Feb. 16, 2012
ATHENS----- Georgia opens the 2012 season at Foley Field Friday versus Presbyterian College. First pitch for the opener is slated for 5:30 p.m. The series continues Saturday and Sunday with games at 2 p.m. each day.
Fast Facts On The Bulldog Lineup and Rotation
Georgia welcomes back eight starters from last season headlined by senior Levi Hyams (.332-5-38 in 2011) at second base and junior Kyle Farmer (.308-8-58 in 2011) at shortstop. A familiar face in a new place is senior Colby May (.222-2-5 in 2011) as he moves from the hot corner to first base. A pair of freshmen to watch will be left fielder Hunter Cole and designated hitter Jared Walsh. Walsh will split time with junior Brett DeLoach (.263-5-27 in 2011).
The Georgia coaching staff returns in tact from a year ago with David Perno at the helm for his 11th season. Perno's assistants are Jason Eller, Allen Osborne and Jason Jacobs.
Redshirt-sophomore LHP Alex Wood (6-7, 4.44 ERA in 2011) draws the Opening Day start. When we last saw Wood, he was instrumental in extending Georgia's 2011 season. He tossed his first career complete game in beating Auburn 3-2 to keep Georgia's season alive in the SEC Tournament and then followed it up with eight strong innings in beating UALR 7-3 in an elimination game at the NCAA Corvallis (Ore.) Regional.
Senior RHP Michael Palazzone (10-5, 3.14 ERA in 2011) goes on Saturday. He is one of the top returning pitchers in the SEC after posting seven wins over ranked foes in 2011. During the SEC regular season, he went 7-2 with a 3.22 ERA and three complete games. Palazzone's wins include beating #3 Vanderbilt, #4 Florida, #5 Florida State, #9 LSU, #14 Arkansas and #24 Miss. State. He made the SEC All-Tournament team, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two appearances. On two days rest following a loss to #3 Vanderbilt, he went 4.1 innings and allowed one unearned run in getting a win in relief over #3 Florida to reach the SEC Tournament semifinals and qualify the Bulldogs for an NCAA at-large bid.
Georgia returns the rotation that it used down the stretch in 2011 anchored by Palazzone and Wood. However with closer Tyler Maloof (18 saves in 2011) sidelined with a right lat injury until March, junior Blake Dieterich (3-3, 3.67 ERA, 2 SV in 2011) will move to the bullpen/closer role instead of his projected No. 3 starter slot. Thus, redshirt-freshman RHP Taylor Hicks gets the first look at that weekend spot.
Georgia played the nation's toughest schedule last season and posted a 33-32 mark, reaching the finals of the NCAA Corvallis (Ore.) Regional. Georgia is preseason ranked in all four major polls including No. 11 according to Baseball America. The Bulldogs were tabbed to finished third in the SEC Eastern Division by league coaches. Florida is the preseason favorite to win the division and the league with two-time defending national champion South Carolina picked second in the East.
About PC: Since 1950, Georgia holds an 8-0 mark in the all-time series with Presbyterian which is located in Clinton, S.C. The first meeting came in 1951 (4-3 Bulldogs) and the latest in 2010. The Blue Hose served as the home opening opponent in 2010, an 11-3 Bulldog victory. Presbyterian is a member of the Big South Conference, and they went 24-32 last year. They are coached by Elton Pollock who is in his eighth year. They return seven starters including sluggers Brad Zebedis (.425-13-57) and Tony Micklon (.343-12-51) and top pitchers Bud Jeter (5-7, 5.76 ERA), Chandler Knox (4-4, 4.47 ERA) and Steven Richardson (6-4, 5.05 ERA).
Probable Starting Pitchers For The PC Series:
Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET
UGA: Alex Wood, LHP, RSoph. (6-7, 4.44 ERA) vs. TBA
Promotion: First 1,500 fans receive Georgia Baseball Schedule Magnets
Saturday at 2 p.m. ET
UGA: Michael Palazzone, RHP, Sr. (10-5, 3.14 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday at 2 p.m. ET
UGA: Taylor Hicks, RHP, RFr. (Debut) vs. TBA
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College
Play-by-Play: Jeff Dantzler, David Johnston
Station: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings)
Georgiadogs.com: All 3 games will feature live streaming video through the subscription-based GTV
Ticket Information: Reserved Seat Tickets: $8; General Admission Tickets: $5
Order online via www.georgiadogs.com or by calling 1-877-542-1231
Foley Field Ticket Booth: Open 90 minutes before each game
UGA Student Tickets: Free Admission with valid UGA Student ID Card
UGA Student Gate is located off Rutherford Street, Gates Open 90 minutes before each game
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