The Bulldogs (15-9) built a 7-0 lead through the first three frames over the Paladins (9-14) and chased starter Matt Linker. He gave up five runs on five hits before leaving with one out in the third. Georgia’s Mickey Westphal, making his first start in two years, picked up the win to move to 1-0 on the year. Westphal, a junior who missed the 2004 season due to shoulder surgery, pitched 3.2 innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts as the Bulldogs planned to use at least three pitchers and ended up using five on the night.
Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Leadoff batter Josh Smith reached on an error by Furman second baseman Spence Gibbs. Smith advanced to second on a groundout by Justin Niefer setting up an RBI single up the middle by Joey Side.
In the third, Georgia stretched the lead to 7-0. Niefer singled and Side doubled placing runners at second and third. Josh Morris followed with a single to left scoring Niefer. Bobby Felmy would draw a walk to load the bases. Then, Jason Jacobs (2-3, 4 RBI) delivered a three-run double to right center and Jonathan Wyatt followed and switched places with Jacobs on a RBI double to right. Clay Whittemore reached and Wyatt scored on an error by Furman shortstop Joey Rodgers. The Bulldogs had a season-high seven doubles on the night.
Furman got on the board in the fourth. Matthew Betsill reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and then scored on a single up the middle by Sean McDonnough making the score 7-1. Georgia would answer with three runs in their half of the inning. Smith lead off and was hit by a pitch, and then Niefer singled to left. A fly to center by Side allowed Smith to tag and go to third. Smith came in to score on a wild pitch by Paladin reliever Ryan Hudson, and Niefer stole second. Next, Morris lined a double to right center bringing around another run. Felmy then legged out an infield single to second while Morris moved over to third. Jacobs came away with another double, this time down the left field line, scoring Morris.
In the sixth, Georgia reliever Wes Todd came on only to face two batters hitting one and walking the other. The Bulldogs turned to Jason Fellows. The runners would move up to second and third on a passed ball by catcher Joe Billick. Gibbs picked up an RBI on a groundout to first for the Paladins. Then, Paul Ortenzo singled in another run with a hit to center bringing the score to 10-3. After an error by shortstop Matthew Dunn and a walk issued by Fellows loaded the bases, Davidiuk singled through the right side scoring two more runs for Furman cutting the lead to 10-5.
The Bulldogs provided more offensive support in their half of the frame. Following a walk to Brandon Lowe, Felmy drilled a RBI double to left center. After a wild pitch allowed Felmy to move to third, Wyatt singled to right bringing a run across. Billick would then walk, and Wyatt reached third on a wild pitch. Dunn would drove in another run for Georgia with a single to right making the score 13-5.
In the seventh, Lowe hit a towering two-run homer to right putting the Bulldogs up 15-5. Lowe now has four career hits and three are home runs.
The Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference play Friday when it faces 14th-ranked South Carolina in Columbia. It will be the second straight week on the road in the SEC for the Bulldogs as they swept two from Kentucky in a rain-shortened series. First pitch Friday at Sarge Frye Field will be at 7 p.m., and the game will be televised by CSS. Also, the Saturday Georgia-USC game will be SEC “Game of the Week,” featured live on Fox Sports Net South at 4 p.m.