Joey Lewis). We have had a tough time putting that type of baseball together offensively. We just figured some things out this week and put it to good use today. It was good to see. We are not going to get through this deal and not do the things we want to do if these guys don’t hit. I have been saying it for two weeks and you saw what they can do when they get it going.”
On the importance of getting out to a fast start: “It was good. You always want to get off to a good start. I thought that the double play in the first, we gave up two hits and a hit batter in the first and didn’t give up a run. And then we came in and answered with eight. You couldn’t ask for a better start than we got.”
Georgia First Baseman Rich Poythress
On whether or not he likes playing at Dick Howser Stadium: “Yeah, it’s a good ballpark to hit in, that’s for sure.”
On the importance of getting a big win to start the regional: “It’s huge for us. I have been saying all week that it’s a chance to start over. Everybody in the country is 0-0. We got off to a great start. Got a good double play in the first and then came back and scored some runs. Just to get the confidence going all together is a big deal. Some of these younger guys, this is their first postseason game. They got a win under their belt and got some at bats. Hopefully (we) can get the ball rolling and continue the success.”
– 2009 Tallahassee Regional –