Bulldogs Face #4 FSU In First Road Trip Of Season
Feb. 20, 2014
Georgia dropped its 2014 season opening series to Ga. Southern and then fell to Kennesaw State to complete a four-game homestand at 1-3. Georgia is batting .259, averaging 6.2 runs a game and fielding .981. The Bulldogs have a 6.50 ERA. Opponents are batting .363 and 27 of their 39 RBI have come with two outs.
Game times for the FSU series are 4 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., and along with airing on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College, the series will be available via ESPN3. The Seminoles swept Niagara last weekend and won at Jacksonville this past Tuesday. They are batting .346, averaging 10.5 runs a game and fielding .963. They have a 2.31 ERA, and their weekend rotation has yet to allow a run, combining for 17 scoreless innings with five hits allowed, four walks and 15 strikeouts.
FSU leads the all-time series with Georgia 36-25, and the teams last met for a set in 2011 in Athens (FSU 2-1). The last visit to Tallahassee by the Bulldogs came in 2010 with FSU registering a three-game sweep. Georgia holds a 4-3 edge in NCAA postseason meetings including beating the Seminoles in a 2001 Super Regional in Athens and a 2006 NCAA Regional in Athens. FSU won a 2009 Regional game in Tallahassee over Georgia.
Georgia is under the direction of Scott Stricklin, who spent the previous nine seasons leading the Kent State program. Did You Know? Stricklin has never faced FSU as a head coach but played for Kent State against Georgia and the Seminoles in the 1992 NCAA Regional in Tallahassee. The Flashes beat Georgia 5-2 and lost to FSU 4-2.
Probable Pitching Matchups
G5 LHP #18 Ryan Lawlor, So. (1-0, 4.50) vs. #7 Luke Weaver (1-0, 0.00), RHP, Jr.
G6 RHP #3 Sean McLaughlin, So. (0-1, 21.60) vs. #37 Brandon Leibrandt (1-0, 0.00), LHP, Jr.
G7 LHP #38 Patrick Boling, Sr. (0-1, 3.38) vs. #17 Mike Compton (1-0, 0.00), RHP, RSo.
Fast Facts On The Bulldog Lineup
*Junior outfielder Hunter Cole (.533-0-3) hit .700 (7-10) with three doubles and three RBI in the GSU series. In game three, the Eagles opted not to pitch to him until his last bat as he had four walks including one with the bases loaded. In his final at bat, he smacked a double off the centerfield wall. Cole is projected as a premium pick in the 2014 MLB draft by several organizations. Baseball America rated him No. 78 nationally among college players. He is the lone Bulldog to hit safely in all four games this year and ranks among the SEC’s leading hitters.
*Junior infielder Nelson Ward (.385-1-5) batted .417-1-4 and played flawless defense at shortstop in the GSU series. Due to an injury to freshman SS Mike Bell, Ward made his first career starts at SS. A two-year starter at second base, Ward will remain at SS for at least another week. He is fielding .960 (1E in 25 chances). With Ward at SS, Georgia is platooning junior transfer Cody McCance and sophomore DJ Smith at second. Bell could be available to pinch-run in the FSU series.
*Sophomore LHP Ryan Lawlor (1-0, 4.50) earned a win in his Bulldog debut. A transfer from Middle Georgia, he started game two of the season and went six innings and allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts in an 11-3 win over GSU. He will get the Friday start at FSU.
Freshman Stephen Wrenn made his debut in CF and batted leadoff against GSU. He hit .167 (2-for-12) in the series, had 3 SB (in one game) and perfect fielding in 7 total chances. Before Wrenn, the last time Georgia had a freshman CF start a season opener was 2009 (Zach Cone) and to bat leadoff in a season opener was outfielder Johnathan Taylor (2009 in LF). Cone and Taylor would alternate in LF/CF that year. Before Wrenn, the last Bulldog to have 3 SB in a game was Taylor vs. Quinnipiac in 2009.
*Junior RF Conor Welton (.278-0-1) is one of three Bulldog regulars healthy for 2014 after missing 2013 due to injuries. Welton along with junior C/RHP Brandon Stephens (.444-0-0) and sophomore RHP Pete Nagel should contribute regularly. Welton batted .357 (5-for-14) in the season-opening series versus GSU.
*Sophomore 3B Jess Posey (.188-0-4) is the younger brother of former FSU standouts Buster and Jack.
*Three current Bulldogs have played against FSU in their career. Pitcher Patrick Boling (1 app., 1.1 IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 3K), catcher Brandon Stephens (2g, 1-4, SF, RBI) and outfielder Conor Welton (2g, 1-3, R, 2BB) saw action in the series in Athens.
*One of Georgia’s top players, sophomore LHP/1B Jared Walsh will miss the FSU series as he continues to serve out a nine-game suspension to start the season due to a violation of team rules. Walsh went from closer to the rotation last year, going 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA and 3 Saves in 17 appearances plus batted .297-3-26 in 47 games.
Radio/TV Information For The Series
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College
Play-by-Play: David Johnston
Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), georgiadogs.com
TV: ESPN3 http://es.pn/1ezwapt
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