Athens native, Auburn blank Bulldogs

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

AUBURN, Ala. -- Junior Derek Varnadore pitched a complete game five-hit shutout to lead Auburn to a 3-0 win over Georgia on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (24-23, 13-10 SEC) had a promising start to the second inning with back-to-back singles by Parkview grad Zach Cone and Brett DeLoach.

However, Varnadore responded by striking out the next three Bulldogs, all who were called out on strikes. An Athens native who transferred to the Tigers from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Varnadore ran his record to 5-2. He walked three and struck out seven in going the distance for the second time this year.

In the fourth, Auburn (25-21, 11-12 SEC) pushed across two runs off the Bulldogs and right-hander Michael Palazzone.

Georgia turned to sophomore left-hander Chase Hawkins, a Brookwood grad, in relief of Palazzone to start the bottom of the eighth. Palazzone (8-2) was the tough-luck loser Saturday, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. It ended a string of eight wins in his past nine starts.

Auburn added an insurance run in the eighth as Gamache led off with a base hit, pinch-runner Bobby Andrews stole second and later scored on a one-out single by Caldwell. In the ninth, Georgia tried to rally. With one out, Cone reached on a walk and DeLoach followed with his third hit of the afternoon. However, Varnadore got Hester to pop out and then struck out pinch-hitter Chase Davidson.