I went to my first game at Foley Field this season having heard what to expect: The starting pitching was shaky, the lineup had several key injuries and the bullpen was getting overworked from large deficits and short starts. Within a matter of minutes from the first pitch, these factors all became glaringly obvious. Starter Eric Swegman failed to record an out and gave up three earned runs. He walked two men on eight pitches total and everything he threw over the plate was hit. Hard. Steve Esmonde was able to get out of the first inning without allowing any more damage, but he too failed to record an out in the second inning, allowing five more to come home. Justin Earls, Georgia’s horse out of the bullpen this season, cleaned up the mess, allowed one unearned run, and survived the next four innings without further damage. But the real damage was already done. (more…)
Welcome to Foley Field! Ok, so I’m actually not there yet. I’m currently in my Pop Culture class (hopefully Dr. Stahl isn’t a big baseball fan) letting you know that I’ll be running a tad late for the scheduled 5pm first pitch against Clemson, as this class doesn’t get out until 4:45 (UPDATE: not true, scroll down). Hopefully not too much will occur in the time I miss, but knowing our starting pitchers (or at least Kirk knowing and telling me on our podcast this weekend) I may be in trouble. Luckily, the fantastic Georgia SID Chris Lakos has emailed out some pre-game notes, so feast on those while you get ready for today’s contest.
Watch Out For That Cone: Sophomore CF Zach Cone, who owns a 17-game hitting streak, is showing why he is a top pro prospect for 2011 with stellar defense (48 putouts, 5 assists, 0 errors) to go with a team-best .385 average, 27 RBI, four triples and six home runs. During his streak, he is batting .377 (26-for-69 with 21 RBI). The Bulldog Hitting Streak Record belongs to Josh Hudson at 28 games in 1999. Since then, the next best belongs to Mark Thornhill who had a 26-gamer in 2001. Against #4 LSU, Cone hit .417 (5-for-12) with two home runs.
Hyams Solidifying Lineup and Defense: Sophomore INF Levi Hyams (.364-1-13) is healthy and making an impact. He posted the best offensive numbers in the Miss. State series at .467 (7-for-15) with four doubles and four RBI. Then against #4 LSU this past weekend, he batted .333 (4-for-12) with two doubles, a home run and 7 RBI. In SEC action, he is batting a team-best .385-1-12. He missed the first 12 games of the year due in part to a back injury. When he returned, the first five games were for defense as he either took pitches or bunted.
Strong First Half For Verdin: Before the 2010 campaign began, head coach David Perno tabbed sophomore RF Peter Verdin (.316-6-22) as the Bulldog most likely to have a breakout season. So far, Verdin has done just that, tying for the team lead with 6 home runs (5 solo), is 9-for-9 stolen bases and second in RBI with 22.
Perno Going For #300: At 299-225-1, head coach David Perno will be going for his 300th career win at Georgia. Now in his ninth season, Perno has taken the Bulldogs to four College World Series including the 2008 CWS Finals. He is looking to become just one of three Bulldog baseball coaches to register 300 wins; Jim Whatley (336-327-3 from 1950, ‘52-75) and Steve Webber (500-403-1 from 1981-1996).
Last season, Georgia was ranked #1 when it faced #17 Clemson. The Bulldogs swept the two-game series, winning 6-5 in Athens and then 4-2 the next night in Clemson. In 2008, Georgia registered an 11-3 win in Athens followed by a 6-4 win at Clemson. The Tigers won both meetings in 2007 (4-2 in Athens, 11-10 in Clemson). (Hopefully that trend will not continue…)
I’ll be back with lineups and updates as soon as I make it down to the game.
Well, turns out I have a couple of issues. First, the game doesn’t start until 7, so I’m rather early. Second, there isn’t a press pass for me at the media gate. So I suppose it’s lucky I’m here so early to work on getting into the media room. Anyway, if you don’t see updates here during the game, you now know why. Speak soon. Hopefully.
I finally made it into the Foley Field press box after a detour to East Campus to pick up a sandwich. Nice to be back here after about a year away from this place. Right now Clemson is taking BP and we have about an hour until first pitch. I’m going to get some water and cool off. Too much walking.
Johnathan Taylor LF
Peter Verdin RF
Levi Hyams 2B
Zach Cone CF
Robert Shipman 1B
Kyle Farmer SS
Chase Davidson DH
Kevin Ruiz 3B
Christian Glisson C
Eric Swegman RHP 8.44 ERA
Chris Epps CF (Addison Jordan)
Mike Freeman 2B
Jeff Schaus LF
Kyle Parker DH
Wilson Boyd RF
Brad Miller SS
John Hinson 3B
Will Lamb 1B
John Nester C (PH Spencer Kieboom)
Dominic Leone RHP 3.55 ERA