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    Georgia Ends Pack's Season with 17-8 Game 3 Victory
     
     

    BY TIM PEELER

     

    ATHENS, Ga. NC State’s bid to earn the second College World Series berth in school history ended early Sunday afternoon, as nine of Georgia’s first 10 batters scored in the bottom of the first inning of a 17-8 victory in Game 3 of the NCAA Athens Super Regional.

     

    The Bulldogs sent 14 hitters to the plate against three NC State pitchers in their opening at-bat in front of a sell-out crowd of 3,512 spectators. Georgia didn’t need any insurance, but added six more runs later in the game on five home runs. Two of those were by All-America shortstop Gordon Beckham, who tied Georgia’s career home run record with 51. Reserve Joey Lewis, third baseman Ryan Peisel and catcher Bryce Massanari hit one each.

     

    It was the most runs given up by the Wolfpack all season.

     

    “We certainly aren’t going to let one game that was completely out of character for us change the way we feel about our season,” said Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent. “We had a great season.

     

    “This team played with tremendous character and tenacity all year long. They united a bunch of Wolfpack fans who are awfully proud of them and wanted to see them go all the way, but we fell a little short.”

     

    The Wolfpack (42-22) ends its season with at least 40 wins for the 13th time in school history and the third time in the last four years.

     

    The victory sends the Bulldogs to the CWS for the sixth time in school history. Georgia will face the winner of NCAA Coral Gables Super Regional between Miami and Arizona in next week’s opening round in Omaha, Neb.

     

    NCAA Athens (Ga.) Super Regional

    Friday



    Game 1: Georgia 11, NC State 4

    Final


    Saturday



    Game 2: NC State 10, Georgia 6

    Final


    Sunday



    Game 3: Georgia 17, NC State 8

    Final

    Like the Wolfpack the day before, the Bulldogs didn’t over-power NC State starter Eric Surkamp, they simply tagged him with seven solid singles and a patient eye. Surkamp, who did not record an out in facing five batters, never had control of his pitches, giving up a lead-off single to Peisel, hitting Matt Olson and issuing back-to-back walks to Beckham and Rich Poythress, to score the first run of the game.

     

    Massanari followed with a two-run single to give the Bulldogs a 3-0. After Surkamp threw a high ball to Matt Cerione, associate head coach Tom Holliday called for sophomore Sam Brown out of the bullpen.

     

    “Eric is a sixth-round draft pick,” Avent said. “He’s been out there in a lot of big games for us. Today just wasn’t his day. He couldn’t find the strike zone and if you can’t do that then a good-hitting team can be very patient and punish you on pitches that do get into the zone.”

     

    The bottom half of the Bulldog lineup didn’t hit Brown hard, but Lyle Allen added another two-run single to left field, pushing the first-inning score to 6-0. As the top of the lineup came around for a second time, the Bulldogs loaded the bases again and got a sacrifice fly and back-to-back run-scoring singles by Beckham and Poythress, for a 9-0 lead.

     

    Joey Cutler relieved Brown after eight hitters and recorded the inning’s final out by forcing Massanari to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

     

    It was not only the biggest first inning by an opponent all season, it was also the biggest single inning by an opponent all year. Maryland scored six runs in the fourth inning against the Pack on May 11. Surkamp (5-3) took the loss, while Georgia starter Nick Montgomery (4-2) pitched six strong innings for the victory.

     

    The Bulldogs (41-23-1) got all of their extra-base hits after the big first inning didn’t get their first extra-base hit Matt Cerione’s double in the fourth. But all other Bulldog runs were scored via the long ball. Georgia hit three home runs in the bottom of the seventh before the Wolfpack recorded an out.

     

    The Wolfpack scored three of its runs in the top of the sixth, as sophomore second baseman Dallas Poulk hit a solo home run and junior left fielder Jeremy Synan hit a two-run home run. Poulk’s shot, his eighth of the season, hit mid-way up the right-field scoreboard and Synan’s homer, also his eighth, went far beyond the 365-foot right-field wall.

     

    State added three more in the top of the eighth, Synan got his third extra-base hit of the day, a double that scored Poulk. First baseman Pat Ferguson added a two-run double.

     

    The Wolfpack scored its final two runs in the top of the ninth against Georgia closer Joshua Fields, a first-round pick in Thursday's Major League Draft of First-Year Players, thanks to a single by Poulk and walks by designated hitter Ryan Pond and Synan. Senior outfielder Matt Payne drove in two runs with a single to right field to round out the Wolfpack scoring.

     

    “We were one game away,” Avent said. “We really wanted to take this ball club and this ball club wanted to get there for each other. This is why losing this game, regardless of the score, is so tough and so disappointing.

     

    “Yet we are so proud of our players. They never quit. They played hard. It’s a shame we are not going to get to go to Omaha.”

      

    NOTES: The previous high this season for runs scored by an opponent was in a 12-5 loss to Miami on March 14 in Coral Gables, Fla. ... It was just the second loss in 14 Sunday games this season for the Pack. The previous Sunday loss was at Clemson on March 23. ... The Wolfpack had 66 home runs on the year, the most since the 2003 team hit 76.

     

    You may contact Tim Peeler at tim_peeler@ncsu.edu.

     


     

     

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