Georgia's Tough Slate Continues With #24 MSU Friday
March 31, 2011
ATHENS, Ga.-----The Georgia Bulldogs (11-14, 3-3 SEC) return to action Friday at Foley Field when it plays host to No. 24 Mississippi State (19-6, 4-2 SEC) in another pivotal SEC baseball series.
According to Boydsworld.com, Georgia has played the nation’s toughest schedule to date while Mississippi State’s strength of schedule ranks 164th. The Bulldogs pseudo-RPI is 30th this week while Mississippi State’s is 27th. It will be latest test for Georgia as they continue to play more ranked teams then any other school in the SEC. Georgia is 6-9 against top 25 teams this season.
Probable Starting Pitchers For The MSU Series
Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT
UGA: Alex Wood, LHP, So. (2-3, 3.86 ERA)
MSU: Devin Jones, RHP, Jr. (2-3, 3.86 ERA)
Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT
UGA: Michael Palazzone, RHP, Jr. (3-1, 2.15 ERA)
MSU: Chris Stratton, RHP, So. (4-1, 2.61 ERA)
Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT
UGA: Craig Gullickson, LHP, Jr. (2-1, 5.21 ERA)
MSU: Nick Routt, LHP, So. (0-0, 1.29 ERA)
Notes On Georgia: The Bulldogs, under the direction of David Perno, are home for the second straight weekend in the SEC after opening up league play at defending national champion South Carolina. Georgia has played only 11 home games this year, the fewest of any SEC team. This past Tuesday, Georgia fell 11-5 at 16th-ranked Clemson. Georgia is batting .261 as a team with nine home runs and a .968 fielding percentage. The team ERA is 4.84. In SEC games, Georgia is hitting .223 which ranks 12th. However, Georgia’s team ERA of 2.59 ranks fourth.
The Bulldogs top two hitters have been juniors Levi Hyams (.347-1-13) and Zach Cone (.300-1-11) while sophomore Kyle Farmer has a team-high 21 RBI. Georgia’s SEC rotation of Alex Wood, Michael Palazzone and Craig Gullickson has a combined SEC mark of 3-1 with a 2.46 ERA this year. They have 23 strikeouts and just five walks in 36.2 innings. Junior Tyler Maloof leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally in saves with eight.
Notes On Miss. State: Fresh off a sweep of #20 Auburn in Starkville, Miss. State entered the national rankings at #24 in Collegiate Baseball’s Top 25 Monday. The Bulldogs, led by John Cohen, are 19-6 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. They have won five in a row, avoiding a sweep against #2 Vanderbilt on March 20 in Nashville, then sweeping Auburn last weekend and blanking Alabama A&M this week in Starkville.
MSU is batting .308 with 11 home runs and fielding .975. They have a team ERA of 3.30. In SEC action, MSU is batting a league-best .293 while its 5.02 ERA is ninth.
Senior infielder Nick Vickerson leads the SEC in stolen bases with 17 and was caught for the first time this past Friday against Auburn. He is 17-for-18 on the year. Freshman second baseman Adam Frazier, a native of Bishop, Ga., who graduated from Oconee High School, made his debut as a starter in two games during the series with the Tigers. He is batting .375-0-6 in 11 games. Senior Jonathan Ogden is hitting .318 with four home runs and 23 RBI.
In records dating back to 1950, the series with MSU is tied 37-37. MSU won the series 2-1 last year when Georgia blew a 10-2 lead in the eighth inning of the Sunday contest. MSU won game one 9-8, scoring the go-ahead run on Georgia’s fifth wild pitch of the ninth. At one time in that game, Georgia led 7-1, then trailed 9-8 in the ninth and left the bases loaded to end the game. Georgia came back Saturday to win 7-4 and MSU claimed the series with an 11-10 win Sunday on catcher Cody Freeman’s walk-off single. He struck again this past Friday with another walk-off single to beat Auburn 7-6. Freeman is batting .364-0-16 this year.
The Johnathan Taylor Fund: Georgia junior outfielder Johnathan Taylor (J.T.) sustained a neck injury March 6 in a collision with outfielder Zach Cone during a game against #5 Florida State. On March 7, Taylor had neck surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens to stabilize his spine. On March 11, he was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where he is currently a patient.
To honor J.T., the Bulldogs are wearing “JT-2” decals on the back of their batting helmets; “JT-2” is painted on the Foley Field wall in left center; they carry a framed picture of J.T. with them for their dugout; Cone and Levi Hyams have worn Taylor’s #2 jersey in several games.
Fans can donate to the Johnathan Taylor Fund through the UGAA website, georgiadogs.com, or at each home game as Diamond Darlings will have a station set up outside the gates and will be in the stands collecting too. For more information, please click on this link:
Radio/TV Information For The MSU Series
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College
Play-by-Play: David Johnston, Jeff Dantzler
Station: 960 AM-WRFC
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 2 hours before each game
UGA Student Tickets: Free Admission with valid UGA Student ID Card
UGA Student Gate is located off Rutherford Street, Gates Open @ 5:00p.m.
Special Promotions For MSU Series
Friday: The first 1,000 fans will receive Georgia Sillybands as part of “Act a Fool Friday” seeing how it’s April 1st. Also, there will be a Clean Joke Contest and a Foolish Costume Award.
Sunday: After the game, kids will have a chance to run the bases.