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Big first inning lifts Bulldogs over Beavers, 10-5

It was another day of sporadically rainy weather in Portland, but after a 40 minute rain delay of first pitch and a short rain delay in the middle of the game, the Bulldogs and Beavers were able to get through Game 2 of the Pape Grand Slam.

Things did not go as hoped for the Beavers, who were 5-0 all-time against the Bulldogs heading into Saturday's game. The Beavers beat Georgia in the 2006 Men's College World Series, and swept the Bulldogs last year on their home field in Athens, GA. On Saturday, however, Georgia finally got the better hand by the score of 10-5.

Seven of those ten Georgia runs came in the first inning. Jorge Reyes, Oregon State's starter and MVP of the 2007 Men's College World Series, had a mediocre outing in which he either couldn't find the plate, hung the ball over the plate, or didn't have strong defensive support behind him. Jorge exited the game in the first inning, having given up seven runs on seven hits. He faced eleven batters.

In that inning, the top of the first, Georgia third baseman Ryan Peisel led off with a walk. Second baseman Michael Demperio reached on what was ruled a base hit, but could easily have been scored an error. In fact, the manual scoreboard in left center field ruled the play an error for most of the inning until the error was taken off the board several batters later. On the play, Demperio hit a ball to the right of OSU first baseman Jordan Lennerton. I'm not sure if Jorge didn't get a good break from the mound or if Demperio just beat the play out, but Lennerton ended up tossing the ball towards Lonnie Lechelt, who was running towards first base from his second base position. Lonnie arrived at the base late and didn't catch the ball cleanly, resulting in Georgia getting their first two men on with no outs. Georgia's third hitter, shortstop Gordon Beckham, hit a ball towards shortstop that could have been fielded by Joey Wong, but was a bit too far to his left. That loaded the bases with no outs. A single by UGA first baseman Rich Poythress scored two, and left two on with no outs. Catcher Joey Lewis singled to right field, again loading the bases, still with no outs recorded in the inning. At this point, Jorge Reyes threw a wild pitch of the left side of OSU catcher Ryan Ortiz's mitt, allowing the runners to advance and Gordon Beckham to score. Jorge Reyes got the first out of the inning when he struck out Georgia right fielder Matt Olson, but the Bulldogs weren't done yet. Bryce Massanari and Lyle Allen, Georgia's 7 and 8 hitters, both singled, resulting in two more runs for the Bulldogs. Matt Cerione sacrifice bunted Massanari to third and Allen to second, setting things up for leadoff man Ryan Peisel, who drove both of them home with a two-RBI single. Jorge Reyes walked Michael Demperio, prompting the OSU coaches to go to the bullpen for Kraig Sitton. Sitton forced the first batter he faced, shortstop Gordon Beckham, to fly out to deep center field thanks to a great catch by center fielder Chris Hopkins. However, Georgia managed to score seven runs on seven hits in that first inning, and inning that Oregon State could never make up for offensively.

The Beavers scored their first run in the second inning when Junior College transfer Daniel Robertson singled, John Wallace singled, and they both stole a base to put runners on second and third with no outs. Freshman third baseman Garret Nash hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Robertson. The Beavers weren't able to manufacture any more runs that inning, but still managed to cut Georgia's lead to 7-1.

The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the top of the fourth inning on a Matt Olsen two-RBI base hit. That pushed the score to 9-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, right as I was headed to the concession stand, John Wallace hit a two run home run into the Beavers' bullpen, closing the gap to 9-4 in favor of the Bulldogs. The Beaver bats got hot again in the bottom of the sixth, but two runs is all the Beavers could get out of a four hit inning. Georgia added an insurance run in their half of the sixth, and went on to win 10-5.

The Beavers move to 2-3 on the year with the loss. Jorge Reyes is now 1-1 on the season.

From attending the game, I can tell that this year's team still has some maturing to do. They're not as explosive as they could be on offense yet, and the defense is still a bit rusty, as seen in the first inning. The pitching is coming along, but will also need time to develop. Without that disastrous first inning, and with a better showing from Jorge,  the Beavers would have probably won the game. The bullpen was solid, and the Beavers can score enough runs to give them a chance in games. Let's hope they can end the series on a high note tomorrow.

Freshman right hander Greg Peavey (0-1) is scheduled to start tomorrow's series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.