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Dogs bullpen falters in loss to Jacksonville State
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ATHENS — Jacksonville State scored nine runs in the ninth inning to erase a one-run deficit and beat sixth-ranked Georgia 16-8 on Wednesday at Foley Field.

The Gamecocks (26-15) trailed 8-3 after the sixth, then scored a run in the seventh and three in the eighth to get to within 8-7 entering the ninth.

Andrew Edge led off with a walk followed by a double by Heath Wall, then both runners scored on a one-out triple by Todd Cunningham to give the Gamecocks their first lead. Each of the next eight batters reached safely and Jacksonville State scored seven more runs and sent a total of 14 batters to the plate in the inning.

It was the first time Georgia (33-12) lost a lead in the ninth inning this season.

"We got accustomed to the lead and we thought we were safe with the bullpen," Georgia coach David Perno said. "We were in position to win and that makes it more frustrating. There is an urgency to win this weekend. We’ll regroup and keep it in perspective."

Matt Cerione went 3-4 with a double and three runs scored to lead Georgia and Peter Verdin had two hits and two RBI.

Johnathan Taylor had a hit and scored twice, and Rich Poythress also drove in a pair of runs to bring his season total to 72.

Poythress is now fourth on Georgia’s single season RBI chart and just five shy of Gordon Beckam’s 77 RBI last year.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the first as Cerione singled to right field, Taylor was hit and Colby May walked. Poythress drove in two runs on a single to right field, and Joey Lewis drove in a run on another single.

Georgia sent 10 players to the plate in the inning and took a 4-0 lead.

Kyle Bluestein doubled in a run for Jacksonville State in the third inning, and Daniel Adamson followed with an opposite field home run to pull the Gamecocks to within one.

Cerione and Taylor led off the fourth inning with two straight singles, then Bryce Massanari drew a two-out walk followed by a bases-loaded walk to Adam Fuller. Verdin then singled in two runs and the Bulldogs led 7-3 going to the fifth. Cerione led off the fifth with hits third hit of the day, a double to left center, then came around to score on a two-out hit by May to give Georgia an 8-3 lead before Jacksonville State started to rally in the seventh.

Dean Weaver (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs on four hits in à innings.

Steve Esmonde came out of the Georgia bullpen and tossed three scoreless innings. Bill Henke (2-1) pitched the final two innings to earn the win for Jacksonville State.

Georgia plays host to 17th-ranked Florida in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs lead the Gators by a game in the SEC standings.

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