Bullpen is a big reason for Georgia's deep run

OMAHA, Neb. --- Any concerns coach David Perno had about his bullpen have diminished after Georgia's first two games at the College World Series.


In the past two outings, the Bulldogs' relievers subdued one of the nation's top offenses in Miami and shackled Stanford's consistent lineup.

They have allowed one earned run on four hits in their past 11 innings in Omaha. They've walked four and struck out nine.

The bullpen is a large reason why Georgia is 2-0 and has three days to rest before Friday's 2 p.m. game with the winner of today's Stanford-Miami contest.

On Monday against Stanford, three Bulldogs combined to pitch six innings of scoreless relief. Stephen Dodson relieved starter Nick Montgomery and threw 3w innings, allowing just one hit and two walks. Alex McRee bounced back with 1q scoreless innings after giving up two hits and one earned run in Saturday's 7-4 victory over No. 1 Miami.

All-American closer Joshua Fields, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners with the 20th pick two weeks ago, closed both games. He's pitched 2w scoreless innings with one walk and one strikeout.

Fields wiggled out of a jam in the ninth Monday. After retiring Stanford's Sean Ratliff, he pegged Toby Gerhart and walked Zach Jones. Pinch hitter Colin Walsh grounded into a double play for the final out.

"We had a chance there in the ninth and we couldn't get that hit," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said after Georgia's 4-3 win. "The relievers really kind of shut us down. Their closer is a great one. One of the best ones in the country."

Georgia's bullpen has posted a 4.05 ERA in nine NCAA postseason games.

That has come despite a poor showing in the Athens Super Regional win over North Carolina State, when the bullpen didn't record a decision and its ERA ballooned to 11.43. They went 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA in the Athens Regional.

"It's definitely really satisfying," Fields said. "What's even more satisfying is knowing that it hasn't always been like this."

While Fields has four years of collegiate experience, McRee and Dean Weaver are just sophomores. McRee, who is tied with Fields for the most relief appearances this postseason with five, has struck out 16 and owns a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings of work. Weaver has pitched in four games.

"Having guys like that, that can go the seventh and eighth innings, so that I can throw the ninth inning, takes a huge pressure off of me," Fields said.

Reach Jennifer Iannone at jennifer.iannone@morris.com.


Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham, San Diego pitcher Brian Matusz and Florida State catcher Buster Posey have been selected finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to college baseball's top player.

Beckham, a junior, was selected in the first round by the Chicago White Sox in the draft. He was an unanimous coaches' choice for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

-- Associated Press



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