ATLANTA - During his team's post-game news conference after Friday's Game 1 of the Atlanta Super Regional against Georgia, Georgia Tech second baseman Eric Patterson was asked to give his take on Bulldogs closer Will Startup.
It didn't sound as if he was necessarily impressed.
"(Startup) is nothing special," Patterson said. "He comes right at you but has a tendency to be wild every now and then. You just have to be patient and hit your right pitch."
Patterson wasn't being disrespectful. Frustrated is more like it.Georgia took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, beating the Yellow Jackets, 7-5, after Startup earned the save with three innings of one-run relief.
The win puts the Bulldogs (42-21) one victory away from their second trip to the College World Series in four years. Game 2 in the best-of-three series begins at noon today .
"There's no question our guys can see the light. It's there, we've just got to keep playing good baseball," Georgia coach David Perno said. "We just can't let our minds wander. We've just got to do what we do, play to our identity and everything will work out."
A sold-out Russ Chandler Stadium crowd of 4,157 fans, approximately 1,000 of which were Georgia boosters, saw a classic example of what Perno meant.
The Bulldogs got timely hitting and solid pitching, then took advantage of two missed opportunities by Georgia Tech to subdue the Yellow Jackets (44-20), who suffered their first home loss since April 18.
Bobby Felmy jumped on an 0-2 pitch from Micah Owings in the third inning and sent it high over the wall in right field for a three-run homer, capping a five-run frame for a 5-1 lead.
Owings, who threw 277 pitches during Georgia Tech's previous two games, allowed nine hits and walked four in six innings.
"We thought his (Owings) velocity might be down a little bit," said Marshall Szabo, who went 2-for-5. "We were just mentally prepared for what we needed to do."
Georgia capped its scoring with two runs in the sixth on a RBI single by Jason Jacobs and a sacrifice fly by Justin Holmes.
Georgia Tech scored its final runs on a homer by Mike Nickeas in the sixth and a RBI single by Greene in the seventh.
Startup did the rest, retiring Patterson on a bouncer to the mound leading off the ninth, before striking out Brandon Boggs and getting Steven Blackwood on a fly ball to left for his ninth save.
"We just couldn't get a bead on (Startup)," Patterson said. "That's just the way it goes. We've to be ready to go tomorrow."
Perno said the Bulldogs certainly will be.
"There's a lot of baseball left, but if history repeats itself ... with this club, every time we win on Friday, we at least get one more, if not all three in our conference series," Perno said. "That's been our approach, that this is a conference series."