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MTennis: Georgia advances to the NCAA quarterfinals with 4-2 win over Harvard
For the second straight match, sophomore Miguel Perez Peña clinched the win for the No. 6-seed Georgia men’s tennis team, as the Bulldogs defeated No. 11-seed Harvard, 4-2, in the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex before 3,072 spectators.
With the win, the Bulldogs (23-6, 12-0 SEC) earn a spot in the quarterfinals at the United States Tennis Association National Complex in Lake Nona, Fla. and will take on No. 3 Ohio State on Thursday, May 18. Head coach Manny Diaz has now guided the program to 27 Elite Eights in his 35 years at the helm of the program.
“How wonderful and incredible this atmosphere was, we really owe this to our fans and our community for showing up,” said Coach Diaz. “They provided the most incredible collegiate tennis experience for both of these teams and really brought out the best in both teams. Our guys had to play their hearts out. Harvard is an incredible team. This was a great college tennis match. We owe so much to our fans.”
In doubles action, the Bulldogs took the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. The match began with Harvard taking court three by a 6-1 result, but Georgia swiftly responded. Giusca and Henning notched their 11th win of the year from court two, beating Ronan Jachuck and Steven Sun by a 6-3 score and forcing the point to be decided on court one. Each side held serve, but No. 6 Bryde and Quinn defeated No. 62 Daniel Milavsky and Harris Walker in a tiebreaker, taking the match 7-6(4), and clinching the point for the sixth time together this season.
The Crimson responded in singles by taking three first sets and keeping all of them close throughout. Harvard would eventually even the match score at 1-all after No. 35 Henry von der Schulenberg beat No. 19 Henning on court two in straight sets, where the redshirt senior lost just his sixth match of the season. A dominant second set from Giusca put the Bulldogs ahead once again, as he won his sixth match from court six with a 6-4, 6-0 result over Valdemar Pape.
Harvard again tied the match with Milavsky’s 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 113 Bryde. No. 2 Quinn gave Georgia a lead with his 10th consecutive singles win from court one, beating No. 37 Walker, 7-6(5), 6-1 and improving to 27-10 on the year. The Fresno, Calif. native notched his team-best 19th victory over a ranked opponent with the straight-set win.
The Castellon de la Plana, Spain native earned the sixth clinching win of his career with a 7-6(6), 6-4 win over Sun. Both Perez Peña and No. 106 Croyder were at match point, but the sophomore finished on court five just before Croyder served and gave Georgia the win.
“It was 3-3 and I went down 4-3, and I was like, ‘OK, this match is over, Someone else is going to clinch it.’” said Perez Peña. “Then, it was 4-4 and Blake couldn’t close it out – I was like, ‘Actually, I have a chance here.’ I broke, and then on the last game, I was trying to race Blake. At the end of the day, I closed the match, but I would have been as happy if Blake had closed it out. Just happy for the team. It was fun to run to him at the end of the match as well.”
Georgia remains a perfect 34-0 against Harvard (21-6, 7-0 Ivy) since the programs first played in 1963.
1. #2 Ethan Quinn (UGA) def. #37 Harris Walker (HAR) 7-6 (7-5), 6-1
2. #35 von der Schulenberg (HAR) def. #19 Philip Henning (UGA) 6-2, 6-1
3. Daniel Milavsky (HAR) def. #113 Trent Bryde (UGA) 6-2, 6-4
4. #106 Blake Croyder (UGA) vs. Ronan Jachuck (HAR) 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 5-3, unfinished
5. Miguel Perez Pena (UGA) def. Steven Sun (HAR) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
6. Teodor Giusca (UGA) def. Valdemar Pape (HAR) 6-4, 6-0
Order of finish: 2, 6, 3, 1, 5*
1. #6 Trent Bryde/Ethan Quinn (UGA) def. #62 Daniel Milavsky/Harris Walker (HAR) 7-6 (7-4)
2. Teodor Giusca/Philip Henning (UGA) def. Ronan Jachuck/Steven Sun (HAR) 6-3
3. von der Schulenberg/Alan Yim (HAR) def. Blake Croyder/Britton Johnston (UGA) 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1*
Georgia Head Coach Manny Diaz
On facing a tough Harvard team…
“How wonderful and incredible this atmosphere was. We really owe this to our fans and our community for showing up. They provided the most incredible collegiate tennis experience for both of these teams and really brought out the best in both teams. Our guys had to play their hearts out. Harvard is an incredible team. This was a great college tennis match. We owe so much to our fans.”
On Ethan Quinn’s performance…
“He hits is that hard every day in practice, so we are used to that. What I liked about Ethan today was his poise and composure in both singles and doubles matches. He just did a tremendous job. We were ready for things to be difficult. Our team responded with toughness and with resiliency. In the end, it is never perfect. Harvard’s number two player played incredible tennis and earned a victory there. We had to pull out that doubles point out of a hat. It is a tribute to what these guys have gone through and earned this composure and confidence in the difficult moments. I think that was the difference today.”
On the match-clinching point…
“It is not easy. It is hard to stay on your own court when you are like, ‘He has match point’ or ‘He is serving for the match.’ It requires extra focus and extra effort for these guys to stay focused on what they can control. It was a great job by both of them because it is not easy.”
Georgia redshirt-freshman Ethan Quinn
On today’s performance…
“Honestly, pretty incredible. Started the doubles off really strong, made a lot of first serves, made a lot of returns. I was able to put pressure early on their return games when they were serving, which gave us a lot of confidence because we weren’t having to struggle too much on our serves. I felt really good, finished a lot of balls, was moving around well, and then honestly, putting pressure on their return. When we got into singles, started off strong – got a little complacent at 3-0, but was able to get back on my horse and finish out that first set strong. In the second set, he looked a little bit fatigued—it was hot out here today. Once I saw that fatigue reinforced, it kind of helped me to keep pushing because I knew that I was a little quicker than he was and I could hit the ball bigger at that time.”
On today’s crowd…
“My gosh, electric. It was probably the best crowd so far. They were really rowdy. The size, it was amazing honestly. I remember looking up during the warm-up, you could just see it was absolutely full. It makes me think back to 2007, 2008, there’s pictures in our locker room where you see it’s just absolutely full, and you’re like, ‘Wow, it’s back to being the Mecca.’ And when we were down in the pit doing that last little bit, it’s awesome how everybody was able to stay and go down to the bottom and encourage those guys.”
Georgia sophomore Miguel Perez Peña
On his feelings following the victory…
“Pretty happy with all of the team’s effort. It was a tough match. Harvard’s a really good team. They’ve been in the top 10 for a long part of the season, and they were good. They played really good doubles, made it really tough and some of our guys didn’t have a good day. So happy for the team, we were really good. So proud of Teo (Giusca) on court six and Ethan (Quinn) on court one. Blake (Croyder) almost got to clinch the match. I feel like everyone was super tough and fighting for the team, and I’m so happy we’re going to Orlando.”
On simultaneously having clinch opportunities with Blake Croyder…
“It was 3-3 and I went down 4-3, and I was like, ‘OK, this match is over. Someone else is going to clinch it.’ Then, it was 4-4 and Blake couldn’t close it out – I was like, ‘Actually, I have a chance here.’ I broke, and then on the last game, I was trying to race Blake. At the end of the day, I closed the match, but I would have been as happy if Blake had closed it out. Just happy for the team. It was fun to run to him at the end of the match as well.”
Baseball: Missouri walks off Georgia to clinch series
Tre Morris’ two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth provided a 14-12 walk-off for Missouri to clinch an SEC series Saturday over Georgia in front of a crowd of 1,846 at Taylor Stadium.
The Tigers (29-20, 8-18 SEC) hit five home runs on the day and 10 now for the series as the Bulldogs dropped to 28-23 overall, 10-16 in the SEC. Georgia (28-23, 10-16 SEC) hit three home runs Saturday including one by Charlie Condon who set the SEC Freshman Record as it was his 23rd on the year. The previous SEC mark was 22 held by Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt in 2006.
“This was another heartbreaker, and we have to find a way to regroup Sunday,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “There’s no quit in this team. I feel bad for all the guys. They fought all game long with the lead changes. We just couldn’t hold on to it in the end. This park is on top of a hill, and every time a ball goes in the air, you hold your breath because it will fly.”
Georgia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second. Graduate Will David (3-for-5, 2 RBI) smacked a two-out double and scored on an RBI-single by junior Fernando Gonzalez (2-for-3, 3 RBI). In the third, Condon set the SEC freshman record for Home Runs when he blasted his 23rd, a two-run shot to put the Bulldogs in front 3-0.
Then, the Tigers responded in their half of the third, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four runs on three hits to take the lead. Georgia answered in the top of the fourth when David tied the game with his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot off the batter’s eye. Gonzalez followed with a walk, and then with two outs, graduate Mason LaPlante laced a double down the left field line that bounced around and allowed Gonzalez to score from first for a 5-4 advantage. Missouri went to the bullpen in right-hander Rorik Maltrud. Graduate Ben Anderson greeted him with an RBI-double to give Georgia a 6-4 lead. The Tigers got a run back on a solo home run by Matt Garcia in the bottom of the fourth.
In the fifth, Tate drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. With two outs, David came through again with a run-scoring double as the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 7-5. Missouri came right back in the fifth with a game-tying, two-run home run from Luke Mann, his 20th of the season. Following a hit by pitch, Georgia junior starter Liam Sullivan was lifted as the Bulldogs brought in Will Pearson. With two outs, Matt Garcia smacked a two-run double off the left field wall to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead. Then, Georgia brought in freshman Jarvis Evans who got the final out of the frame. In the sixth, Trevor Austin added a solo home run to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead.
In the seventh, Tate was hit by a pitch and Parks Harber lined a single to right. Cole Wagner had a nine-pitch at bat that resulted in a two-run double off the left field wall to pull Georgia back to within one at 10-9. Wagner went to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Gonzalez launched a go-ahead, two-run blast off Zach Franklin as Georgia regained a 11-10 advantage. It was the sixth home run of the season for Gonzalez. Condon led off the eighth with a base hit and then made his way around the bases on a pair of wild pitches and a throwing error by Morris to give Georgia a 12-10 lead. The Tigers made it a one-run game courtesy of a two-out, solo home run from Ross Lovich.
In the ninth, Georgia turned to freshman Leighton Finley. Mann drew a leadoff walk. Hank Zeisler hit a ball to centerfield that went off the wall for an RBI double as Mann scored to tie the contest. Morris followed with the home run for the final. Austin Troesser struck out five over the final 2.2 innings to improve to 5-3 while Finley fell to 2-2.
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:02 p.m. ET. The game will be available on SEC Network and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
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