By Peter Bartlett

Foley Field was nearly packed to capacity this weekend as the Georgia Bulldogs welcomed the 11th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for a three game series. The Dawgs swept the Tide in dramatic fashion, bouncing back in conference play after being swept by Kentucky last weekend. 

Game one was originally scheduled for Friday but was postponed to Saturday due to inclement weather, allowing the Dawgs to host their first double header of the season. They secured game one with a bang, walking off Alabama in a 9-5 victory. 

Charlie Goldstein was on the mound first to face a potent Crimson Tide offense. Goldstein lasted 5.0 innings allowing five earned runs and striking out four. Brian Zeldin relieved Goldstein in the sixth inning and took the Dawgs the rest of the way lasting 4.0 innings, striking out an additional three and not surrendering a single run. His strong performance out of the bullpen allowed him to be scored the victory

The power bats made their presence known again as four separate Bulldogs hit a home run in game one including; Corey Collins, Charlie Condon, Dylan Goldstein, and Kolby Branch. The defense for the Dawgs would also shine, as late in the 9th inning a relay throw from catcher Henry Hunter to third baseman Slate Alford picked off a runner representing the go-ahead run for the Tide. This proved pivotal as the game stayed tied heading into the bottom of the 9th. 

The Dawgs showed strength in the clutch, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. Branch then hit a walk-off grand slam to center field, securing a game one win for Georgia. The ending was not without controversy, however, as Branch was ejected for excessive celebration following his slam and was suspended for game two.

Game two saw another dramatic finish as Georgia held on for a 6-5 victory over Alabama. Leighton Finley got the start and pitched well, lasting 5.1 innings striking out two and only surrendering three runs. All three runs were scored via the long ball as the Tide jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Dillon Carter prevented the lead from growing, robbing TJ McCants of a home run in center field. Kolten Smith pitched in relief for the remaining 3.2 innings allowing just two runs and striking out five. 

The Dawgs responded to the deficit with back to back home runs by Condon and Alford tying the game at three. Condon homered again in the 7th, scoring two and giving the Dawgs their first lead of the game. They added on to it in the 8th with a sac hit by Clayton Chadwick. 

The Tide refused to go away, scoring off a sac fly and reducing the Dawgs lead to one in the top of the 9th. But Smith was undeterred, notching another strikeout for the final out and putting the finishing touches on a great day for UGA.

Game three saw the most dominant performance of the series by the Dawgs, as they won 10-5 in convincing fashion. Christian Mracna toed the slab and pitched a gem. He lasted 4.2 innings, allowing just one run and striking out seven. Georgia used a bevy of relievers to finish the job including DJ Radtke, Daniel Padysak, Josh Roberge, and Zeldin. The bullpen allowed an additional four runs and struck out two more.

The offense for UGA was on fire, as Collins hit two home runs, and Paul Toetz and Goldstein each picked up one of their own. The Dawgs showed aggression on the base paths stealing six bags in seven attempts. They scored in all but two innings and led for most of the game. Zeldin finished the game forcing a ground out, and was awarded the save.

The Bulldogs’ sweep of the Tide reestablishes them in conference play after an abysmal start, and furthermore shows their capability to play against the best in the country. Collins came alive this week going 11-17 with thirteen RBIs and six home runs, giving an already red hot offense another powerful bat. They will look to continue their home dominance this Tuesday at 5 p.m. against the Mercer Bears.