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Georgia Falls To Fresno State, 6-1, In CWS Championship Game, Finish National Runner-Up
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OMAHA - The sixth-ranked University of Georgia baseball team ended the 2008 season with a runner-up finish at the College World Series, falling to eighth-ranked Fresno State, 6-1, in the championship game Wednesday at Rosenblatt Stadium in front of a crowd of 18,932.
"First, I have to tip my hat to Fresno State," Georgia head coach David Perno said. "They are a true champion. They did it the hard way with five games in five days. They did a great job and won the games that mattered. The NCAA ran a wonderful tournament. What a great experience that we will remember for a lifetime. The city of Omaha and its people, with the impact it has on us and our program while we were here, was just phenomenal. To our guys, just a group of guys who went 23-33 (last year) and set their sights that they were going to be here, and not only did we get here but we did a fair share of winning here. We just came up one short. It was unfortunate tonight. We had some opportunities and we hit some balls hard at those times but nothing fell for us. We just couldn't keep them in the yard."
"I'm going to miss those seniors, and I'm going to miss those juniors that were drafted," Perno added. "It was a heck of a group. It was a bunch of great leaders and great people, first and foremost. I'm just very proud of them. It's definitely a tough day for us right now."
Georgia, the 2008 Southeastern Conference Champion, was selected as the No. 8 national seed to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament and then won the Athens Regional and Athens Super Regional to earn its spot in the CWS. At the CWS, Georgia posted a win over top-ranked Miami and two wins over seventh-ranked Stanford to reach the best-of-three final series against Fresno State. Georgia won the opening game of the series 7-6, while Fresno State took the final two games, 19-10 and 6-1, to earn the 2008 National Championship. Georgia finishes this season's campaign with an overall record of 45-25-1, and Fresno State wraps up its 2008 season 47-31.
Starting pitcher Justin Wilson and right fielder Steve Detwiler led Fresno State to Wednesday night's victory. Wilson worked eight innings allowing just one run on five hits with nine strikeouts, while Detwiler went 4-for-4 with two home runs and drove in all six runs. Detwiler became just the fourth player in CWS Championship Game history to hit two home runs in a game. Detwiler's first home run was a two-run homer to right in the second. He added an RBI double in the third and then hit his second home run, a three-run long ball to left, in the sixth.
Junior All-American Gordon Beckham provided Georgia with its run in the eighth on a home run to left. It was an NCAA-leading 28th home run of the season for Beckham, sharing the title with Louisiana State's Matt Clark. He finished the game 2-for-4 bringing his 2008 hit total to 113, a new school record for hits in a season. Additionally, his final batting average this season was .411 (113-for-275) as he became the first Bulldog to hit .400 or better since 1982 when Buck Belue led the SEC at .447. Beckham also finishes this year with school single-season record for home runs (28), runs scored (97), runs batted in (77) and total bases (221). For his Georgia career, Beckham ranks first in home runs (53), second in total bases (491) and runs scored (201), third in RBI (182) and hits (263) and fourth in doubles (59).
Beckham's final at-bat at home in Athens at Foley Field was a home run against N.C. State in Super Regional action, and his last at-bat at the CWS was also a home run.
Wilson earned the win for Fresno State to finish 9-5 on the year, while junior Nathan Moreau took the loss for Georgia to close his season at 4-4. Moreau worked five innings allowing three runs, two earned, while walking just one and striking out four. Sophomores Dean Weaver and Alex McRee combined to pitch 3.2 innings in relief of Moreau, while senior All-American Joshua Fields entered to record the final out of the top of the ninth.
Fields finished this season a perfect 18-for-18 in save opportunities, and his 18 saves tied for the most in the nation with Southern Miss' Tyler Conn. He concludes his career with 41 saves, an SEC record that ranks tied for the sixth-most in NCAA history with former Texas star Huston Street.
Beckham and senior Ryan Peisel were both named to the 2008 Men's College World Series All-Tournament Team. Beckham finished the CWS with a .522 batting average (12-for-23) with two home runs, five RBI and seven runs scored. Peisel hit .407 (11-for-27) with two home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
The All-Tournament Team consisted of 11 student-athletes including Fresno State's Erik Wetzel (2B), Tommy Mendonca (3B), Steve Susdorf (OF), Detwiler (OF) and Wilson (P). The team was rounded out by Stanford's Jason Castro (C) and North Carolina's Dustin Ackley (1B), Tim Fedroff (OF) and Alex White (P). Mendonca, who batted .276 (8-for-29) with four home runs and 11 RBI, was named the Most Outstanding Player.
The total attendance for the CWS this year was 330,099, which set a new record for the event.

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