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SATURDAY'S COLLEGE BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Ex-Sherwood ace Townsend debuts for Alabama; FSU, Ga. Tech win; UGA falls

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Former Sherwood Christian star pitcher Jason Townsend, who spent the last two years at Chipola Junior College before transferring to Alabama, made his debut with the Crimson Tide on Saturday in a 12-4 win against South Alabama in their season opener.

Townsend struggled slightly when he came on in relief of winning pitcher Adam Morgan, pitching two innings. Townsend faced eight batters, gave up two hits, one run and walked a batter, but he did strike out three Jaguar hitters.

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Duke Defeats #22 Georgia, 9-5, despite cycle by UGA's Cone

WACO, TEXAS --- Duke shortstop Jake Lemmerman went 2-for-4 including a home run to lead the Blue Devils to a 9-5 win over Georgia Saturday at the Baylor Ballpark.

Georgia sophomore centerfielder Zach Cone (4-for-5) became the first Bulldog in six seasons to hit for the cycle. He is the first Bulldog to do it since Josh Smith against UNC-Wilmington on March 14, 2004. Also, Cone became only the second player to do it in the 10-year history of the Baylor Ballpark. Cone homered in the second, tripled in the third, singled in the fifth, popped out in the seventh and doubled in the ninth. He finished with two putouts and one assist.

The Blue Devils (1-2) jumped ahead 3-0 in the top of the first off Bulldog starter Jeff Walters. Eric Brady led off the game by reaching on an infield pop up between home plate and the mound. Mike Carroll drew a walk and then Jake Lemmerman stuck out. However, the next three Blue Devils registered singles with Will Piwnica-Worms driving in one and Dennis O'Grady bringing home a pair for a 3-0 lead. The Bulldogs put an end to the outburst when catcher Gabriel Saade bounced into a double play.

Georgia (1-1) used the long ball to trim the deficit to one, getting solo home runs from Cone in the second and sophomore right fielder Peter Verdin in the third. Walters settled in after the double play, retiring the next nine Blue Devils in a row to keep it 3-2 going to the bottom of the fourth when the Bulldogs tied the contest.

With two outs, freshman second baseman Todd Hankins reached on an error by Brady trying to field a bunt. Hankins stole second and scored on an infield hit by sophomore left fielder Jonathan Taylor.

Georgia took a 4-3 lead with another two-out rally in the fifth. Cone kept the inning going with a single for his third hit of the afternoon. Redshirt freshman designated hitter Kevin Ruiz executed a hit and run for his first career hit and sent Cone to third. Then, freshman catcher Brett DeLoach notched his first career hit, an infield single, scoring Cone to give the Bulldogs their first lead at 4-3.

Walters struck out a career-high seven before leaving with two outs in the sixth. He allowed three runs on six hits with one walk. Junior right-hander Ben Cornwell came on to record the final out in the sixth. Duke reclaimed the lead in the seventh, pushing across a pair of runs on four hits off of Cornwell for a 5-4 advantage. Brady's run-scoring single tied the game and Lemmerman's base hit provided the go-ahead RBI. Georgia lifted Cornwell in favor of sophomore Evan Tieles who made his Bulldog debut. After a walk to Jeremy Gould to load the bases, he got the next two Blue Devils to pop out to keep it a one-run affair.

In the top of the eighth, Duke chased Tieles after putting runners at the corners with nobody out. The Bulldogs turned to freshman right-hander Malcolm Clapsaddle. Two wild pitches followed by a sacrifice fly by Brady extended Duke's lead to 7-4. The Bulldogs got a run back in the eighth. Hankins reached on a one-out single and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Marcus Stroman. Taylor's single to deep short allowed Hankins to score, giving him six RBI on the weekend. Duke got the run back and one more in the top of the ninth courtesy of a solo home run by Lemmerman and a sacrifice fly by Saade for a 9-5 advantage.Cone ended the top of the ninth with a spectacular running catch and then threw to first for a double play. Then, he completed the cycle in the bottom of the frame with a double to cap a 4-for-5 night.

"It was a little reversal of last night as we got a lot of one-run innings and didn't get the tough outs in the late innings," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We gave up two-spots in those last three innings and that hurt us. We're looking for some guys to step up in the bullpen; we haven't defined everybody's role there yet. I was proud of how Jeff (Walters) responded after the first inning.

Perno said he was excited to see Cone have a very productive day.

"You see a guy perform like that and you hate that we didn't win the game," said Perno. "Zach is playing extremely well both at the plate and defensively."

Duke reliever Will Currier picked up the win, Stroman tossed three innings for the save while Cornwell got the loss.

Georgia will play a doubleheader today. The Bulldogs will face Duke at 11 a.m. and then Baylor 30 minutes after the conclusion of that game. The Bulldogs plan to start sophomore right-hander Michael Palazzone (3-0, 5.13 ERA in 2009) and then sophomore left-hander Chase Hawkins (3-2, 4.76 ERA in 2009). Duke has not announced its probable starting pitcher while the Bears will go with senior right-hander Willie Kempf (5-5, 5.22 ERA in 2009).

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FSU DOWNS GA. STATE -- AGAIN:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fifth-ranked Florida State (2-0) broke a 6-6 tie with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to cruise to a 14-7 victory over Georgia State (0-2) Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. All nine starters registered a hit for the Seminoles in front of a packed crowd of 5,392 as FSU improved to 27-2 all-time against the Panthers including a perfect 19-0 record on their home turf.

Freshman Jayce Boyd led the Seminole offensive attack on Saturday with three hits, while Tyler Holt, Sherman Johnson and Taiwan Easterling each contributed with two hits a piece. Stephen Cardullo and Ohmed Danesh went yard for the first time in 2010 as the Seminoles pushed their win streak to 13 in a row over the Panthers.

Both Cardullo and Mike McGee drove in multiple runs of the second game in a row, while James Ramsey drew three walks from the number two spot in the line-up for the second straight day to tie a career-high.

"So far things are going well," said Cardullo. "Two games, two wins, so hopefully we can keep this win streak going. I definitely have a game plan, but I have to credit Coach Martin, Jr., he does a great job with the hitters."

"It is the same approach I am working on with Coach Martin, Jr., every day in practice," said Ramsey on drawing six walks in the first two games. "I'm just trying to see the ball down and get a good pitch to hit."

For the second day in a row, Georgia State grabbed the early lead plating a run in the top of the first off FSU starter Geoff Parker. Mark Micowski led off the game with a double to right center and scored two batters later on an RBI single to left by Rob Lind. The Panthers would run themselves out of the inning when Parker picked off Lind at first before getting Bradley Logan looking on a called third strike for out number three.

The lead was short lived as the Seminoles answered with three runs in the bottom of the first off GSU starter Aidan Francis (0-1) to take a 3-1 lead. The first three Seminole batters reached as Holt, Ramsey and Cardullo recorded a single, walk and hit by pitch, respectively before all three runners advanced with Holt scoring on a Francis wild pitch. McGee would give the Seminoles their first lead of the afternoon as he drove in Ramsey on a sac-fly to left. Cardullo would plate the third FSU run of the inning scoring from third on a two-out RBI single through the left side by Boyd.

After giving up a leadoff single to start the second, Parker looked to settled down as he sandwiched a strikeout between two groundouts to maintain FSU's two-run cushion.

Cardullo added to the Seminole lead in the bottom of the second with his first home run of the season. The senior shortstop took a 1-0 offering from Francis and belted it out of the park to left for a three-run shot and a 6-1 FSU advantage. Easterling and Rafael Lopez scored on the play after starting the inning with back-to-back singles.

Parker looked good in the third but run into some problems in the fourth as the first four batters reached before Martin went to the bullpen bringing in sophomore left hander Brian Busch with a run in and the bases loaded with nobody out. Following FSU's pitching change, the Panthers countered with pinch hitter Brandon Williams who delivered with a two-run single to right to cut FSU's lead to 6-4. Georgia State would bring home two more runs in the fourth to even the game at 6-6. The Panthers threatened to retake the lead with runners on at second and third with two outs but an outstanding running catch by Ramsey off the bat of Logan out in right kept the game deadlocked at six.

"The play that Ramsey out in right field was big," said head coach Mike Martin. "What you have to do is credit Georgia State. There they are in the fourth inning down by five runs and turn around and score five and tie it up. They put us in a situation that really made us look out. Fortunately, we had some good things happen that allowed us to put some runs on the board in the bottom half of that inning."

"That catch was big for me," added Ramsey. "This is the first year that I have really been out there, trying to be an every day player for this program. I think its fun to do things with your bat but when you can make a defensive play you are really helping all eight guys on the field."

Parker's 2010 debut did not go according to plan as the junior right hander went three plus innings allowing five runs on five hits as he struck out three.

Florida State once again answered the call and took the lead for good in the fourth breaking the tie with four runs to grab a 10-6. Holt was the catalyst yet again as he started the inning with a single to left and advanced to second on a fielding error by Panther left fielder Brett Maxwell. He would come around to score on a single back up the middle off the bat of Ramsey. After a balk moved Ramsey to second and Cardullo reached on his second hit by pitch of the game, McGee laced a single back up the middle to plate Ramsey. On the play, GSU center fielder Mark Micowski allowed the ball to roll under his glove and all the way to the wall as Cardullo and McGee scored. With the base hit, McGee extended his hitting streak to a career best 11 games.

"There is no question that the ball that got by the center fielder was big for us," Martin admitted. "It was one of those things that was part of the game, but that was a big play. It's like Michael hit the ball out of the ball park. Three runs scored and it turned out to be big."

Following a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Busch escaped trouble in the sixth after GSU put runners on first and second with only one out. The sophomore southpaw got pinch hitter Joey Wood swinging on strikes and Lind to fly out to right to maintain FSU's four-run lead.

Busch (1-0) picked up the win in relief after going three innings and allowing one run on three hits as he walked two and struck out three.

"I thought Brian Busch came in and gave us a big lift," Martin said. "Geoff pitched well the first couple of innings, but just struggled a bit with his control. That is to be expected. It's early."

Danesh left the park in the sixth for his first hit of the season, a two-run shot over the fence in right. After GSU went to the bullpen on a 2-1 count to the senior from Orlando, Fla., Danesh greeted Jeremy Gazerro rudely taking the first pitch he saw out of the park to give FSU a 12-6 lead. Boyd scored on the play after recording a one out single to left.

The Seminoles would pick up two more runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Johnson and a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of Parker Brunelle. Stuart Tapley singled and scored in the inning, while Boyd doubled and scored his second run of the afternoon.

Daniel Bennett made his Seminole debut and worked a scoreless seventh. The junior right hander gave up a hit and a walk and struck out one as he faced five batters.

Hunter Scantling worked the eighth and gave up run on two hits as he struck out one.

In his first collegiate appearance, freshman Scott Sitz pitched a scoreless ninth and closed out the game getting Panther pitch hitter Aaron Schmitz looking on strikes.

The Seminoles return to the diamond today at 1 p.m. for the final 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, while fans can listen in locally on 100.7 FM and on the web on Seminoles.com. Junior left hander John Gast will take the mound for the Seminoles on Sunday in the series finale, while the Panthers will send out right Ryan Moore.