by Knox Bardeenknox.firstname.lastname@example.orgHOOVER, Ala. The situation was simple, yet hard to swallow for the Georgia Bulldogs at the SEC Baseball Tournament Friday.
Win; or not only go home, but fail to qualify for the NCAA Baseball Tournament because of less-than-.500 overall record.
Because the Bulldogs had played the hardest schedule of any college baseball team in the country, according to RPI calculations, they had an overall record of 29-29 headed into Fridays game against the No. 2 team in the country, South Carolina.
A solid performance on the mound from Blake Dieterich led Georgia to a 4-2 win Friday and gave the team life, and another chance to win a much-needed game on Saturday. Dieterich started shakily, pitching out of bases-loaded jams in each of the first two innings, but calmed down and gave the Bulldogs 6 13 innings of six-hit, 2-run baseball.
I had a little command issue early, said Dieterich. What really helped me were those big double plays. I think Kyle (Farmer) had two and they got me out of a bunch of pitches and helped me settle in there late in the game.
Farmer not only helped Dieterich and the team with his glove, but his RBI single combined with Chase Davidsons RBI single in the first inning led Georgia to a three-run inning and gave the team a quick boost.
Its been a while since Blakes run out there, said Georgia head coach David Perno. He just didnt have any rhythm and looked rigid and was kind of aiming the ball. After that third inning he came through.
The Georgia coaching staff took Dieterich into the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse after the third inning and had him jog and sprint up and down the tunnel in hopes that it would calm the pitcher down and help him find some rhythm. Dieterich settled in from that point on and gave Georgia a much-needed quality start.
The Bulldogs still need one more win to be eligible to accept an at-large bid into the NCAA Baseball Tournament. On Saturday, Georgia gets that chance against Florida.
Perno said that he and his staff hadnt made a decision on a started, but he knew that Michael Palazzone would throw in middle relief if the pitcher responded well to pre-game warm-ups.