Palazzone leads Diamond Dogs to 5-4 win over No. 3 Vanderbilt

Athens – In the biggest game of the year, Michael Palazzone came up with his biggest game.

After getting knocked around for three runs in the second inning and another in the third, Georgia’s talented right-hander settled down and pitched nearly flawlessly the rest of the way as the Bulldogs came from behind to defeat No. 3 Vanderbilt 5-4 at Foley Field.

Palazzone threw 62 pitches in the first three innings but just 54 over the final six frames. Only six of those were balls as be retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.

“That was as good as I’ve seen him all year,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “To rebound and do what he did against a team like Vanderbilt was unbelievable.”

The Bulldogs were counting on him. Normally Georgia’s second-game starter in SEC series, Perno elected to move up Palazzone to the first day in order to break their streak of poor SEC starts – they’d lost the first game in the last five conference series – and set the pitching for the rest of the weekend.

As for stakes, they could not have gotten much bigger. Georgia (28-26, 16-12 SEC) desperately needs every victory it can get to ensure itself of finishing above .500 for the season. Though the Bulldogs have already clinched a spot in next week’s SEC Tournament, they have to finish with a winning record to meet the NCAA’s criteria for post-season play.

All that seemed in doubt when Palazzone found himself behind 3-0 with one out in the second inning.

“Coach said ‘keep us in it here; don’t let it get away,’” said Palazzone, who gave up eight hits with six strikeouts and two walks. “And that’s what we were able to do. I got a little out of rhythm there early. I changed a few things around and it worked out.”

It was Palazzone’s sixth win this year over a Top 20 opponent. He improves to 9-3 overall. Vanderbilt falls to 42-9 (20-8 SEC).

Georgia scratched out four of its five runs against one of the SEC’s best pitchers in Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray. The Bulldogs got a pair of solo home runs early – Gray had given up only two all season previously – then manufactured single runs in the fourth and sixth.

“We single-runned them to death tonight,” said Peter Verdin, who went 3-of-4 and hit his first home run of the season. “We were on the brink of a big inning a couple of times, but that’s just the kind of pitcher Gray is.”

The Bulldogs scored the winning run when Kyle Farmer came home from third on a bases-loaded, two-outs wild pitch by Will Clinard in the seventh.

“It was at a weird angle and I couldn’t see the ball,” said Farmer, who hesitated before breaking for the plate. “I looked at our bench and I saw Coach Perno out there waving his arms around. When the head coach says run, you run.”

Chase Davidson hit a towering home run to straght-away center field in the second and Farmer had two hits. Third baseman Curt Powell  also had two hits and scored two runs for Georgia.

“That was the key for us, the bottom of the order,}Perno said. “Powell had a couple of big hits, Delmonico had some great at-bats and Verdin was phenomenal. I thought that was the difference in the game.”

The Bulldogs will have big stakes on the line again Friday night as sophomore Alex Wood gets the start. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

“We’re a scrappy team,” Farmer said. “We’re Bulldogs. Now we have to take this momentum and win another one tomorrow.”

36 comments Add your comment

john

May 19th, 2011
11:12 pm

Go dawgs! First!

bulldogsteve

May 19th, 2011
11:51 pm

What a great game! Had all the feeling of a super regional and a great game to watch at Foley. can’t wait until tomorrow.

Top Row Dawg

May 19th, 2011
11:59 pm

Two more wins dogs. Magic number is two of next four.

dawg from a distance

May 20th, 2011
12:55 am

GO DAWGS! Awesome Win! Team coming together and just the right time.

Mark Richt

May 20th, 2011
6:53 am

This team will pull a Mark Richt and …ahem… CHOKE.

Inlet Dawg

May 20th, 2011
7:30 am

Go get two more!!!

BirdDog

May 20th, 2011
8:00 am

Just need one of the next two. Go Diamond Dawgs!

sogadog

May 20th, 2011
8:31 am

Way to fight back Diamond Dawgs.

Muschamp guarantees the Gators will beat the Dawgs in football this year. Some please post this on the bulletin board in Athens.

doggy

May 20th, 2011
9:48 am

Sweet win! We really need to sweep this series… 2 of 3 means we’ll only be 2 games over .500 going into the tournament… get swept out in the tournament and that’s a .500 record… not good enough for a regional bid

doggy

May 20th, 2011
9:48 am

looks like VU is our likely round 1 matchup too…

robodawg

May 20th, 2011
10:02 am

Scrappy, manufacturing runs, that’s baseball at its best. Go Dawgs!

SouthSide Dawg

May 20th, 2011
11:53 am

Congratulations! Go DAWGS!

Spike

May 20th, 2011
12:19 pm

That guy SMOKED Vandy at the end of the game! What nasty breaking ball he has! Wat yo go!!

Spike

May 20th, 2011
12:22 pm

Sorry. “Way to go!”.

JAWJeRDAWG

May 20th, 2011
2:56 pm

Congrats on reaching the SEC playoff, Diamond Dawgs! If they continue playing at this competive level, getting to over .500 doesn’t seem a far reach. Go Dawgs!

timthebrave

May 20th, 2011
2:58 pm

Nice win by the diamond dawgs yesterday. Got to keep it going

FDawg

May 20th, 2011
3:11 pm

Great game last night Dawgs! Let’s take it to ‘em again tonight…

dawg from a distance

May 20th, 2011
3:15 pm

Tough road to travel down but this teams seems to have some fight in them. Go DAWGS!

You guys are hilarious

May 20th, 2011
5:22 pm

sogadog

May 20th, 2011
8:31 am
Way to fight back Diamond Dawgs.

Muschamp guarantees the Gators will beat the Dawgs in football this year. Some please post this on the bulletin board in Athens.

I guess Muschamps logic is if Richt had a losing record against Zook then you can put the W in the win column.

David

May 20th, 2011
7:27 pm

I have nothing against the sports programs at Georgia; however, I travel thoughout the SEC and our facilities are not as good as some of our neighbors and rivals. I like to see a new baseball stadium similiar to LSU and South Carolina where fans are lower to the ground and close enough to the field where they can feel the action. Also, I like to see us have a new Basketball arena similar to Auburn where it is nice. At Georgia, I notice this many times that the stands are close to the field; however, you feel like seating in the upper deck because you looking straight down 45 degrees.

Matt

May 20th, 2011
10:51 pm

Tomorrow now a must win — against the #3 team in the nation. Get you golf clubs ready diamond dogs.

explain

May 21st, 2011
12:12 am

I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF ESPN CRANKING THE VOLUME ON THEIR IDIOT DUMB GUY COMMERCIALS.. not only r they so ridicules, but they make it about 40% louder so all the dumb jocks might understand to buy some chemical laced shaving cream.

BYRDDAWG

May 21st, 2011
9:33 am

GO DAWGS!!!! We sure could use an unlikely SWEEP!!!

Not so fast

May 21st, 2011
11:07 am

Vandy wallops pups 9 – 3…… Fire Perno!

UGA

May 21st, 2011
12:50 pm

Where is the post for yesterday’s game? Anyone know the score. We need a sweep!

UGASlobberknocker

May 21st, 2011
1:45 pm

Dogs lost yesterday..play today at 2 pm

Racket

May 21st, 2011
6:26 pm

The doggies season is done. Ha!

UGASlobberknocker

May 21st, 2011
7:25 pm

Is the SEC tourney now a single elimination 8 team playoff?

If so, then that means Ga must win at least the first two games in the tourney, or in other words make the final game, to qualify for the NCAA tourney. I hope they get hot.

Pago Pago DAWG

May 21st, 2011
7:56 pm

Actually, it’s a broadcast standard, all commercials are loud and the idiots in commercials are always white boys.

Yellow Fuzz

May 21st, 2011
7:57 pm

Buzz2010

May 21st, 2011
8:20 pm

Georgia Tech is the coastal division co-champion with UVA..
GT is #8 ranked team in the nation. Guess we know who
owns this state, right Dawgs????????????

Bawbie

May 21st, 2011
9:01 pm

Dawgs sent back to reality. Vamdy pummels Dawgs 17 – 7 . Next our football team. Fire Dave Perno!

Bawbie

May 21st, 2011
9:02 pm

Louie Kablooie

May 21st, 2011
9:20 pm

I remember last year when all the kool aid drinkers were pointing to this season in baseball. Ha Ha. Same will go for the footbal lteam. Mark it down. It stinks in Athens right now.

superDawg

May 21st, 2011
9:38 pm

junkyarddawg

May 22nd, 2011
9:46 am

P’zome is a BEAST!