Georgia can rest easy now. The Bulldogs are in the College World Series championship round.
The Bulldogs had gotten more rest than they wanted heading into Saturday's Bracket 1 final against Stanford. Coming off four days without a game, they unleashed their pent-up energy early and then withstood the Cardinal's ninth-inning comeback try to hold on for a 10-8 victory.
Now Georgia (44-23-1) awaits either Fresno State or North Carolina, who play an elimination game Sunday, in the best-of-three championship round that starts Monday.
Rich Poythress tied a CWS record with three doubles, and Ryan Peisel hit a three-run homer that gave the Bulldogs a 9-3 lead in the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs, the first team to rebound from a losing season the previous year to make it to the finals, beat Miami in their CWS opener and then Stanford on Monday. Their reward was supposed to be a three-day rest. But rain Thursday pushed the schedule back a day.
That created anxiety for the Bulldogs.
The outburst against Stanford pitchers Jeremy Bleich and Drew Storen alleviated any concern that the Bulldogs would be rusty.
''I think we got really restless,'' shortstop Gordon Beckham said. ''We were all getting kind of itchy and talking back to each other. We hadn't had that much time off all year. We were just getting itchy to play, and then when it rained out (Thursday) we were really upset.''
And now they're really happy.
''We're in the national championship, and you couldn't ask for more,'' Beckham said. ''We want to play on the last day, and we're going to.''
It's quite an accomplishment for a club that finished 22-33 a year ago and struggled early in the postseason after winning the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship. The Bulldogs went 0-2 in the SEC tournament and lost their first-round game in the regional they hosted.
''We've regrouped,'' Georgia coach David Perno said, ''and now we're pretty solid.''
The Bulldogs will go for their second national title 18 years after winning their first. Perno was a utility infielder on that 1990 title team.
Peisel's second home run in three CWS games, and 12th of the season, marked the 12th hit of the game for Georgia, and it was only the fifth inning. Peisel finished 3-for-5, making him 7-for-14 in Omaha.
Stanford held the Bulldogs to three doubles and one run the rest of the way, but coach Mark Marquess said the damage had been done.
''They were just too much for us today,'' he said. ''We couldn't stop them. Everybody came up with a big hit time and time again. We played them twice, and we couldn't beat them. They're just a better team than we are.''
Poythress, who became the eighth player in CWS history to hit three doubles in a game, drove in four runs while going 4-for-5. Joey Lewis added three RBIs.
The Cardinal, down 10-4 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, scored four runs against All-America closer Joshua Fields.
Pinch-hitter Colin Walsh hit an RBI single and pinch-hitter Ben Clowe followed with a three-run homer to left. Cord Phelps flied out to end the game.
''We've had a chance to win most games, and even this one we had a chance to come back,'' Marquess said. ''A couple freshmen came off the bench, and we made it interesting.''
For Fields, it was another tough outing in the NCAA tournament. He has allowed nine earned runs in 6 1-3 innings (12.80 ERA) over six appearances.
''He's given up some runs of late, but they've been non-save situations, and he's never blown the lead,'' Perno said. ''He needed to throw, and I know he'll be a lot better the next time he does.''
Georgia jumped on Bleich (3-3) for six runs on eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
There were only two down notes for Georgia offensively. Matt Cerione, who came in batting a nation-leading .463 in the postseason, struck out all five times at bat, and Bryce Massanari had his 18-game hitting streak end.
Nathan Moreau, the Bulldogs' No. 3 starter who got the call instead of ace Trevor Holder, lasted 2 1-3 innings, giving up one run on two hits and three walks. He left with the bases loaded in favor of Weaver (6-1), who was touched for three runs on six hits the next 3 2-3 innings.
Alex McRee held Stanford scoreless on no hits in the seventh and eighth before Fields came on and struggled in the ninth.
''You're worried after a couple days off about how the team is going to react,'' Peisel said. ''It's been two weeks since Nate pitched, and you never know how that's going to go, with pitching being such a rhythm thing. We battled all day, played our game and we outplayed them a little bit today.''
KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.
If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.powered by Disqus