Frigid air seems to agree with Georgia’s bats this weekend.
Georgia connected for its second consecutive solid offensive outing in the cold air of Foley Field as the Bulldogs beat Alabama-Birmingham 6-2 on Saturday.
“This is huge,” Georgia catcher-designated hitter Brett DeLoach said. “They say whatever happens in February doesn’t matter come May and June. But in March, we’ve really set our sights on where we really want to get it going. That was last night (Friday) and now we want to try to keep it rolling.”
With temperatures lingering in the 40s and a stiff wind blowing to the outfield, Georgia connected for seven hits and six runs with DeLoach supplying the big blast with a three-run double in the fifth.
On Friday with temperatures also in the 40s with a strong wind, Georgia set season highs with 14 runs and 21 hits to beat UAB 14-2.
“We’re getting much better at-bats than the previous two weeks,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “Our pitching is starting to settle in. We’ve changed some things trying to take a few more pitches and let the game come to us a little more. We’re creating some more opportunities and it showed up. We needed to catch more walks, bottom line. We were walking a few too many and we weren’t catching any on the flip. We’ve kind of evened that up the last two days and have actually done very well.”
Georgia (4-6) will go for a sweep against UAB (4-6) at 2 p.m. today at Foley Field.
Right-hander Luke Crumley (0-1, 11.05 ERA) is scheduled to start for Georgia. UAB has not announced a probable starter.
“It’s huge to start winning games,” Georgia starter Patrick Boling said. “We needed to start getting on a roll and star feeling it. Hopefully, we’ll come out here and play good again (today) and get us another win.”
Boling (1-2) set a career high with 5 1/3 innings pitched despite taking a line drive off of his calf in the second inning. He held UAB to two hits and no runs with two walks and four strikeouts to pick up the win. Bryan Benzor shut down a UAB bases-loaded, one out rally in the sixth but gave up three hits and two runs in the eighth. Jarrett Brown shut out UAB in the ninth to finish the game.
“My changeup was working pretty good today, and I had my cutter at times,” Boling said. “It was actually kind of a struggle, especially after I got hit in the calf. But we figured it out. That sucker hurts. I was feeling that the rest of the game. You just go out there and battle and hope the ball gets hit at guys.”
DeLoach’s triple came within a few feet of triggering a $5,000 fan giveaway for a Georgia grand slam in the fifth. DeLoach hit the ball off of the left-center field fence instead of over it, but three runs came home and Georgia took a 6-0 lead.
“I didn’t know about the money until I came back into the dugout right after that,” DeLoach said. “I felt bad because maybe I could have helped somebody out. But I didn’t think about it at all. I was battling and fighting off pitches. I finally got a pitch I knew I could handle and I put a good swing on it. I knew I’d hit it solid. I saw a guy running back and hoped something good would happen out of it.”
Kyle Farmer had two hits and two RBIs, including a sacrifice fly and a one-run double. Nelson Ward had two hits, walked twice and scored twice. Georgia’s leadoff man reached base in six of Georgia’s nine innings.
“We got one big knock but we left a few too many out there (eight left on base),” Perno said. “But we were putting them on and put some pressure on and got one big one. Brett was huge in that.”
UAB’s James Naile (2-1) took the loss, allowing four hits and six runs (all earned) with three strikeouts and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Tanner Bryant had two hits for UAB.
Notes: Kyle Farmer’s double in the fifth inning gave him 57 in his career which is seventh on Georgia’s career list. … Georgia set a season high with 2,095 attendance. … Saturday’s victory insures Georgia’s first series win of the season. … Boling lowered his ERA from 10.0 to 4.58 after Saturday’s game.