May 31, 2002
ATLANTA – Matt Woods scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings, and Josh Smith and Lee Mitchell each hit two-run homers to power Georgia past Louisville, 7-1, in the first round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional baseball tournament Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The second-seeded Bulldogs (31-27) advance to meet the winner of Friday night’s game between top seed Georgia Tech and Coastal Carolina at 3 p.m. Saturday. Louisville (39-18) will face the loser of that game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Woods (3-2) walked just one and struck out seven, and was seriously threatened just twice, when the Cardinals left runners at second and third in the fourth inning, and left runners at first and third in the seventh. Louisville left 12 runners stranded for the game, scratching for its only run in the eighth on Josh Bolen?s sacrifice fly against Georgia reliever Scott Lawson.
“We got great starting pitching by [Woods], quality defense, two-out hits,” said Georgia coach David Perno. ?We did all the things we were doing a month ago, and that gave us a great opportunity to win.?
Smith, who had just 11 at-bats all season, capped a three-run Georgia second with a two-run homer, which drove in Clint Sammons. Justin McClain led off the inning with a double and scored on Sammons’ single three batters later.
“Down the stretch, we’ve been getting outplayed at short,” Perno said of his decision to start Smith at shortstop. “No matter who we’ve played, they’ve outplayed us at the position. I felt like we needed to be proactive and try to get a jump start.”
The outburst made a loser of Louisville starter Zach Jackson (10-3), who settled down to pitch scoreless ball over the next four innings. The Bulldogs chased him in the seventh, however, scoring four times against Jackson and reliever Josh Ring.
Adam Swann drove in two runs with a double off Jackson, and Lee Mitchell greeted Ring with his 13th home run to make the score 7-0.
“In the last three games, we have only scored two runs,” said Louisville coach Lelo Prado. “You are not going to win many games when you are not swinging the bat. We have about 12 hours to figure it out.
“[Woods] did a hell of a job pitching balls and strikes, and we kept trying to pull the ball. You’ve got to make adjustments, and I give him credit. He made us look pretty silly.”