OMAHA, Neb. – Georgia was on the verge of its second national title.
But Fresno State wouldn’t let Georgia have its way.
Fresno State defeated Georgia 19-10 in Game 2 of the best-of-three national championship series Tuesday at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Fresno State successfully staved off elimination for the fifth time this postseason and forced a third game.
“They beat us,” Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham said. “We were not fooled. We were ready and they just hit and kept hitting the ball. It was their night.”
The national championship series finale game will be at 7 tonight on ESPN. Georgia’s Nathan Moreau and Fresno State’s Justin Wilson are expected to start. Georgia will be the home team by virtue of a coin toss that occurred before the series began.
Georgia (45-24-1) is searching for its first national title since 1990, while Fresno State is seeking its first national title.
“This is for everything,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “Everything we work for comes down to (today). You’ve got a one-shot deal.”
Fresno State’s 19 runs are the most Georgia has given up since a 2004 loss at Clemson. It is the most runs Georgia has given up in a postseason game.
“It’s pretty tough,” Beckham said. “Fresno State had the merry-go-round. ... They were going around the bases all night. They’re a great team. They showed it tonight.”
Georgia jumped to a 5-0 lead in the third inning, but its lead quickly dissolved with a Fresno State six-run third inning.
Fresno’s State’s six runs tied the most Georgia had allowed this season. Georgia also allowed a six-run inning against Alabama twice – in the opener of the last SEC series and the finale.
With bases loaded in the third, Georgia starter Nick Montgomery threw a wild pitch and Steven Detwiler scored Fresno State’s first run. Steve Susdorf hit a two-RBI single to right field to climb within two of Georgia.
Georgia reliever Stephen Dodson gave up a three-run blast to Tommy Mendoca to punctuate the six-run third inning. Mendoca’s fourth homer of the series tied a CWS record. Seven other players have hit four homers in Omaha.
“It deflated a lot out of him and they didn’t let up in the next inning,” Perno said of Dodson.
Beckham’s RBI single to center field drove in Matt Olson to tie the game at 6-all, but Fresno State responded with a five-run fourth inning. Fresno State closed the door on Georgia with a four-run fifth inning for a 15-6 lead.
With an 11-run deficit, Georgia put together a four-run rally in the seventh but got no closer.
Dodson (5-5) recorded the loss after pitching just one inning. He allowed five runs (all earned) on five hits. He faced eight batters and struck out two. He gave up a home run and a triple. Dodson relieved Montgomery, who suffered through his shortest start of the year. Montgomery allowed five runs (all earned) on four hits in 2 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one.
“We got everything we wanted out the gate,” Perno said. “I just haven’t seen that from Nick (Montgomery) all year. He’s been steady for us. He had command issues. ... It was uncharacteristic of Nick and Stephen today.”
Georgia threw seven pitchers in the 3 hour, 55 minute game.
Perno said he bring in Dean Weaver, Alex McRee and Joshua Fields out of the bullpen today.
“Everybody else is going to be cheerleading,” Perno said. “It’s for all the marbles. Those are the guys that got us here and they’re going to get the ball (today).”
Holden Sprague (6-2) recorded the win. He allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out three. Jake Hower collected his first save.
“This club’s got a lot of heart,” Fresno State coach Mike Batesole said. “I keep saying that because it’s true. ... This team has just being going and going and going, and they’re gonna go for nine more innings.”