ATHENS, Ga. - The Western Illinois bats were silenced by Georgia starter Alex Wood in the first ever meeting between the two programs and the Fighting Leathernecks (3-5) fell 4-1 to the No. 8 Bulldogs (9-1) in the first of a three-game series Friday night (March 2) at Foley Field.
Western Illinois collected two hits off Wood (3-0), who struck out 14 batters
over eight innings of work. Matt Igara
homered and Cowen singled off Bryan Benzor in the ninth inning but the rally
was not enough.
Leatherneck starter Rich Mascheri (1-2) took the loss and scattered nine hits over six innings of work. He allowed four earned runs, walked two and struck out five batters. Philip Tolman relieved Mascheri and tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Igara's home run was his first of the season and the fifth of his career. Cowen went 2-for-4 at the plate and owns five multi-hit games this season.
Cowen's single in the fourth was with two outs and Tom Lilja struck out swinging to end the inning. Cowhey led off the eighth inning with a single but did not advance as Dan Owenby, Danny Marcuzzo and Jameson Henning were retired to end the threat.
Georgia had three hits through two innings but Mascheri kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. However, Georgia broke through in the third inning when Kyle Farmer homered over the left field fence with one out. A one-out walk in the fourth inning hurt Mascheri as Connor Welton's two-out single drove home Brett DeLoach to put Georgia up 2-0.
Curt Powell and Farmer led off the fifth inning with consecutive singles and Mascheri held them in scoring position until Colby May's two-out single to center extended the Bulldog lead to 4-0. Georgia put two runners on in the bottom of the eighth but Tolman escaped the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
Western Illinois and Georgia continue their three-game set tomorrow with a 2 p.m. first pitch at Foley Field. Dustin Hunter, who was recently named The Summit League's Pitcher of the Week, faces off against Michael Palazzone.