Georgia beat Arkansas 8-7 in baseball

Georgia beat Arkansas 8-7 in baseball

FAYETTEVILLE - Freshman Gordon Beckham delivered on a ninth inning statement to coach David Perno by smashing a two-run home run to lift 25th-ranked Georgia to an 8-7 series-clinching win over 11th-ranked Arkansas Saturday in front of 6,812 fans at Baum Stadium.

Beckham, who was due up fourth in the final frame, told Perno in the dugout that if he got up to the plate in the inning, he was going to hit a home run. The inning began with Chris Rhoads fanning Ryan Peisel. Then, Matthew Dunn reached on an error by second baseman Logan Forsythe. After retiring Joey Side for the second out, Beckham stepped up and slammed a 1-1 offering over the 375 marker in left center for an 8-7 lead. It was the only hit that Rhoads allowed in four innings of relief to fall to 3-2.

The Bulldogs (17-4, 3-2 SEC) then looked to Rip Warren and Joshua Fields to close it out as the Razorbacks (19-5, 1-4) tried to answer again as the game saw four lead changes. First baseman Danny Hamblin, who had a grand slam earlier in the contest, led off the bottom of the ninth. On a 3-2 pitch, he popped up in foul territory and first baseman Josh Morris caught the ball as he fell in to the camera well for the first out. Designated hitter Stephen Robinson laced a double to center and Chris Hollensworth followed with a run-scoring single to make it 8-7. Then, the Bulldogs turned to Fields who saved Friday's contest by striking out five of the six hitters he faced including the last five. It was more of the same Saturday.

Pinch-hitter David Hum stepped in and Fields struck him out. Catcher Brian Walker was the last hope for the Razorbacks and Fields struck him out for his fifth save as Warren notched the win to improve to 3-0. With the win, the Bulldogs have won their first-ever series in Arkansas after coming to town just 2-10 all-time here.

"I've only had two players ever come up to me and call their shot, Gordon tonight and Clint Sammons in the 2004 NCAA Regional Championship against Clemson," said Perno. "Gordon's a very talented and confident player and that was a special moment for him. He told me if I get up this inning, I'm going to hit it out of here. There were a lot of big contributions from our team.

"I felt like this team was capable of doing some special things this year and this was a big win for them to battle like they did and clinch the series here in a tough environment," Perno added. "Arkansas had a big inning and grabbed the lead a couple of times but we had to make a run and we were able to do that. The team stayed focused throughout the game, leaned on each other and came out with another win."

Georgia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out, run-scoring double from Bobby Felmy. Arkansas answered with a pair of runs in their half of the frame on a play that began with a run-scoring single by designated hitter Wayne Hrozek. Joey Side was charged with two errors on the base hit that allowed another run home and Hrozek to advance to third.

Junior left fielder Jonathan Wyatt gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead with a two-run blast off Charley Boyce in the fourth. After Matt Robins reached on a walk, Wyatt smacked an 0-2 offering off the scoreboard for his third career home run. It was Wyatt's first home run of the year and first career blast in SEC play.

In the fifth, Arkansas first baseman Danny Hamblin made it 6-3 with a grand slam off senior Mickey Westphal to give him seven home runs and an SEC-leading 36 RBI. However, the Bulldogs came right back with three runs in the top of the sixth to tie the contest and chase Boyce. An error by shortstop Matt Willard and a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Peisel who worked his way back from being down 0-2 keyed the Bulldog rally. Boyce allowed six runs on six hits in five innings. Westphal gave the Bulldogs 5.2 innings and surrendered six runs on nine hits.

With the score tied 6-6 in the sixth, Arkansas loaded the bases with two outs off Adam McDaniel. However, he got Hamblin to pop up. In the seventh, Hrozek reached on a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With the infield in, McDaniel recovered to strike out Chris Hollensworth, then got Blake Parker to pop out to first and Brian Walker to ground out to keep it a tie game. Beckham's blast was his sixth of the year, tying him for the team lead with Josh Morris, and the freshman now leads the club in RBI with 21.

The series concludes Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET as the scheduled starters will be Bulldog freshman right-hander Trevor Holder (2-0, 3.00) versus Razorback senior left-hander Trey Holloway (2-0, 3.32).

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