OMAHA, Neb. — It’s not typically a good thing when the opposing team sends 27 batters to the plate in a three-inning span.
Leading 5-0 after the top of the third, Georgia’s version of the Bulldogs learned that the hard way—Fresno State’s “Wonderdogs” proceeded to rattle off 15 runs in the next three frames en route to a 19-10 win in Game Two of the College World Series’ championship series.
Those 19 runs are the most Fresno State has scored in the NCAA postseason since 1959.
“They beat us. They just beat us straight up,” Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham said.
“We were not fooled, we weren’t thinking, ‘we can let down.’ They kicked us in the rump. We were ready and they just did it. They just kept hitting the ball.”
Georgia starter Nick Montgomery faced only seven batters in his first two innings of work, but faced six in only a third of an inning in the third. Three of those scored before Montgomery left the game, and reliever Stephen Dodson gave up a three-run shot to Tommy Mendonca that sealed the six-run inning for Fresno State.
Mendonca’s 18th homer was his fourth of the College World Series, tying him with seven other players for the most all-time.
It didn’t end there, though, as Fresno added five more runs in the fourth, and another four in the fifth, capped by a Steve Susdorf two-run shot.
“Fresno State had the merry-go-round or circus or whatever you want to call it going around the bases all night,” Beckham said.
“They’re a good team. I told y’all last night that anybody that thinks they’re out of it is crazy.”
Despite the cringe-inducing deficit in the loss, Georgia coach Dave Perno had enough perspective to know there’s still one game left to play.
“We had a tough time defending the post pattern across the middle,” he said, smiling.
Fresno State’s 19 runs were by far the most they have ever scored in the College World Series, and the most Georgia has allowed in Omaha since matching that mark against Tennessee in 2001.
It was also the most the Diamond Dogs have given up in any action since surrendering 20 that same year to Arkansas.
The Georgia offense showed some signs of life in the seventh, with the first four batters reaching and scoring, but couldn’t muster a multi-RBI hit after loading the bases with no outs.
The Wonderdogs added three more in the bottom of the inning to squelch any Georgia momentum.
First baseman Rich Poythress finished the game 2-for-2 with three RBI and a pair of sac flies for Georgia. Gordon Beckham and Joey Lewis both drove in two runs for the Athens Bulldogs.
Fresno State is now 5-0 in NCAA elimination games, as is Georgia. One set of Bulldogs will have a blemished record after Wednesday’s deciding game, which is again set for 7 p.m. ET.
“It’s going to be a battle of the undefeateds in elimination games. It’s going to be a ‘dogfight,’” Beckham said, laughing and waving his arms.
Southpaw Nathan Moreau will get the nod for Georgia, while Fresno will have No. 1 starter Justin Wilson back, though on three days' rest.
That said, Perno has more specific plans for his pitchers.
“We’re going to start Nathan Moreau, you’re going to see Dean Weaver, you’re going to see Alex McRee, and you’re going to see Josh Fields. And everybody else is going to be cheerleading,” he said.
“We’re in Game Three or Game Seven or whatever you want to call it, it’s for all the marbles. Those are our guys that got us here, and they’re gonna get the ball tomorrow.”
Georgia 3 1 1 1 0 0 4 0 0 10 15 0
Fresno St. 0 0 6 5 4 0 3 1 x 19 19 2
WP - Holden Sprague (6-2)
LP - Stephen Dodson (5-5)
HR - Fresno State: Mendonca (18), Susdorf (13)
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