Bulldogs Start 16-Game Home Stretch Tuesday
Feb. 24, 2014
ATHENS-----Georgia begins a 16-game homestand Tuesday with Furman (3-4) at 4 p.m. followed by Ga. State (4-3) Wednesday at 5 p.m. and a three-game set with Binghamton (3-4) Friday. This past weekend, the Bulldogs dropped a pair of games at fourth-ranked Florida State, and the series finale was cancelled due to rain. Georgia is batting .259 (.200 with runners in scoring position) with a 7.62 ERA, however the defense has been excellent, fielding at a .986 clip. Georgia fielded a perfect 1.000 in the series at FSU, playing in front of more than 11,000 fans.
The Paladins, coached by Ron Smith, were swept at home by VCU while the Panthers, led by coach Greg Frady, went 1-2 in Oxford against Ole Miss. Georgia leads the series with Furman 17-5 and 39-6 over Ga. State, however both teams beat the Bulldogs last year (State 10-7 in Atlanta; Furman 7-5 in Athens).
Georgia senior RHP and co-captain Dylan Cole (0-0, 0.00) began his career as a two-way player at Furman. From 2010-11, he batted .213-8-36 in 63 games for the Paladins plus went 2-2 with 10 saves and a 3.14 ERA in 30 relief appearances. Cole sat out the 2012 season as a transfer before ending the 2013 season as the Bulldogs closer, going 0-0, 1.96 and 4 saves in 22 games. Cole's younger brother, Hunter, has been a starting outfielder for the Bulldogs since 2012.
Tuesday's pitching matchup will be senior LHP Patrick Boling (0-1, 3.38) versus Furman freshman RHP Matthew Quarles (0-0, 2.57). Boling saw his Sunday start at FSU rained out. Also, freshman RHP Robert Tyler (0-0, 1.69 ERA) will see action Tuesday. He made his starting debut against Kennesaw State last week and did not factor in the decision. In two outings this year, he has 5.1 IP and allowed one earned run with no walks and three strikeouts. On Wednesday, Georgia will start junior RHP Luke Crumley (0-0, 9.00) versus GSU junior LHP Kenny Anderson (0-0, 2.57).
Fast Facts On The Bulldog Lineup
*Junior Hunter Cole has enjoyed a fast start, batting a team-best .478-1-6 and displaying perfect fielding in 17 total chances in left field. Against #4 FSU, Cole hit .375 (3-for-8) with a double, home run and three RBI. He has hit safely in all six games this season. He 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.
*Junior SS Nelson Ward (.250-1-5) is fielding a solid .971 (1E in 35 chances). He batted .417-1-4 in the Ga. Southern. series and then went 0-7 with 3 BB at #4 FSU. He did not make an error in either series. Due to an injury to freshman Mike Bell, Ward is making his first career starts at SS. A two-year starter at 2B, Ward will remain at SS this week. With Ward at SS, Georgia has been platooning junior transfer Cody McCance and sophomore DJ Smith at second.
*Freshman centerfielder Stephen Wrenn is 4-for-4 in stolen bases this year to lead the squad. He is batting .240, has a five-game hitting streak and perfect fielding this year in 16 chances. He made his debut in CF in the seaon opener and batted leadoff against Ga. Southern. 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.
*Sophomore Jess Posey led the team with a .444 average in the series versus #4 FSU, going 4-for-9 with a home run and two RBI. It was the first home run allowed by the Seminoles this year. Posey's two older brothers played at Florida State. For the year, Posey is batting .280-1-6 in six starts at third base and fielding .800 (2E in 10 chances).
*Georgia aims to get a pair of projected starters back this weekend in shortstop Mike Bell and first baseman/pitcher Jared Walsh. Neither has played yet this season. Bell is on the mend from a broken hand while Walsh likely will see his first action on Saturday.
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