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
When the Canes challenge is to score one run, that’s a bad sign right? It’s my first game at Foley Field this season and I wouldn’t have much idea of what to expect were it not for the podcast with Kirk Carter this past week. Georgia has been decimated with injuries this season and plagued with an extremely ineffective and inconsistent pitching staff. Tonight doesn’t really change that recipe a whole lot, as today’s starter, Eric Swegman, possesses an 8.44 ERA and, as far as I know, Perno hasn’t hired some sort of witch doctor to heal our lineup. First pitch in a mater of minutes.
Clemson just jumped on each other in a half mosh half we-just-won-something-important manner and it creeped me out. Just sayin’. And with that, we’re underway.
Final score: Clemson 15 Georgia 5.
Bottom 9: Last chance for the Dawgs! There are new pitchers, fielders and batters. How nice. Kirk will be doing the post game FYI. I’m sprinting out of here.
We have actually tacked on a three more runs in this inning. Special moment for Lance Martin (Milton Alum) who gets his first career hit.
Top 9: I think every Clemson batter swung at the first pitch. Thank you.
Bottom 8: New Clemson pitcher is Mike Kent. Addison Johnson came in at center and Jason Stoltz is now in at third. Levi Hyams leads off with a single to right. Zach Cone strikes out. Shipman flies out to center. Farmer grounds out to short. Clemson, please follow suite.
Top 8: Mike Freeman drills a double off the wall. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! MAKE IT STOP!!!
Jeff Schaus walks and Freeman steals third. Annnnd we’re on to our 5th pitcher of the night. I wonder if that will be the next Canes challenge. In now is Cooper Moseley who also plays second base. Yep, it’s come to that. In fact, WUOG’s own Kirk Carter is currently warming up in the ‘pen.
Moseley gives up a high bouncer to Ruiz which he can only wait under while Parker scoots to second and Freeman jogs home. 11-2. Still no outs.
A wild pitch allows both runners to advance. This is getting silly. It’s like beating a one-legged horse. Can we just put it out of it’s misery?
Some quick fielding from Levi Hyams prevents a(nother) run from scoring as the infield was in. 1 down. Moseley walks Brad Miller to load them up. Note: I’m now live-streaming the UConn Stanford game.
Oh. My. God. John Hinson just hit a mammoth home run over the scoreboard in right field. Correction: Hinson just hit a mammoth Grand Slam over the scoreboard in right field. Bomb. 15-2 Clemson.
Pinch hitter in for C John Nester, Spencer Kieboom. Awesome name. Luckily he flied out. Inning over. Yay!
Comic relief: The Diamond Darlings are giving away Bulldog Beanie Babies. It’s actually quite difficult for them to find any Georgia fans left to toss the little Bulldogs too.
Bottom 7: Scott Firth relieves Leone who went 6 innings and gave up 2 compared to Swegman who went 0 innings and gave up 3. Ruiz grounds out to short. Glisson draws a walk. Peter Verdin knocks a single over third to put men on first and second.
Text gem from a Clemson fan: We are kicking your ass. Congrats on it only taking you 7 innings to notice. Exceeded my expectations from your fine institution.
And, as usual, when Georgia gets any semblance of hope, they immediately crash and burn. Easy 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning for Clemson. Queue mass exit from the student section.
Top 7: Wilson Boyd sends an easy grounder to short, booted badly by Farmer. Tried to backhand it — God knows why — and sent it to center. Boyd then steals center. Laughlin then DRILLS Brad Miller. And here comes’ the hook. Next in to pitch is Patrick Boling. A sac bunt from Hinson puts runners on second and third with one out. Boling then walks Lamb to load the bases. A sac-fly from John Nester allows everyone to tag and advance on some questionable defense from Georgia. It’s now 10-2 Clemson.
And Boling with a high heater to get the strike out to end the inning.
Overheard in the press box, “Why is Chase Davidson still on the team?”
Bottom 6: Zach Cone leads off the inning and is drilled by Leone. I was a bit suprised when no one was warming up in the last inning, but Clemson’s ‘pen is active now. Shipman flies out to right. Cone steals second which enables him to tag and get to third on a Farmer flyout to right. And Chase Davidson strikes out. Again.
Top 6: New pitcher for the Dawgs, Zach Laughlin. It’s just been announced that Georgia sold out tonight’s game which is extremely impressive for a weekday game especially considering our record. Mike Freeman is the first batter up and he’s the first strikeout victim for Laughlin. He walks the next Jeff Schaus who steals second. Kyle Parker then hits a moonshot to left and Schaus actually tries to tag from second to third despite the ball being in left and is thrown out by about 8 feet. Maybe they just want to get home.
Bottom 5: Johnathan Taylor with a nice hit to lead off the inning. Hope? No. Verdin flies out to left. Taylor steals second. Levi Hyams strikes out. Ugh.
Top 5: A ground ball, a single and two strikeouts. Good stuff from Earls.
Bottom 4: Zach Cone hits a triple…kind of. The centerfielder tried to make a diving play, so it’s technically not an error. Still, we’ll take it. And 4 or 5 more if you don’t mind. Shipman hits a sharp shot up the middle which is somehow fielded by 2B Mike Freeman who nails Shipman at first. It’s enough to bring in Cone, 9-2 Clemson.
Kyle Farmer with a liner up the middle. Here comes Chase Davidson who really needs a hit here for his confidence’s sake. He strikes out but Farmer is able to take second after running on a 3-2 count. He then snags third on a passed ball. It doesn’t amount to anything as Ruiz strikes out as well.
Top 4: Athletic play from 2B Levi Hyams to get the first out, followed by a split-second snag from Earls to get the second. If Georgia get the next batter, they’ll have had their shortest inning by about 18 minutes. And EARLS STRIKES HIM OUT! WOOOOOOO! (Too much? Maybe. But you have to celebrate the little things in a game like this).
Bottom 3rd: Big inning for Georgia as Kevin Ruiz gets the first hit of the game. I then dozed off, but Ruiz was on second and Peter Verdin drilled a liner to left to bring him in! Canes challenge accomplished! Dawgs now only trail by 8, 9-1.
Top 3rd: Quick inning for Georgia! A few ground balls get Earls out of the inning easily. I did get another text gem but it’s definitely too inappropriate.
Bottom 2nd: Robert Shipman goes down on strikes. You’ll forgive me if my updates becomes much less…well just much less. It’s getting tough to watch. Kyle Farmer and Chase Davidson have two extremely quick and weak at bats. With that, I’m off to get more food and investigate if they keep rum with the coke in the fridge.
Top 2nd: Note from Kirk Cater: I pray everyday that our entire pitching staff decides to transfer. I’m not sure if Kirk has ambitions to pitch for the Dawgs (because at this rate, there really wouldn’t be much of a drop) or just feels bad for my hands, but either way Esmonde just gave up a shot to right-center that bounces off the wall for a double. The runner (John Nester) is then brought in by a single to right from Chris Epps. Yes, that would be the same Chris Epps as last inning. And the same Mike Freeman from last inning hits a single up the middle to put runners on the corners with no outs. A lot of typing for me and a lot of math for you, but it’s 4-0 Clemson. The guys next to me: This hurts my eyes.
Jeff Schaus hits a line drive to left, bringing in another run. Clemson now leads 5-0, no outs, man on first and second.
I’m just going to start copy and pasting. Kyle Parker hits a line drive to left which brings in another run. 6-0 Clemson, no outs, man on first and second. Leone is pulled for Justin Earls.
New text gems: Obama could start for this team. Followed quickly by Whyyyyyyyyyy? The winner: I should have brought some drugs. Would have made this a lot more enjoyable. If you’d like to participate (in the text winners, not the drugs) feel free to text me 770-262-2529. I could use the laughs.
Wilson Boyd hits a shot to center which brings in another run. He did try to stretch it to a double and was thrown out. Clemson up 7-0, man on third, 1 out.
I’m not sure this is real, but I’m pretty sure Earls just struck out Brad Miller. Working on confirmation. As it stands now, there are two outs.
Things are back to normal as John Hinson drills a single up the middle to bring in another run. 8-0, 2 outs, man on 1st.
Think things can’t get any worse? Earls tries a pickoff attempt just as Hinson is stealing. Unfortunately, Shipman just…misses it, and Hinson ends up on third. A deep grounder to short would have ended the inning…if the throw was on time. It’s 9-0 on a error and a hit that didn’t leave the infield. This is unbelievable.
Earls finally ends the inning on a strikeout.
Bottom 1st: Just as it looked like RHP Leone might pull a Swegman, he comes back from a 3-0 count to strike Taylor out. Peter Verdin swings at the first pitch and it’s hit hard, but right at the second baseman. Hyams hits a weak grounder to short which is somehow misplayed badly (little league bad) and we have a runner! That much closer to free Canes…
To help maters, Leone then sends a pickoff throw into right field! Hyams takes second easily. But Zach Cone, who was touted by Chris Lakos in his pre-game notes (way to go, Lake) skies a pop-up into right to save Leone from any embarrassment (see top 1st) and Clemson still leads 3-0.
Top 1st: Yep, we’re definitely underway. Chris Epps drills a single up the middle on the second pitch. Expectations met. Epps seems to be bothering Swegman as he threw over twice and walked Mike Freeman on four pitches that weren’t close. And just like that, we have our first meeting on the mound from pitching coach Brady Wiederhold.
It didn’t help much. Swegman gives up a line drive down off the right field chalk for a bases-clearing double by Jeff Schaus. Clemson take the lead 2-0, man on second, no outs.
Kyle Parker is walked on four pitches. So Swegman has either missed badly or had them hit hard. Yikes.
Clemson fans are getting quite annoyed at the delays. Christian Glisson went out to the hill to calm his pitcher down and as soon has he got back to the plate, Coach Perno ran out to pull his starter. Steve Esmonde comes in to replace him and can hopefully put out the fire. He comes it with men on first and second, no outs, down two runs. His first pitch is a strike which draws a sarcastic applause from the fans. He then induced the double play ball he needed but Levi Hyams couldn’t field it cleanly and only got the man at first.
Brad Miller flies out to left which brings in the runner from third. Clemson up 3-0, two outs in the first.
John Hinson is walked. Will Lamb grounds to third and Kevin Ruiz applies the tag to the runner heading his direction. We’re out of the top of the first!!!!! Dawgs in a 3-0 hole as they come up to hit.