WACO, TEXAS --- Sophomore left fielder Johnathan Taylor collected a career-high four RBI to lead 22nd-ranked Georgia to a 7-5 win against host Baylor in the season opener Friday.
After being retired in order through the first four frames, Georgia took a 4-0 lead in the fifth. Freshman designated hitter Zach Taylor reached on a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a bloop single to right by sophomore centerfielder Zach Cone. On a 1-2 count, junior first baseman Robbie O'Bryan put a bunt down that led to the first run thanks to a Baylor miscue. Pitcher Logan Verrett fielded it and threw to third to force out Taylor and then third baseman Raynor Campbell tried to complete a double play. However, Campbell's throw sailed high and in to the camera well, allowing Cone to score and O'Bryan to go to second. Catcher Christian Glisson followed with a base hit. Freshman shortstop Kyle Farmer made it 2-0 with an RBI-double. After retiring freshman Todd Hankins for the second out, Taylor came through with a two-run single for a 4-0 advantage.
Baylor (1-1) cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. Shortstop Landis Ware led off with a base hit and stole second base. Then with two outs and on an 0-2 count, freshman first baseman Max Muncy connected for his first career home to make it 4-2.
Georgia right-hander Justin Grimm pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and kept the Bears off the scoreboard in the fourth when it had a runner reach third with only one out. Grimm was lifted after throwing 85 pitches through five innings. He allowed a pair of runs on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts. The Bulldogs brought in freshman right-hander Cooper Moseley.
Moseley struck out Campbell before allowing back-to-back singles to Josh Ludy and Chris Slater. After retiring Ware, Georgia turned to senior left-hander Justin Earls to pitch to the left-handed hitting Logan Vick. The Bears left fielder drew a walk to load the bases for second baseman Joey Hainsfurther. On a 1-1 pitch, Hainsfurther tied the game with a two-run single. Earls came back to strike out Muncy to keep it 4-4.
In the seventh, Georgia reclaimed the lead. Glisson and Farmer had back-to-back singles and both moved into scoring position on a nice sacrifice bunt by Hankins. Johnathan Taylor followed with another two-run single, pushing the Bulldogs back ahead 6-4 and giving him a four-RBI night. Last season, Taylor collected 10 RBI in 123 at bats, finishing the year with a .309 batting average. Georgia pushed across its seventh run in the ninth. Hankins smacked a two-out double and scored on another error by Campbell.
Muncy made it a 7-5 contest when he led off the bottom of the ninth with his second home run, this one coming off senior left-hander Alex McRee who entered the game in the eighth. The Bears tried to rally but McRee, who walked three in the final inning, ended up striking out the side including Ware with the bases loaded to end the contest.
The Bulldog lineup was missing sophomore first baseman Chase Davidson. Projected to bat fourth in the order Friday, the 6-foot-5, 239-pound native of Alpharetta, is out with an injured right elbow. He is listed as day-to-day. Georgia had three true freshmen in the starting lineup (Farmer, Hankins and Zach Taylor) and a sophomore catcher (Glisson) making his first career start.
"It's tough on the road, and one thing we didn't do (Friday) was get ahead of hitters," Georgia coach David Perno said. "However, I'm proud of how we hung in there, played some good defense and had a big inning after that guy was dominating us early. We competed well and a couple of our senior pitchers who didn't sign came up big with Justin (Earls) getting the win and McRee the save."
The Bulldogs opened a season on the road for the first time since 2002. The Bulldogs are now 7-2 in season openers under Perno. A crowd of 2,670 at Baylor Ballpark watched the Bears go 1-1 on the day.
Georgia will face Duke (0-1) today at 6 p.m. Bulldog senior right-hander Jeff Walters will get the start.
MCGUIRE FANS 10, TECH ROMPS:
ATLANTA - The sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets get leadoff home runs from senior Tony Plagman and junior Jeff Rowland, combined with a five-hit performance by pitcher Deck McGuire en route to a 4-0 win over Missouri State in the season opener Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
"It was a clean game, both starters really pitched well," head coach Danny Hall said. "We had to battle hard on (Aaron) Meade. Jeff Rowland starting the game with a homerun was big for us, gave us at least a little cushion, and then Tony (Plagman) had a big hit there late and gave us even more cushion. All told, it was a great start."
McGuire (1-0) was outstanding on the day, fanning 10 batters in seven innings of work, allowing just five hits and issuing no walks. It was his second-straight season opener recording double digit strikeouts, as posted a career high 13 just on year ago against Lipscomb.
Tech got on board on the very first at bat of the season, as Rowland sent a pitch from Missouri State lefty Aaron Meade over the wall in right center for a 1-0 lead. The home run for Rowland was the 13th of his career, and marked to straight year he hit one out of the park in the season opener.
Both McGuire and Meade were locked in a pitchers duel for the next five innings, before the Jackets broke through with another home run to start the bottom of the sixth by Plagman. Plagman's 35th career homer put Tech up 2-0.
Sophomore Matt Skole doubled to centerfield on the next at bat before Meade (0-1) was pulled, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings pitched.
Plagman made it 3-0 in the next inning with a two-out RBI double down the right field line that scored Rowland from third. The senior from Alpharetta ended the day going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, and extended his current hit streak to five games.
The Jackets tacked on the final run in the bottom of the eighth when sophomore Jacob Esch, who made his first career start at second base Friday, brought home junior Derek Dietrich from third with a single right to make it 4-0. The hit and RBI for Esch were the first of his career.
Senior Andrew Robinson allowed just one hit in one inning of relief in the eighth, before junior Kevin Jacob struck down the side in the ninth to close out the game.
The series continues today as junior Brandon Cumpton will square off on the mound against Missouri State senior Pat Doyle at 2 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.
SEMINOLES CONTINUE OPENING-DAY STREAK:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fifth-ranked Florida State (1-0) started the 2010 season on the right foot thanks to an 11-3 victory against Georgia State (0-1) Friday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles fought back from an early two-run deficit, rattling off nine unanswered runs en route to their 12th victory in a row on opening day.
Senior Stephen Cardullo picked up where he left off following his junior All-American season by going 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored, two walks and four RBI. Mike McGee also turned in a fine performance collecting a pair of hits including his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth. The junior left fielder finished the game with two runs and three RBI.
"I really think it was a typical opening day," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "I was very pleased with our guys offensively. I thought we had some timely hitting, some big hits from Mike McGee and Stephen Cardullo. But you look at how things started and of course it seems to have started with Tyler Holt."
Sophomore Sean Gilmartin (1-0) settled down after a shaky first two innings to earn the win in his first start on opening day. Gilmartin worked seven innings allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits as he struck out seven. The southpaw got stronger as the night went on as six of his seven strikeouts came from the fourth inning on while retiring 16 of the last 19 batters that he faced.
"I don't know if I've ever seen Sean Gilmartin the least bit un-nerved, but I thought the first couple of innings he was not the Sean Gilmartin that I knew," Martin said. "The third inning came around, and it was Sean Gilmartin. I was very pleased with his outing. It was great to get seven innings from a guy on opening day."
Gilmartin would agree.
"After the first couple of innings, I started settling down a little bit," he said. "I was just trying to get those jitters out of the way. I really wasn't making the pitches I wanted to make, so I was more upset at myself. After the third and fourth inning, I really started to settle down and make my pitches. But also knowing that our guys are going to come out here and score some runs is a big help."
Tyler Everett was fantastic out of the bullpen pitching the final two innings to preserve the win. The junior right hander finished the game tying a career-high with five strikeouts. Everett struck out the side in the eighth and got the final two Panther hitters out on called third strikes to close out the game.
The win kept the Seminoles undefeated against the Panthers at home as the Garnet and Gold moved to 18-0 all-time inside Dick Howser Stadium. The victory also marked the 12th win in a row for the Seminoles in the series as it was the first time these two teams met since 1993. With 11 runs on Friday night, Florida State has now scored double-digit runs in the series in 20 of the 28 previous meetings including a current streak of six in a row.
Georgia State grabbed the early led on Friday scoring twice in the top of the second. Carter Sackett got things started drawing a leadoff walk from Gilmartin and moved to third following a single to right by Rob Lind. Sackett gave the Panthers the early lead one batter later crossing home plate on a fielder's choice put out at second off the bat of third baseman Brandon Williams. After a double off the fence in right center by Jonathan Kolowich put runners on second and third with only one out, GSU shortstop Justin Malone sent a sac-fly to center scoring Williams to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as the Seminoles struck for four runs in the third to take the lead for good. After back-to-back walks by Holt and James Ramsey to start the bottom half of the inning, Cardullo brought them both home drilling a double off the fence in right center to tie the game at 2-2. GSU starter David Buchanan (0-1) then issued his third walk of the inning to Mike McGee before giving up an RBI single to Stuart Tapley which gave the Noles a 3-2 advantage. Buchanan was lifted after the base hit by Tapley leaving the game after just two plus innings of work in his Georgia State debut. harley Olson came in and gave up an RBI groundout to Sherman Johnson to close out the scoring for the Seminoles in the third.
"I thought (David) Buchanan threw the ball very well," added Martin. "I was very impressed with him. He is going to be a very difficult pitcher as the season goes on."
FSU would come right back in the fourth with three more runs all on two outs to take a commanding 7-2 lead. Holt drew a one out walk and took second on his first stolen base of the season and 50th of his career. He moved to third on a groundout to first by Ramsey and scored a batter later on Cardullo's infield single to third. McGee would clear the bases with one swing of the bat lacing a line drive over the right field fence on a 0-1 offering from Olson for his first home run of the season.
The Seminoles increased their lead to 9-2 in the sixth as the top of the order once again did a great job of getting on base. Holt led off the inning with a triple to right center and after Ramsey drew his third walk of the game, Cardullo picked up RBI number four of the evening driving in Holt on a sacrifice fly to left. After a balk and a stolen base put Ramsey at third, McGee would find the hole through the left side of the infield driving in Ramsey.
The Panthers cut into the lead in seventh as Williams drilled a double off the base of the wall in left and scored as Cardullo's relay throw from Taiwan Easterling in left sailed passed Justin Gonzalez at second and into the first base dugout. The run would not faze Gilmartin as he sandwiched a walk between a fly out and a groundout to conclude a very successful 2010 debut.
FSU added two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh as Ramsey dropped in a two-out, two-run double down the left field line scoring Rafael Lopez and Holt for the 10th and 11th runs of the game.
Holt finished the evening tying a career-high with four runs, while Ramsey tied a career-high drawing three walks. Freshmen Jayce Boyd and Justin Gonzalez registered their first collegiate hit on Friday. Boyd singled up the middle in the bottom of the second in his first at-bat, while Gonzalez led off the bottom of the eighth with single to left. Parker Brunelle also picked up a single to left in the eighth.
"It is," said Martin on a pair of Seminoles recording their first collegiate hit. "For Gonzalez, I was very pleased for him getting his first hit. And of course, Jayce got a base hit on his first AB."
The Seminoles return to the diamond today at 2 p.m. for the middle game of a three-game set against Georgia State on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The game will air live over the web on Seminoles.com All-Access Junior right hander Geoff Parker will take the mound for the Seminoles, while the Panthers will send out left hander Aidan Francis.