1999 REVIEW
Overall: 28-27; SEC: 8-22

Bulldogs Misfire Down the Stretch, Fall Short of Expectations Despite fielding perhaps its most talented squad in seven seasons, the Bulldogs fell short in their postseason hopes, finishing at 25-30-1 (8-20-1 in the Southeastern Conference). Georgia failed to win the close ones, especially in the SEC. The Bulldogs were 2-11-1 in league games decided by two runs or less and let some slip away, posting a 2-6 mark in games where they took a lead going into the ninth inning. Georgia had trouble winning on the road too. While the Bulldogs were 22-10-1 at home, they were just 3-20 away from Foley Field.

However, there was again improvement in the team's offensive production as well as defense. Georgia ranked among the national leaders in fielding and tied the school record for Best Fielding Percentage at .968, making just 69 errors. The 1989 and 1990 squads also fielded .968. Down the stretch, Georgia lost starting catcher freshman Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) and junior third baseman Mark Thornhill (.298-5-34) to injuries, and had they remained healthy, Georgia certainly would have set a new mark. Thonrhill was the SEC's top-rated defensive third baseman (.956, only six errors in 137 total chances) and Brooks was among the SEC's best at .986.

For the third year in a row under hitting instructor/recruiting coordinator David Perno, Georgia's team batting average improved. Georgia batted .313, which was the highest average since the 1987 team hit .325. The year before Perno arrived, the Bulldogs hit .265 and since then, Georgia's team batting average has steadily climbed from .299 (1997), .304 (1998) and now .313. Also in 1999, Georgia collected 633 hits and 991 total bases, which ranks third best in a season, and this comes in only 56 games as the record and second place teams in these categories both reached the postseason.

For the fourth straight year, Georgia did not qualify for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, and its league mark left them in 5th place ithe SEC and 11th overall. Georgia was 7-16-1 against teams ranked in the top 25. While the team did not reach its goal of a strong postseason showing, several Bulldogs put together outstanding seasons with a pair of juniors earning All-Southeastern Conference honors, the first two since 1996.

Here now is a look back at some of the highlights.

Rainwater Steps In and Step Up
Junior Brian Rainwater (.362-12-62), a first team All-SEC selection, put together one of the finest seasons in recent history, all in just 56 games as Georgia missed out on the postseason. The centerfielder, who came to Georgia after spending his first two seasons at Middle Georgia Junior College, ranked among the SEC leaders in total bases (157), doubles (23), triples (6) and RBI (62).In fact, the 157 total bases ranks second all-time in Georgia history with the record of 163 by J.R. Showalter in 1990, and he played in 71 games. Rainwater's 23 doubles and six triples is sixth best in school history and his 62 RBI is the most by a Bulldog since Showalter drove in a record 74 in1990. The speedy Rainwater (17-for-19 in SB) also gave the Bulldogs some stellar defensive play in centerfield, fielding .989 with just two errors in 138 total chances as he was the lone player to start in all 56 games.

Hudson Named Team MVP
Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.387-2-36, 14 SB and a .984 FLDG%) earned MVP honors for the Buldogs this season and was named Second Team All-SEC Offensively, he led Georgia in batting both overall and in SEC games where he hit .408-2-19. Defensively, he ranked as one of the top-rated second baseman in the SEC at .984 with just five errors in 311 total chances. During the year, he set a Georgia record with a 28-game Hitting Streak, which ranked fourth best in SEC history. Last season, Hudson hit .293-4-25 for the Bulldogs.

Keppinger and Brooks Make Strong Case For Freshman All-America Honors
Freshman shorstop Jeff Keppinger (.383-11-48) and catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) have already been mentioned as possible Freshman All-America candidates by Baseball America magazine in their midseason update. Now with the season over for the Bulldogs, it's safe to say they should get some serious consideration for this honor.

Keppinger, a native of Lilburn, started 55 games at shortstop and was among the SEC defensively leaders at .953 (only 13 errors in 276 total chances). In a win over Wake Forest, he had a school record 12 assists. His 88 hits ranks among the SEC leaders as well as seventh best in school history. He batted .370-3-23 in SEC games. He was edged out in the team batting title race by junior Josh Hudson who hit .387.

Brooks appeared in 42 games including 38 starts but missed the final 11 games of the season due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Still, the Phenix City, Ala., native, ranked second on the club in home runs with 12 including seven in SEC games. Among his first-year highlights, he tied a school record by hitting a home in five straight games.

Brand May Be Best Pitcher in the Country With a Losing Record
As the saying goes, if he didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. In a two-week span, senior right-hander Cliff Brand (4-7, 4.03) lost a game in the ninth inning on something he hadn't done all season until that night. Brand ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in ERA and basically had two bad outings all season but had just four wins to show for it, three of those coming against Top 25 ranked opponents (South Carolina, Ga. Tech and Miss. State). When he pitched, Georgia had a great chance to beat anybody.

Against LSU in Athens, Brand lost 4-3 on a bases-loaded wild pitch, his first wild pitch of the season. At Tennesse, Brand lost 4-3 on a bases-loaded hit by pitch. It was his second HBP of the year with the first coming when he hit the first batter of that game.

Bulldogs Set To Begin Fall Baseball Workouts

ATHENS-----There will be no shortage of Georgia baseball players at Foley Field Monday afternoon as a total of 63 student-athletes will begin fall practice at 12:30 p.m.

The group, comprised of 26 freshmen, 12 sophomores, 15 juniors and 10 seniors, are aiming for a roster spot on head coach Ron Polk's first Georgia team. The Bulldogs fall roster features 20 returning lettermen, 11 signees and two Division I transfers in pitchers Skip Browning (Clemson) and Scott Hudson (Florida State).

"We had a big turnout for our first meeting, and we're excited about getting started on the field," said Polk. "We're looking forward to evaluating the group."

Polk said fall practice will serve a three-fold purpose. First, the staff will make a complete evaluation of every player. Secondly, there will be a presentation of the sequence of fundamentals involving the offensive and defensive drills that will be a part of daily practices. Thirdly, an analysis of the capabilities of each player, identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Polk, who has amassed a career record of 1,043-486 (.682) in 26 seasons (22 at Mississippi State, four at Ga. Southern) as a head coach, was hired June 3rd to restore Georgia Baseball to national prominence. Georgia captured the national championship in 1990 but have had just three winning seasons since including only one NCAA Regional appearance (1992). Polk inherits a veteran team with seven returning starters but one that must improve on the mound and win on the road (Georgia was just 3-20 away from Foley Field).

Georgia lost two senior starting pitchers, but it has a young staff to build around including 25 pitchers on the fall roster. Georgia was 25-30-1 (8-20-1 SEC) last season. Its .313 team batting average ranked fourth in the SEC while the 6.12 ERA ranked 11th. Defensively, Georgia tied a school record with a .968 fielding percentage, which ranked second in the SEC and eighth nationally.

The Bulldogs return seven starters including two who earned All-SEC honors and two who were named Freshman All-Americans. These players are senior centerfielder Brian Rainwater (.362-12-62, 17 SB) second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.387-2-36, 14 SB), sophomore shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.383-11-48) and sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31). Fall practice will run for seven weeks. The 2000 season begins Sat., Feb. 19 when Georgia plays host to Marshall at 4 p.m.

Diamond Dogs Announce Three Additions to Recruiting Class
July 16, 1999

ATHENS-----The University of Georgia baseball program announced Friday three additional members of its recruiting class for the 2000 season.

Pitchers Jeffrey Carswell (Middle Ga. JC) and Andrew Hussion (Ga. Perimeter College) along with catcher Tony Burchett (Ga. Perimeter College) all signed a national letter-of-intent back in the spring period during former coach Robert Sapp's tenure.

Carswell, an Albany native and 1998 graduate of Deerfield-Windsor, spent his freshman year at Middle Georgia. The 6-0, 195-pound pitcher went 7-2 with a 4.00 ERA and two saves for the Warriors this past season. A second team All-Conference selection, he struck out 75 in 69 innings as the Warriors went 37-19 under Craig Young. Carswell was a four-year letterman in football and baseball at Deerfield-Windsor, earning All-State honors in both sports and was a key member of two state championship teams in baseball.

Hussion and Burchett signed with Georgia back in 1997, were redshirted and then spent the last two seasons at Georgia Perimeter College. Hussion, a Gainesville native, and Burchett, a Marietta native, were part of Coach Tom Cantrell's team that finished 43-18 and made their first trip to the national tournament since 1977. They won the GJCAA regular season championship as well as the tournament.

Hussion earned second team NJCAA All-American honors after going 10-0 with a 2.12 ERA while also batting .380-7-35 in the regular season. Burchett was a two-year starter at catcher. He batted .365-13-56 last season and .320-9-37 as a freshman.

Polk Completes Baseball Staff
July 13, 1999

University of Georgia coach Ron Polk completed his staff Tuesday with the hiring of administrative assistant/camp coordinator Steve Smith, joining assistants David Perno and Daron Schoenrock.

For the last three years, Smith has been an area scout for the Houston Astros, working in the Southeast. He also has been an owner/operator of "The Power Alley," a professional baseball instruction center. Smith has been involved in baseball at various levels ranging from high school to college to the professional ranks for more than 20 years. He served as a manager for Polk's teams at Georgia Southern.

"I am personally pleased that we have been able to hire Steve Smith as the baseball administrative assistant and camp coordinator," said Polk. "There is no one more qualified in the state of Georgia to assume this responsibility due to Steve's involvement as a high school and college coach, a pro baseball scout and a camp owner and instructor. His professionalism in everything he does will be a great asset to our coaching staff, but more important to our student-athletes here at the University of Georgia.

"With Steve Smith assuming this position in the baseball department, it will allow Coach David Perno to be a full-time coach on the field with Doug Sisson deciding to remain in professional baseball as a manager in the Montreal Expos organization."

After graduating from Georgia Southern in 1976, Smith spent 10 years as head baseball coach/physical education teacher at Campbell High School. His highlights included capturing the region title in 1982 and serving as Georgia Dugout Club President for six years. He also began working as a scout for the Cincinnati Reds organization from 1987-89. In 1989, he served as facility manager/director of instruction at Grand Slam USA and during this time was an assistant baseball coach at Southern Tech. In 1990, he also worked as a part-time scout with the Kansas City Royals until joining the Astros in 1996.

"It is a tremendous privilege to be a part of Coach Polk's staff at the University of Georgia," said Smith. "It is a dream come true as I have been a Georgia Bulldog fan for a long time. This is great for my family, and I'm looking forward to working with the Bulldog program." Smith and his wife Angela have one son, Nathaniel (2).

Sisson Named Assistant Baseball Coach
July 4, 1999

ATHENS----University of Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk completed his staff today by announcing the hiring of assistant coach Doug Sisson.

Sisson, who has spent the last nine seasons managing in professional baseball, comes to Georgia from the Montreal Expos organization where he was the Double A manager of the Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League. In two of the last three years, Sisson has been voted "Best Managerial Prospect" by Baseball America in their evaluation of managers at each level of professional baseball. He also was the 1998 recipient of the John McHale Award for excellence in player development presented by the Expos organizations. His teams have been highly successful including winning championships in 1996 and 1998.

"What a tremendous addition Doug Sisson will be to our University of Georgia baseball coaching staff," said Polk. "He has a proven record of success both at the college and professional level. His dedication to the coaching profession is evident by his being named two of the last three years as the best managerial prospect at this level of pro baseball. Doug will play a significant role in the day-to-day operations of the Bulldog baseball program and will be a coach that the players will totally respect due to his ability to teach and coach."

"My goal was to get back in college coaching, and this is a great opportunity for several reasons," said Sisson. "I'm looking forward to working with Coach Polk and the Georgia Bulldog program and be able to settle down with my family. I am excited about the challenge and I know we can return Georgia to annual championship contender in the Southeastern Conference, and I am looking forward to being a part of it. "

Sisson, a native of Titusville, Fla., played collegiately at the University of Montevallo, earning a bachelor's degree in 1986 and his master's degree from there in 19988. He began his coaching career in 1987, spending two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater which won the conference title in 1988. From 1988-1991, he was an assistant coach at Birmingham Southern, and they won the conference championship in his final year.

In 1991, Sisson began his career in the professional coaching ranks, working in the Texas Rangers organization for three years. As a hitting coach, his stops included the Butte Copperheads in the Pioneer League and then Port Charlotte in the Florida State League. His first managerial opportunity came in 1993 with the Erie Sailors in the New York-Penn League, and the following year as manager of Hudson Valley also in the New York-Penn League. He joined the Montreal Expos later that year and managed in the Colombian Winter League in 1994-1995.

In 1995, Sisson served as the manager of the Albany Polecats in the South Atlantic League, and in 1996, he won his first championship with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League. his club led the league in wins with 88, he was selected to coach the National League team in the All-Star game and was voted "Best Managerial Prospect" in the American League by Baseball America.

The following year, Sisson moved up to the Florida State league, managing the West Palm Beach Expos. He led the Sun Cities Solar Sox to the Arizona Fall League Championship in 1998 and the Jupiter Hammerheads to the Florida State League Eastern Division Championship in 1998. He was named the Florida State League Manager of the Year and selected to manager the East Division in the All-Star game.

Sisson is married to the former Crickett Haskins of Titusville, Fla., and they have one daughter, Tori, 2.

July 2, 1999

Perno Retained on Baseball Staff, Will Serve as Administrative Assistant/Camp Coordinator

ATHENS - University of Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk announced Friday the second member of his staff, retaining David Perno as an administrative assistant/camp coordinator.

Perno joins pitching coach Daron Schoenrock as the first two members of Polk's staff. He expects to complete his staff by next week.

"I am pleased David has agreed to remain with the baseball program here at the University of Georgia," said Polk. "As the administrative assistant/camp coordinator, he will be an important part of the staff, and I look for him to continue to provide great leadership in our program."

"I am very excited Coach Polk has given me the opportunity to remain on staff," said Perno. "I feel like the players we have brought in the last three years have helped rebuild the program, and I am looking forward to seeing them continue to develop."

An Athens native and Bulldog alumnus, Perno recently completed his third season as a member of the Georgia coaching staff, working as recruiting coordinator/hitting coach. The 1999 recruiting class gained national acclaim as it was ranked among the top 25 in the country by Collegiate Baseball. For the third year in a row, Georgiaas team batting average posted an improvement. The Bulldogs batted .313 in 1999, the highest since the 1987 team batted .325. Georgia has had three freshman All-Americans in the last two years (Mark Thornhill-1998, Jeff Keppinger and Doc Brooks -1999) as well as two players (Brian Rainwater and Josh Hudson -1999) earn All-SEC honors.

Prior to his return to his alma mater, Perno served as Robert Sappas assistant at Middle Georgia Junior College during the 1996 season. They posted a 58-9 mark and third place finish at the JUCO World Series. Perno worked with the pitchers and recruiting.

Following his playing career which included one season at Middle Georgia and three at the University of Georgia including on the 1990 national championship team, Perno served as an assistant coach at Marshall University for three years. While at Marshall, he received his masteras degree in Athletic and Health Education. From 1992-1996, Perno coached the Cortland (N.Y.) Apples in the Northeastern Collegiate Summer League.

He graduated from Georgia in 1991 with a degree in Marketing Education. He is a 1986 graduate of Clarke Central. Perno is married to the former Melaney Chastain of Athens, Ga.


June 30, 1999

Schoenrock Named Assistant Baseball Coach

ATHENS-----University of Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk announced Wednesday the first member of his staff, hiring pitching coach Daron Schoenrock.

Schoenrock (pron. SHONE-rock), a native of Fayetteville, Tenn., joins the Bulldogs from the University of Kentucky, where he spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Keith Madison. Schoenrock worked with the pitchers and catchers while also handling recruiting. Three Wildcat pitchers signed professional contracts this season and four recruits were selected earlier this month in the amateur draft. Schoenrock has spoken at numerous clinics across the country including the 1999 American Baseball Coaches National Convention in Atlanta.

"I am very pleased to announce the first staff appointment for our baseball program at the University of Georgia," said Polk. "Daron Schoenrock is not only an outstanding coach, but also a coach that the players will enjoy working with both on and off the baseball field. He will be the Bulldog pitching coach, a job he did so well the last two years at the University of Kentucky."

"A lot of coaches dream about coaching in the Southeastern Conference, and I'm excited about being a part of Ron Polk's staff at the University of Georgia," said Schoenrock. "I appreciate the opportunity I had to be a part of Keith Madison's staff at Kentucky. I'm looking forward to working with Coach Polk's staff and the players to return Georgia to the top."

Prior to his stint at Kentucky, Schoenrock spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Birmingham-Southern College under Brian Shoop. His highlights include improving the ERA every year and reaching the NAIA World Series in 1995. In the summer of 1995, Schoenrock earned a position as the short-season pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox's team in the Appalachian League.

A four-year stating pitcher and 1984 graduate of Tennessee Tech, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Golden Eagles in 1985. Schoenrock continued his coaching and graduate school work the next two years at Murray State University, earning his master's degree in 1987. From 1987-1989, he served as head baseball coach at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. He led the team to its first postseason appearance in five year and was named the 1989 Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Schoenrock is married to the former Carol Cawood of Harlan, Ky. The have one son, seven-year-old Erik.

 
June 23, 1999

Georgia's Jeff Keppinger Named First Team Freshman
All-American By Baseball America

ATHENS-----University of Georgia shortstop Jeff Keppinger is among the 15 players named to the 1999 Baseball America First Team Freshmen All-American team, the publication announced Wednesday. Georgia catcher Doc Brooks was a Third Team selection.

The 15-member team includes all nine positions plus five pitchers and a utility player. Keppinger, a native of Lilburn, was also a first team selection by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball earlier this month. He started 55 games at shortstop and batted .383-11-48. He was among the SEC defensive leaders at shortstop with a .953 fielding percentage (only 13 errors in 276 total chances). In a win over Wake Forest, he had a school record 12 assists. His 88 hits ranked among the SEC leaders as well as seventh best in school history.

Brooks appeared in 42 games including 38 starts but missed the final 11 games of the season due to a knee injury. The Phenix City, Ala., native ranked second on the team in home runs with 12 while hitting .286-12-31 overall. Among his first-year highlights, he tied a school record by hitting a home run in five straight games.

BASEBALL AMERICA FIRST TEAM FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICANS

Pos. Player, School                             AVG-HR-RBI-SB

 C Beau Craig, Southern California              .319-4-50-2

 1B Ryan Howard, Southwest Missouri State       .355-19-66-0

 2B James Jurries, Tulane                       .367-20-75-18

 3B Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech                 .387-13-65-11

 SS Jeff Keppinger, Georgia                   .383-11-48-4

 OF Shelley Duncan, Arizona                     .294-20-68-3

 OF Aaron Fausett, Vanderbilt                   .356-8-41-11

 OF Neal McCarthy, Providence                   .376-17-69-7

 DH Jeremy Brown, Alabama .                     .347-15-68-4

 UT Ben Diggins, Arizona                        .190-5-21-0

  

W L ERA IP H BB SO P Lenny DiNardo, Stetson 9 6 3.78 95 99 38 98 P Charlie Isaacson, Arkansas 9 0 3.16 100 72 53 97 P Josh Karp, UCLA 8 3 4.26 87 84 44 79 P Brian Sager, Stanford 6 0 4.17 81 83 35 70 P Blair Varnes, Florida State 11 2 3.84 103 104 16 75 UT Ben Diggins, Arizona 8 5 6.86 85 86 57 8


June 15, 1999

Pitcher Cliff Brand Signs With Duluth-Superior Dukes of the Northern League

ATHENS----University of Georgia senior pitcher Cliff Brand signed a professional contract with the Duluth-Superior (Minn.) Dukes of the Independent Northern League, the club announced Tuesday.

Brand, who signed as a non-drafted free agent, pitched for the Bulldogs the last three seasons, posting a career record of 11-14 with a 4.99 ERA. He made 43 appearances including 34 starts in his Georgia career after spending one season at Middle Georgia Junior College. He will join the team today as the Dukes face the Sioux City Explorers.

Brand, a 6-2, 205-pound native of Lawrenceville, was working as a public relations intern with the Atlanta Braves when he was contacted about an opportunity to play professional baseball. Brand was not selected in Major League Baseball's amateur draft held June 2-3.

The Northern League, which features 16 teams, plays an 86-game schedule from May 28-Sept. 1.

Brand is the second Bulldog to sign a professional contract this month. Senior outfielder/pitcher Chris Crawford, who was drafted in the 20th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, signed last week. He was assigned to the Hudson Valley Renegades, their short-season Class A team in the New York-Penn League. The Renegades begin their season Wednesday.

June 7, 1999

Georgia's Doc Brooks and Jeff Keppinger Named To Freshmen All-America Team

ATHENS-----University of Georgia catcher Doc Brooks and shortstop Jeff Keppinger were among the players recently named to the 1999 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American team, chosen by the staff of Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Brooks appeared in 42 games including 38 starts but missed the final 11 games of the season due to a knee injury. The Phenix City, Ala., native ranked second on the team in home runs with 12 while hitting .286-12-31 overall. Among his first-year highlights, he tied a school record by hitting a home run in five straight games. Brooks was one of three catchers named to the freshmen team, the other two were Notre Dame's Paul O'Toole (.318, 8 HR, 55 runs) and Iowa's Alex Dvorsky (.331-9-37). Brooks is playing in the Cape Cod League this summer.

Keppinger, a native of Lilburn, started 55 games at shortstop and batted .383-11-48. He was among the SEC defensive leaders at shortstop with a .953 fielding percentage (only 13 errors in 276 total chances). In a win over Wake Forest, he had a school record 12 assists. His 88 hits ranked among the SEC leaders as well as seventh best in school history. He was edged out of the team batting title race by junior Josh Hudson who hit .387. Keppinger was one of two shortstops named to the freshmen team, the other being Tennessee's Steve Daniel (.346-9-52, 30 SB). Keppinger is playing in the Central Illinois Collegiate League this summer.

Georgia has had 13 players earn Freshmen All-America honors with current third baseman Mark Thornhill a 1998 selection. The last time Georgia had at least two in one year was 1993 when Georgia had three in Brian Powell (RHP), Pete Arenas (SS) and Chris Stowers (OF).

The newspaper named a trio of players the 1999 Freshmen Players- of-the-Year. They were second baseman James Jurries (Tulane), third baseman Mark Teixeira (Georgia Tech) and pitcher Blair Varnes (Florida State). Jurries batted .374-20-79 while Teixiera hit .387-13-65 and Varnes went 11-1, 3.84 ERA.

June 4, 1999

Georgia Bulldog Amateur Draft Update:

With the amateur draft now complete, Georgia had one current player and three signees selected in the 50-round draft. Georgia senior outfielder/pitcher Chris Crawford was selected in the 20th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Georgia will extend its string to 27 straight seasons with at least one player signing a professional contract.

The three Georgia signees selected were shortstop Brandon Phillips (Redan HS, Stone Mountain), outfielder Condor Cash (Stephens County HS, Toccoa) and pitcher/outfielder Blake Bodenmiller (West Orange HS, Orlando, Fla.).

Georgia Draft Picks
Brandon Phillips: 2nd round, Montreal Expos
Condor Cash: 12th round, Chicago Cubs
Chris Crawford: 20th round, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Blake Bodenmiller: 38th round, Cincinnati Reds

June 3, 1999

Ron Polk Named New Head Baseball Coach At Georgia

ATHENS-----Ron Polk, who became the winningest baseball coach in SEC history while at Mississippi State, has been named the head coach at the University of Georgia, according to an announcement Thursday by UGA athletic director Vince Dooley.

"In Ron Polk, we have a coach of national reputation and accomplishment who has been totally committed to the game of baseball his entire life," said Dooley. "His record is just that - a record. But he also has had a major impact on the game in the SEC, nationally and even internationally. Through his great accomplishments at Miss. State, he would be considered by most as one of the very, very few most responsible for elevating the quality and level of SEC baseball to the best in the country. And he impressed me with his great passion to return to coaching especially as it pertains to the opportunities he sees at Georgia."

Polk is one of three coaches in the history of college baseball to coach three different teams in the College World Series. His first appearance came as an assistant with the University of Arizona in 1966 and then as a head coach with Georgia Southern in 1973 and then five trips with Miss. State (1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997).

"I am very appreciative of the opportunity Coach Dooley has given me, and I accept the challenge with great enthusiasm," said Polk. "I am excited about the opportunity to return to coaching on the collegiate level especially in a league as competitive as the SEC. Georgia has one of the premier athletic programs in the country, and I'm looking forward of being a part of the UGA family and making a contribution to its success."

Polk's career mark is 1,043-486 (.682) including 888-422 (.678) at Miss. State. His SEC record is 326-213 (.605). Polk is one of only 22 coaches to have won more than 1,000 games. He has had 112 players sign professional baseball contracts including 12 who played in the major leagues. He has coached 27 All-Americans and had 61 All-SEC players. His teams have finished nationally ranked in the top six a total of six times. In 23 of his 26 seasons as a head coach, his teams have been ranked in the Top 20 at some point in the season.

Polk's teams have made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, winning six regionals and finishing second five times. He won SEC titles in 1979, 1985 and 1987 and was named SEC Coach of the Year four times (1979, 1985, 1987, 1989). In his final year at MSU, he led the Bulldogs to the 1997 College World Series en route to a 47-21 record. Polk coached at MSU from 1976-1997 for a total of 22 seasons. In 1999, Baseball America named him the sixth greatest college baseball coach in history.

Polk has always placed a great emphasis on academics. During his tenure at Miss. State, his players earned Academic All-SEC honors 112 times. In that span, the next highest total for any SEC team was 62.

He also has extensive international experience including seven tours on the USA National Baseball Team coaching staff, serving as the head coach twice and as an assistant five times. He was a part of two United States Olympic Games staffs, the gold-medal winning 1988 team in Seoul, South Korea and the 1996 bronze-medal winning team in Atlanta.

In 1997, MSU renamed their baseball facility Dudy Noble Field, Polk-Dement Stadium in honor of their coach and Gordon Dement, a longtime MSU baseball supporter. Since turning over the program to Pat McMahon, Polk has remained at MSU as an assistant athletic director in fundraising. He spearheaded the ambitious project of expanding seating by more than 1,000 at the baseball facility, including the addition of 18 sky boxes.

Polk was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995 and the State of Mississippi and Miss. State Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Polk has written 23 articles on baseball in various publications and has authored two textbooks -- "The Baseball Playbook" and "The Softball Playbook."

Polk is a 1965 graduate of Grand Canyon (Ariz.) College. He earned his masters degree from the University of Arizona in 1966 where he began his coaching career. The following season, he spent a year as an assistant at the University of New Mexico and worked on a doctorate. He left New Mexico for an assistant's position at Miami-Dade South Community College from 1968-71. He landed his first head coaching position at Georgia Southern in 1972, spending four seasons there before moving on to Miss. State in 1976.

June 2, 1999

Chris Crawford and Two Signees Selected
In First Day of Amateur Baseball Draft

ATHENS-----University of Georgia senior Chris Crawford along with two signees were selected Wednesday in the early rounds of the amateur baseball draft.

Crawford, a 6-3, 210-pound senior outfielder/pitcher from Marietta, was selected in the 20th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Georgia signees Brandon Phillips (Redan HS, Stone Mountain) and Condor Cash (Stephens Co. HS, Toccoa) were also picked. Phillips was drafted in the second round by the Montreal Expos while Cash was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round.

Phillips becomes the latest high-profile Bulldog signee to get drafted in the top five rounds. Catcher Jayson Werth (Baltimore Orioles) signed a professional contract in 1997 after being a first round pick while last year Bulldog signee J.D. Closser, a catcher, was drafted in the fifth round and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Georgia lost five signees to the draft in 1997 and three in 1998.

Crawford, a four-year starter in his career as a pitcher and outfielder, said he was excited about having the opportunity to play professional baseball. After being projected as one of the top two-way collegiate players in 1998, Crawford missed a majority of his junior year with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and went undrafted. This past season, he played exclusively in the outfield, appearing in 54 games including 52 starts, batting .299-13-41.

"It's been a dream of mine to play pro ball, and now I have that chance," said Crawford who got the call from the Devil Rays around 6 p.m. "It was tough last year when I got hurt and couldn't pitch or even play, but I came back, worked hard and got my arm in shape. It feels good right now."

In his career, Crawford batted .290 with 32 home runs and 134 RBI in 176 games but the Devil Rays drafted him as a pitcher. On the mound, he went 1-2 with five saves and a 5.87 ERA in 25 career appearances.

A total of 22 rounds were completed Wednesday and rounds 23-50 will be held Thursday. A couple of Bulldogs who may get a call include senior pitcher Cliff Brand and juniors Brian Rainwater (OF) and Josh Hudson (2B/C).

May 26, 1999

Sapp Relieved of Coaching Duties;
Will Assume Development Role

ATHENS-----University of Georgia baseball coach Robert Sapp has been relieved of his coaching duties but will remain on the Bulldog staff next year in a development and fund raising capacity according to an announcement Wednesday by UGA athletic director Vince Dooley. Sapp, a Georgia graduate, has coached the Bulldogs the past three seasons.

"Robert and I have been talking over the past two weeks in trying to evaluate the status of our program, said Dooley. "I don't think there is any doubt that we have closed the gap between our baseball program and the upper echelon of the SEC. However, with one year left on his contract, I did not think we could commit to a long term agreement nor would it be fair to put him under the pressure to win that would exist next season.

"On the other hand, we are pleased that Robert has agreed to remain with the Athletic Association in a development and fund raising capacity next year. He has done an outstanding job in developing some fund raising programs to improve our baseball facility. He'll be able to complete some of this work along with the possibility of becoming involved in some non-baseball activities. Robert has been a very loyal member of our staff and is known around the country for his career in baseball especially the magnificent record he compiled at Middle Georgia. He's been in the state system for 35 years and I know has contemplated retirement, but we do look forward to what he can continue to offer the Athletic Association and the University."

"It's been a tough three years for me because I'm not used to losing," said Sapp. "I'm disappointed especially for this past year because we had a good team and I know we have a good base of talent now. We had a couple good years of recruiting, and it won't be long before Georgia will be competitive in the SEC. I'm looking forward to working in my new position and remaining at Georgia, and I'll do what I can to improve the program."

Sapp compiled a record of 77-87-1 in his three seasons at Georgia. His SEC record was 24-63-1. Sapp's first team went 28-27 (8-22 SEC), which marked the first time in four years that the Bulldogs ended the year above the .500 mark. In 1998, the Bulldogs finished 24-30 (8-21 SEC), the first losing season for Sapp in 22 years as a head coach. In 1999, Georgia posted a 25-30-1 (8-20-1 SEC) mark.

As the Georgia head coach, Sapp was instrumental in increasing support for the program with various fundraising efforts through the Bulldog Diamond Club, an organization he founded. In 1998, phase one of a renovation project at Foley Field, which included a new locker room and players lounge, was completed along with the installation of a new sound system. The next phase includes a state-of-the-art hospitality and study room. The average attendance at home games has increased slightly each year from 1,145 in his first season to 1,160 in 1998 and 1,196 in 1999. Prior to Sapp's arrival, Georgia's average home attendance in 1996 was 782.

This past season, Georgia had two players earn All-SEC honors (1st Team OF-Brian Rainwater and 2nd Team 2B-Josh Hudson), the first two for the Bulldogs since 1996. Defensively, Georgia went from having the worst fielding percentage in school history to tying the school record for the best mark. In Sapp's first season, Georgia had a .938 Fielding Percentage and made a record 131 errors while in 1999, Georgia ranked among the nation's best fielding teams at .968 with just 69 errors.

Sapp, 58, was hired in June, 1996, and was the 21st coach in Georgia baseball history. Sapp came to Georgia from Middle Georgia Junior College where he spent 20 years, winning four national titles (1979-80-82-95) and put together a record 890-181. In 1995, he was inducted into the National Junior College Baseball Hall of Fame. Sapp, a Georgia graduate and baseball lettermen from 1961-63, was the second winningest coach in junior college.

May 18, 1999

Rainwater and Hudson Earn All-SEC Honors

ATHENS-----Georgia junior centerfielder Brian Rainwater earned First Team All-SEC honors and junior second baseman Josh Hudson made the All-SEC Second Team, the league announced Tuesday.

Rainwater, a 6-1, 195-pound native of Leesburg, Ga., put together one of the finest seasons in recent history, all in just 56 games as Georgia missed out on the postseason. The centerfielder ranks among the SEC leaders in several categories including third in total bases (157), third in doubles (23), first in triples (6) and fifth in RBI (62). In fact, the 157 total bases ranks second all-time in Georgia history with the record of 163 by J.R. Showalter in 1990, and he played in 71 games. Rainwater's 23 doubles and six triples is sixth best in school history and his 62 RBI is the most by a Bulldog since Showalter drove in a record 74 in 1990. The speedy Rainwater (17-for-19 in SB) also gave the Bulldogs some stellar defensive play in centerfield, fielding .989 with just two errors in 138 total chances as he was the lone player to start in all 56 games.

"Brian and Josh had great years for us both offensively and defensively," said Georgia coach Robert Sapp. "Brian was valuable at the plate, and you think about his defense too especially how he ran down some balls for us. When he had a good game, it seemed like we would win those games.

"Josh was the hardest worker on the team and very versatile as he we needed him to catch down the stretch. He started the year batting ninth and got off to a slow start, but he really matured. He worked hard and ended up hitting number two for us and had the best batting average plus the record hitting streak. They both played a big part in helping us tie the school record for best fielding percentage."

Hudson, a 6-0, 180-pound native of Columbus, was named the team's MVP after batting .387-2-36 with 14 stolen bases. Offensively, he led Georgia in batting both overall and in SEC games where he hit .408-2-19. His SEC batting average ranked third best in the league. Defensively, he ranked as one of the top-rated second baseman in the SEC at .984 with just five errors in 311 total chances. Also earlier this year, he set a Georgia record with a 28-game hitting streak, which ranked fourth best in SEC history.

Rainwater and Hudson are the first two Bulldogs to earn All-SEC honors since 1996 when outfielder Chris Stowers was a First Team selection. Georgia finished up 25-30-1 this season.

ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM

1B - Cliff Wren, Miss. State

2B - Brad Henderson, Ole Miss

3B - Hunter Bledsoe, Vanderbilt

SS - Andy Phillips, Alabama

 C - Casey Dunn, Auburn

OF - G.W. Keller, Alabama

OF - Brian Rainwater, Georgia

OF - Brian Wiese, Miss. State

DH - Tim Angiolini, South Carolina

 P - Brent Schoening, Auburn

 P - Charlie Isaacson, Arkansas

 P - Ben Grezlovski, Florida

 

ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM

2B - Josh Hudson, Georgia


May 17, 1999

Bulldogs Tie Fielding Percentage Mark

For the fourth straight year, Georgia did not qualify for the SEC Tournament, and its 8-20-1 league mark left them in 5th place in the SEC and 11th overall.

While the Bulldogs fell short in their postseason hopes, there was again improvement in the team's offensive production as well as defense. Georgia tied the school record for Best Fielding Percentage at .968, making just 69 errors. The 1989 and 1990 squads also fielded .968. Down the stretch, Georgia lost starting catcher freshman Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) and junior third baseman Mark Thornhill (.298-5-34) to injuries, and had they remained healthy, Georgia certainly would have set a new mark. Thonrhill was the SEC's top-rated defensive third baseman (.956, only six errors in 137 total chances) and Brooks was among the SEC's best at .986.

For the third year in a row under hitting instructor/recruiting coordinator David Perno, Georgia's team batting average improved. Georgia batted .313, which was the highest average since the 1987 team hit .325. The year before Perno arrived, the Bulldogs hit .265 and since then, Georgia's team batting average has steadily climbed from .299 (1997), .304 (1998) and now .313. Also in 1999, Georgia collected 633 hits and 991 total bases, which ranks third best in a season, and this comes in only 56 games as the record and second place teams in these categories both reached the postseason.

Hudson Has All-America Caliber Season

Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.387-2-36, 14 SB and a .984 FLDG%) earned MVP honors for the Bulldogs this season and is a strong candidate to earn All-SEC and All-America honors. Offensively, he led Georgia in batting both overall and in SEC games where he hit .408-2-19. Defensively, he ranks as one of the top-rated second baseman in the SEC at .984 with just five errors in 311 total chances. Also earlier this year, he set a Georgia record with a 28-game Hitting Streak, which ranked fourth best in SEC history. Last season, Hudson hit .293-4-25 for the Bulldogs.

Rainwater Among SEC Offensive Leaders

Junior All-SEC candidate Brian Rainwater (.362-12-62) put together one of the finest seasons in recent history, all in just 56 games as Georgia missed out on the postseason. The centerfielder ranks among the SEC leaders in total bases (157), doubles (23), triples (6) and RBI (62). In fact, the 157 total bases ranks second all-time in Georgia history with the record of 163 by J.R. Showalter in 1990, and he played in 71 games. Rainwater's 23 doubles and six triples is sixth best in school history and his 62 RBI is the most by a Bulldog since Showalter drove in a record 74 in1990. The speedy Rainwater (17-for-19 in SB) also gave the Bulldogs some stellar defensive play in centerfield, fielding .989 with just two errors in 138 total chances as he was the lone player to start in all 56 games.

Keppinger, Brooks Make Case for Freshman All-America

Freshman shorstop Jeff Keppinger (.383-11-48) and catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) have already been mentioned as possible Freshman All-America candidates by Baseball America magazine in their midseason update. Now with the season over for the Bulldogs, it's safe to say they should get some serious consideration for this honor.

Keppinger, a native of Lilburn, started 55 games at shortstop and was among the SEC defensively leaders at .953 (only 13 errors in 276 total chances). In a win over Wake Forest, he had a school record 12 assists. His 88 hits ranks among the SEC leaders as well as seventh best in school history. He batted .370-3-23 in SEC games. He was edged out in the team batting title race by junior Josh Hudson who hit .387.

Brooks appeared in 42 games including 38 starts but missed the final 11 games of the season due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Still, the Phenix City, Ala., native, ranked second on the club in home runs with 12 including seven in SEC games. Among his first-year highlights, he tied a school record by hitting a home in five straight games.

May 10, 1999

Hudson Putting Together All-America Season

Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.392-2-33, 13 SB) posted another impressive weekend, batting .563 in the LSU series. Hudson, a Columbus native, who has taken over catching duties with the injury to Doc Brooks, went 9-for-16 against the Tigers to improve his SEC batting average to .420, tops on the club and among the leaders in the SEC. Defensively, he is one of the top-rated second baseman in the SEC at .983 with just five errors on the year. Also earlier this year, he set a Georgia record with a 28-game Hitting Streak, which ranked fourth best in SEC history. Last season, Hudson hit .293-4-25.

All-SEC Candidate Rainwater Leads League in Total Bases

Junior centerfielder Brian Rainwater (.367-12-60) leads the SEC in total bases with 148 and ranks among league leaders in RBI with 60. Both those totals are team-highs. His 60 RBI is the most by a Bulldog since J.R. Showalter drove in a record 74 in the 1990 national championship season. His 148 total bases already ranks fifth best in school history and Georgia has four games left in its season.

Brand May Be Best in Country With Losing Record

As the saying goes, if he didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. For the second straight week, senior right-hander Cliff Brand (4-6, 3.63) lost a game in the ninth inning on something he hadn't done all season until that night.

Brand ranks among the top five in the SEC in ERA at 3.63 and has basically had one bad outing all season but has just four wins to show for it, three of those coming against Top 25 ranked opponents (South Carolina, Ga. Tech and Miss. State).

Against LSU Friday in Athens, Brand lost 4-3 on a bases-loaded wild pitch, his first wild pitch of the season. Two weeks ago at Tennessee, Brand lost 4-3 on a bases-loaded hit by pitch. It was his second HBP of the year with the first coming when he hit the first batter of that game.

"It's disappointing, but all I can do is try and give us a chance to win," said Brand.

Brand has excellent command with 89 strikeouts and just 23 BB in 91.2 IP. He has five complete games with tough-luck losses @ Alabama (4-2), @ Kentucky (3-1), to Florida (6-5).

After the game Friday, LSU coach Skip Bertman said, "I was very impressed with Cliff Brand. I've seen him for three years now, and he's got a great curveball. We did well to get the nine hits that we did."

Brand allowed four runs on nine hits, walked four and struck out nine in the loss to the Tigers.

Bulldogs and Tigers Play to an 11-11 Tie

For the first time since the SEC passed a 1994 rule regarding visiting team travel departure priority, a league game ended in a tie. This past Sunday, the Georgia-LSU game ended in an 11-11 tie after nine innings, thanks in part to a pinch-hit two-run home run by freshman Adam Swann in the bottom of the ninth.

Back in 1993, a pair of SEC Sunday games ended when visiting teams left before the end of the contest in order to make a flight. The first of those was a game in Baton Rouge involving LSU and South Carolina. Consequently, in 1994 a rule was put in that allowed teams to set a time on Sunday when an inning could not start and when the game would end with respect to the visiting team's departue due to travel. On Sunday, LSU had a commercial flight from Atlanta back to Baton Rouge at 7:30, and the agreed time no inning could begin after was 4:30 p.m.

Georgia rallied back from a 11-5 eighth-inning deficit to score six times in the final two frames highlighted by Swann's homer. The ninth ended at 4:47 and so the game ended in a tie.

Georgia coach Robert Sapp, who has coached more than 1,200 games in his 23-year career as a head coach, said he had never been involved in a tie.

"I don't even know what you're supposed to do about a tie. Do you congratulate them or do you feel sorry for yourself? Whatever, I just thought it was a great comeback. It's a shame we couldn't get one more run."

Swann said Sapp told him he was going to pinch-hit in the eighth or ninth.

"He (Sapp) told me to get on base, but a home run would be nice," said Swann.

It was the first tie game for the Bulldogs since 1984 when they tied Florida 9-9 in game two of a seven-inning doubleheader in Athens that actually went nine innings before being called due to darkness. Georgia added lights to Foley Field the following year - 1985.

May 3, 1999

Bulldogs Host Surging LSU

Georgia (25-24, 8-15 SEC) returns to action Friday for the first of a three-game SEC series when it plays host to nationally-ranked LSU (32-17, 14-10 SEC). The Tigers swept No. 9 Auburn this past weekend in Baton Rouge.

Last week, Georgia went 1-4, falling to Ga. Tech 8-1, defeating Samford 15-3 and then dropped three to Tennessee in Knoxville including a pair of one-run decisions.

LSU holds a 35-8 advantage in the series with Georgia in games dating back to 1975. The Tigers have won 14 of the last 15 meetings going back to 1994. Georgia's last win came in Athens in 1997, a 11-9 victory, snapping the Tigers' 27-game winning streak. Georgia last won a series versus LSU in 1987 here in Athens.

Inside the Numbers: Road Woes Continue

No one can explain it but if Georgia didn't have to go on the road, it could have a great record. Georgia is 22-7 at home this season but just 3-17 away from Foley Field. Georgia dropped four more road games last week, one at Ga. Tech and three at Tennessee.

Then if you want to bang your head on the wall some more, consider where Georgia would be in the SEC East race had it fared better in close games. The Bulldogs' SEC mark of 8-15 could be a lot better considering the Bulldogs are 2-10 in league games decided by two runs or less.

Keppinger and Brooks are Freshman All-America Candidates

Shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.385-9-41) and catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) are listed among Freshman All-America candidates by Baseball America magazine in their latest issue.

While Keppinger leads the Bulldogs in batting, his defense has been just as impressive. The Lilburn native ranks second among SEC SS in fielding .at 959 with only 10 errors on the year. He could set the Bulldog record for Best Fielding Percentage by a shortstop. The mark is .963 by J.R. Showalter in 1988.

Freshman catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) leads the club in home runs with 12 and seven of those have come in SEC games while Keppinger is hitting .366-2-17 in league contests. Brooks' season appears to be over after he sprained his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee while blocking the plate in a game with Ga. Tech last Tuesday. He will be out four to six weeks.

With Brooks out, junior Josh Hudson (.377-1-28), an All-SEC candidate as a second baseman, takes over catching duties. The Columbus native is enjoying his finest collegiate season which includes a career-high batting average (.377), RBI (28), SB (11) and Fielding Percentage (.981). He ranks among the SEC leaders in batting in league games at .396-1-12.

April 28, 1999

Brooks Out Four to Six Weeks

ATHENS-----University of Georgia catcher and Freshman All-America candidate Doc Brooks will miss the next four to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL), head coach Robert Sapp announced Wednesday. No surgery will be required.

Brooks, a 6-0, 190-pound native of Phenix City, Ala., injured his left knee in the first inning of the Ga. Tech contest Tuesday. Brooks was blocking the plate when Yellow Jacket centerfielder Matthew Boggs attempted to score.

Brooks currently leads the team in home runs with 12 and ranks third in RBI with 31. He is batting .286. Brooks has appeared in 42 of Georgia's 45 games this season including 38 starts at catcher. In the latest issue of Baseball America magazine, Brooks was listed as a probable First Team Freshman All-American based on his season to date. Brooks tied a Georgia record by hitting a home run in five straight games earlier this season. Brooks hit a home run in first collegiate at bat, the first Bulldog to do that since Andy Johnson in 1971.

"Doc has meant a lot to our team this season, and this is a big blow," said Sapp. "It is unfortunate he will be out four to six weeks. "Injuries happen, and we'll look for some of his teammates to help fill the void."

With Brooks out, Georgia will most likely move starting second baseman Josh Hudson, a junior, to catcher with sophomore David Lamberth filling in at second base. Hudson, who ranks second in fielding percentage among SEC second baseman at .978, has been the team's backup catcher for the past two seasons.

April 26, 1999

Fries Suspended from Baseball Team

ATHENS-----University of Georgia baseball coach Robert Sapp has suspended freshman Tim Fries from the team following his arrest on Sunday.

"The University of Georgia has learned of the recent arrest of Tim Fries on April 25, 1999, for a violation of Georgia law," said Sapp. "As a result, Tim has been immediately suspended from the baseball team by me, pending further investigation of the incident by the Athletic Association."

The 6-2, 190-pound pitcher from Augusta was 2-1 with a 5.84 ERA in nine appearances this season.

April 26, 1999

Bulldogs Look to Keep Rolling

Georgia (24-20, 8-12 SEC), winners of five of its last six games, returns to action Tuesday at Ga. Tech (29-15). The contest will be televised live by Fox Sports South at 7 p.m.

This past week, Georgia went 4-1, sweeping a pair from Ga. Southern and then winning two out of three from visiting Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs will play host to Samford Wednesday and then hit the road to Knoxville to resume SEC play with Tennessee (22-24, 5-16).

Georgia has split the first two games with the Jackets, each team winning their home game. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Jackets 177-128-1 in records dating back to 1898. They have faced Samford just once prior, coming last year in a 14-3 victory while the Volunteers have the edge in the series 88-74.

Georgia is 21-7 at home and just 3-13 away from Foley Field. The SEC mark of 8-12 could be a lot better considering the Bulldogs are 2-8 in league games decided by two runs or less.

Dorminy Giving Dogs Punch at First

Junior Josh Dorminy (.374-7-25) began the year in a platoon in right field and designated hitter but has since taken over at first base. The 6-1, 210-pound native of Leesburg, Ga., transferred to Georgia this past season from Middle Ga. JC. During his days with the Warriors, he played OF/1B but worked exclusively in the fall in the outfield. Georgia was looking to juniors Hoovey McGuirt and Chris Hays to be the first baseman.

While both did the job defensively, neither hit very well (McGuirt .187-1-8 and Hays .224-2-15) and so Dorminy got his chance starting on April 13. He has been there ever since and given a huge boost to the Bulldog offense. Since becoming the starting first baseman, Dorminy is batting .500 (19-for-38) with 4 home runs, 13 runs scored and 14 RBI in a nine-game span. Against Ga. Southern, he tied the school record for total bases in a game with 13, also done by Kerry St. Clair versus Vanderbilt back in 1985.

Bulldogs Boast Two Freshman All-America Candidates

Freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.398-8-37) currently owns a career-best 16-game hitting streak and is batting a team-high .398 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI. Defensively, the Lilburn native ranks second among SEC SS in fielding .at 958 with only nine errors on the year. In SEC play, he is hitting .367-1-15. Freshman catcher Doc Brooks (.286-12-31) leads the club in home runs and ranks third in RBI with 31. Seven of Brooks' home runs have come in SEC games. Keppinger and Brooks were listed among Freshman All-America candidates by Baseball America in a midseason update in their latest issue.

April 21, 1999

Diamond Dogs Add Three More Signees

ATHENS-----Bulldog baseball coach Robert Sapp announced Wednesday the signing of three more players to national letters-of-intent to attend the University of Georgia for the 2000 season.

The Bulldogs have signed shortstop Brandon Phillips (Redan HS), pitcher/third baseman Jarrett Warren (Henry Co. HS) and infielder Andy Neufeld (Manatee CC). The latest additions bring the total to nine recruits who have signed with Georgia for next season. The class includes eight from high school and one from the junior college ranks.

"Brandon, Jarrett and Andy help fill out an outstanding class for next season," said Sapp. "They are multi-talented, and we'll find a place for them in the lineup. They are very versatile athletes. Brandon and Andy are excellent hitters while Jarrett is a two-way threat as a pitcher and hitter."

Phillips, a three-time MVP, is rewriting the record books during his prep career at Redan. As a junior, he set single season records for home runs (12), RBI and hits in leading them to a 24-8 mark and final ranking of eighth in the state. This season, Redan is off to a 15-8 mark and Phillips is batting .609 with 17 stolen bases and has broken his own home run and RBI record now with 14 round-trippers and 43 RBI. He already owns the career marks for home runs, runs, hits and RBI.

Warren, a 6-2, 200-pound senior has also set school records for home runs and RBI in his final season where he is batting .600-14-44. On the mound, he is 5-0 with a 1.63 ERA as Henry Co. is 20-2 and ranked second in the region. Last season, Warren, batted .432-10-32 and was 5-1 with a 2.12 ERA as HCHS went 29-7, captured the region title and advanced to the final four in the state playoffs.

Neufeld, a 6-0, 175-pound native of Winter Springs, Fla., has started all 48 games, seeing action at shortstop, third base and second base this season for Manatee CC. He is batting .378 with eight home runs and 63 RBI. He has 11 doubles, eight triples and 11 stolen bases.

1999 GEORGIA BASEBALL SIGNEES

NAME               HT    WT    POS    B-T   HOMETOWN

Jon Armitage       6-0   185   SS     S-R   Athens, Ga.

Blake Bodenmiller  6-0   215   LHP/1B/OF L-L Orlando, Fl.

Condor Cash        6-2   210   OF     R-R   Toccoa, Ga.

David Coffey       5-10  170   2B/OF  L-R   Perry, Ga.

Chris Fordham      6-5   235   RHP    R-R   Albany, Ga.

Andy Neufeld       6-0   175   INF    L-R   Winter Spgs., Fl.

Brandon Phillips   6-1   195   SS     R-R   Stone Mtn, Ga.

Steve Van Note     6-3   195   CF     R-R   Brigantine, N.J.

Jarrett Warren     6-2   200   RHP/3B R-R   McDonough, Ga.


April 19, 1999

Eagles, Commodores Visit Foley Field

Georgia (20-19, 6-11 SEC) returns to Foley Field this week where they will begin a five-game homestand, playing a pair against Ga. Southern and a three-game SEC series with Vanderbilt starting Friday. The Eagles (25-16) have won 11 of their last 13 and this past weekend won two out of three in a Southern Conference series with Wofford. Georgia leads the series 36-31-1 in games going back to 1972. Georgia won two of three games last season, winning 12-1 in Charleston, S.C. at the Winn-Dixie Shootout, and the teams split a two-game set in Statesboro.

The Commodores (18-22, 5-13 SEC) are 4-6 in their last 10 games and dropped two of three to SEC West-leading Arkansas in Nashville last weekend. Georgia and Vanderbilt have been squaring off since 1897, and the Bulldogs lead the series 90-73. Georgia swept Vandy last year with lots of offense (11-9, 18-15 and 8-3).

Georgia is 17-6 at home and just 3-13 away from Foley Field. The SEC mark of 6-11 could be a lot better considering the Bulldogs are 1-8 in league games decided by two runs or less.

Bulldogs Boast Two Freshman All-America Candidates

Freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.399-8-34) currently owns an 11-game hitting streak and is batting a team-high .399 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI. In the Ole Miss series, he was 7-14 with 4 RBI. Defensively, the Lilburn native ranks second among SEC SS in fielding .at 957 with only 8 errors on the year. In SEC play, he is hitting .364-1-13.

Freshman catcher Doc Brooks (.280-12-27) homered in five straight games, a Georgia record in a span that ended last week. Brooks, who leads the club with 12, hit home runs versus #24 South Carolina (3 games), #11 Ga. Tech and Ole Miss. The streak ended Saturday.

Going the Distance and Then Some

Senior RHP Cliff Brand (4-3, 3.14) threw a complete game in beating #11 Ga. Tech last Tuesday then came back and went a career-long 9.2 innings on Sunday versus Ole Miss. He got a no-decision in the 11-7 Bulldog win which went 11 innings. He struck out a career-high 15 in the Rebel contest.

Brand leads the club in complete games with three and in 71.2 IP has allowed just 14 BB while striking out 69. Three of his four wins have come against Top 25 opponents (#13 Miss. State, #24 USC, #11 Ga. Tech) while his losses have come to #15 Alabama (4-2), Kentucky (3-1) and #3 Miami (8-1, he gave up just 2 R in 6.1 IP).

Record Hit Streak Ends at 28

Junior 2B Josh Hudson (.369-0-23) saw his school record hitting streak end last Tuesday at 28 games. This mark ranks fourth best in SEC history.

April 12, 1999

Hudson Sets Hitting Streak Record

Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.382-0-23) now holds the Bulldog record with a 28-game hitting streak. The Columbus, Ga., native is batting .437 during this stretch which dates back to Feb. 24. The old mark was 26 by David Jackson in 1982. Hudson now takes aim at the SEC record of 33 held by former LSU standout Todd Walker.

Freshman Trio Making an Impact

The freshmen trio of shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.386-8-30), catcher Doc Brooks (.296-10-22) and right fielder Kris Edge (.318-0-12) have helped the Bulldogs return to their winning ways of late. Keppinger is among the top shortstops in the SEC, both offensively and defensively (.955 FLDG%). He ranks second on the club in batting and third in home runs. Brooks, a second team preseason Freshman All-America pick by Baseball America, leads the team in home runs (10) and second in slugging percentage at .667. Edge, who recently became a starter with his knack for gettting on base, scoring runs and driving in runs in the clutch. He has a .492 On-Base percentage with 15 runs and 12 RBI in only 44 at-bats plus 15 walks. He is batting a team-best .563 with runners on base.

Rare Back-to-Back Complete Game SEC Wins

Georgia got back-to-back complete game wins from seniors Cliff Brand (3-3, 2.89) and Barry Fowler (4-2, 4.07) in the first two games of its SEC series with South Carolina. The last time the Bulldogs did that in an SEC series was 1992 against Tennessee as Brad Butler and John Hill took care of the Volunteers.

On a related note, Georgia got three straight complete games in the 1994 SEC Tournament in Lexington including a 10-inning gem by Chris Ciaccio to beat Florida, a Brian Powell win over Kentucky and then one in a loss to Tennessee by Hill.

The last time Georgia got back-to-back complete games from a pair of pitchers was in 1996. Itw as done twice but neither was on consecutive days and only once did the Bulldogs win both games.

Bulldogs Aim for More SEC Victories

Georgia (18-17,5-8 SEC) made a slight move in the conference stadings (now third in the East behind USC and Florida) this past weekend after winning its first SEC series of the year, beating South Carolina two out of three. The Bulldogs take a quick break from league play Tuesday when nationally-ranked Ga. Tech (27-9) visits Foley Field. The Yellow Jackets won the first meeting in Atlanta 3-0 and in their first visit to Athens back on March 31, the game was rained out. A makeup date has not been set for that game. Georgia leads the all-time series 176-128-1.

Georgia returns to league competition Friday with surging Ole Miss (20-16, 10-5 SEC). The Rebels swept Florida this past weekend and have won five of their last six league contests. Georgia holds a 17-16 edge in the series history but Ole Miss has won the last four meetings. Georgia last visited Oxford in 1995 and dropped two of three there.

April 5, 1999

Bulldogs Look to Get Back on Track

Georgia (15-15, 3-8 SEC) looks to return to its winning ways this week with a pair of midweek games with Ga. State and Wofford before resuming league play with South Carolina on Friday. The Bulldogs travel to Atlanta Tuesday to face the Panthers and then begin a five-game homestand with Wofford on Wednesday.

Georgia holds a 24-3 edge in the series with the Panthers, including a 13-8 win earlier this season in Athens. Georgia has won 10 straight in the series. The Bulldogs bombed Wofford last season 23-1 and own a 2-0 advantage in that series.

Georgia bounces back to league competition with SEC-East leading South Carolina (22-9, 7-5 SEC). They salvaged the Sunday contest at Alabama last weekend. This series is tied at 30-30 in records dating back to 1892. USC has won the series 2-1 the past three years.

Georgia's lone win last week came in extra-innings and that's news because of an odd streak. Since the 1996 season, Georgia had played just four extra-inning games after having seven in 1996. Georgia went 1-6 in 1996 in those extra affairs and 0-4 since 1996. Actually, Georgia had lost its last eight extra-inning games before the 9-8 11-inning win last Saturday compliments of freshman catcher Doc Brooks' home run.

Hudson Extends Hitting Streak to 23 Games

Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.376-0-19) extended his career-best hitting streak to 23 games. The Columbus, Ga., native is batting .444 during this stretch. He is hitting .364 in SEC games. He can set a Bulldog record this week. The mark is 26 set by David Jackson back in 1982. Georgia plays five games this week.

Freshman Keppinger Getting the Job Done

Freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger is emerging as the Bulldogs' best player as he continues to lead the team in batting at .392 (47-for-120), ranks third in home runs at five and is hitting .354-1-5 in SEC games. He is slugging .600. Hindered by a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, the shorstop has made some throwing errors of late but is still fielding .950 with eight errors on the season in 161 total chances.

Prior to his injury on March 10, he had made just one error on the year. Since then, six of his next seven errors came on throws. You have to see his range to appreciate it. At Kentucky this past weekend, he made two "Big League" plays that left people in the press box saying, "Wow."

Goldberg Highlights Promotions This Weekend

Former Georgia football standout and current WCW megastar Bill Goldberg will throw out the first pitch at Saturday's Georgia-South Carolina game at 4 p.m. Goldberg will be in Athens as part of G-Day activities as the football team holds its annual spring game. Fans can show their G-Day ticket and get into the baseball game free. The football game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Also, on Sunday, the Bulldogs team up with the Athens Daily News/Banner Herald and will hold a postgame Kids Skills Clinic. As usual, Sunday will also be "Ice Cream Sunday," where Mayfield Ice Cream will be given away to fans as they leave the game.

March 29, 1999

Bulldogs Look for Revenge This Week

Georgia (14-12, 2-6 SEC) looks to avenge a couple of losses this week to its neighbors out of the ACC -- Ga. Tech (23-6) and Clemson (14-11). The Bulldogs play host to Clemson Tuesday and Ga. Tech Wednesday. Georgia self destructed in a 17-5 loss to Clemson last week while the Jackets blanked the Bulldogs 3-0 in Atlanta back on March 10. Georgia hits the road this weekend to resume SEC play and will face Kentucky (7-15, 2-7). The Wildcats won two of three from Georgia in Athens last year. This past weekend, Miss. State won two from UK in Lexington.

Georgia snapped a six-game losing streak with a 12-3 rout of No. 11 Florida Sunday. Georgia let Friday and Saturday's contests with the Gators slip away, blowing ninth-inning leads both days. Friday, Georgia led 5-4 only to lose 6-5 while Saturday, Florida rallied back from 7-5 to win 8-7 in 10 innings.

Hudson Extends Hitting Streak to 19 Games

Junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.384-0-16) extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games. The Columbus, Ga., native batted .500 (6-12, 3 BB) against No. 11 Florida. During his hitting streak, he is batting .470 (31-66). He is hitting .387 in SEC games.

Hudson's hitting streak is the longest by a Bulldog this season with centerfielder Brian Rainwater second a 16-game streak to start the season. The Georgia record is 26 set by David Jackson back in 1982.

Bulldogs Put the "Big" Back in "Big Fly"

Georgia had a unique stretch end Sunday in the Florida series. The Bulldogs had a 15-game stretch where every home run they hit was a solo shot -- 12 in all. Sandwiched before and after the solo string were grand slams. Junior centerfielder Brian Rainwater hit a grand slam in a win versus Ga. State on March 2 and then Georgia's next 12 blasts were all solo before sophomore third baseman Mark Thornhill delivered a grand slam in the third inning of the 12-3 win over No. 11 Florida Sunday. Three innings later, Thornhill hit a two-run shot but freshman Doc Brooks may have started another solo streak as he hit one in the seventh.

Freshman Keppinger Continues to Deliver

Freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger is emerging as the Bulldogs' best player as he continues to lead the team in batting at .422 (43-for-102), ranks second in home runs at five and is hitting .400-1-5 in SEC games. He is slugging .667. In the Florida series, the Lilburn, Ga., native batted a team-best .533 (8-for-15) with four runs scored and four RBI. Hindered by a shoulder injury in his throwing arm, the shorstop made a couple of throwing errors this week but is still fielding .956 with only six errors on the season in 136 total chances.

March 22, 1999

Georgia Looks For Road Success

The Bulldogs have been tough to beat at home (12-2) but road wins have been scarce (1-7). Georgia's lone win away from Foley Field came at No. 3 Miami (Fla.). The Bulldogs look for another road win Tuesday when they will face Clemson (12-8). After that, Geogia plays host to #12 Florida (17-7). Like the Bulldogs, the Gators own a solid home mark at 15-2 but are just 2-5 on the road.

Last week, Georgia went to No. 15 Alabama and dropped all three games by scores of 8-2, 4-2 and 9-8. Prior to the trip, five Georgia pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in a 14-1 win over Furman in Athens. It was the 10th no-hitter in Georgia history but first-ever combined effort.

Hudson Extends Hitting Streak to 15 Games

Georgia junior second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.357-0-13) owns a career-best 15-game hitting streak. During his streak, he is batting .460 (23-for-50). Junior Brian Rainwater (.402-4-29) has had the longest hitting streak for the Bulldogs this season as he hit safely in the first 16 games. Hudson has been a steady performer in the field with a .990 fielding percentage (only one error in 96 total chances).

Series History With Opponents This Week

Georgia hits the road to face Clemson (12-8) Tuesday before returning home to Foley Field to play host to SEC East leader No. 12 Florida (17-7, 4-2). The Bulldogs will face the Tigers twice this season (Clemson comes to Athens next week, March 30). The Tigers lead the series 55-35-1 including winning both meetings last year. This past weekend, Clemson won a pair from Maryland in its conference opener. Meanwhile, the Gators swept Tennessee in Gainesville and have a couple of games with Troy State before coming to Georgia Friday. Florida leads the series with Georgia 136-61-1 and has won four straight in the series.

Putting the "Big" in the Big Fly

On the season, Georgia has hit 26 home runs but 16 have been solo shots including the last nine. The Bulldogs had six home runs in the Alabama series and all were solo shots. Georgia opponents have combined to hit 19 home runs with 12 of those of the solo variety.

March 15, 1999

Check Out the New and Improved Brand

University of Georgia senior right-hander Cliff Brand pitched a complete game five-hitter, striking out a career high 10 as Georgia beat No. 13 Miss. State 4-1 last Saturday.

Brand held the SEC's top hitting team (.384 batting avg.) to a run on five hits and walked just one batter. After their lone run, Brand retired 15 of the last 17 batters of the game including striking out the last four hitters. Georgia snapped MSU's 13-game winning streak and marked the first time this season that MSU was outhit in a game.

Overall, Brand is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five appearances this season. In his last two starts covering a span of 15.1 innings, coming at #3 Miami (Fla.) and versus #13 MSU, Brand is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA with two walks and 13 strikeouts. Early on in 1998, Brand was Georgia's most consistent starter before being sidelined with arm trouble. He tried to pitch through it but his last win came in March and went 0-4 in his final 11 appearances in 1998. Coincindentally, that last win came versus then No. 3 ranked Alabama, Georgia's SEC opponent this week.

Keppinger Overlooked by Pro Scouts, But Not By Bulldogs

Freshman shorstop Jeff Keppinger (.437-4-11) went undrafted out of Parkview HS last season, and that was good news for the Bulldogs who are excited about his performance to date. The Lilburn native leads the team in batting (.437), is tied for the team lead in home runs (4) and has an outstanding Fielding Percentage of .990 (only 1 error in 99 total chances). He has started all 18 games and performed well in big games including making the All-Tournament team at the BELLSOUTH Hurricane Diamond Classic in Coral Gables, Fla. He has helped the Bulldogs rank as the top fielding team in the SEC at .977.

Bulldogs Getting Consistent Play From Hudson

Georgia second baseman/catcher Josh Hudson (.385-0-9) has been a steady performer for the Bulldogs to date. Hudson owns a current 11-game hitting streak and ranks third on the club in batting and second in on-base percentage at .467. He has .987 fielding percentage with just one error in 76 total chances.

Series History With Opponents This Week

Georgia plays host to Furman Wednesday before traveling to Tuscaloosa to face No. 14 Alabama (15-5, 2-1 SEC) in a three-game SEC series beginning Friday. The Bulldogs hold an 11-1 edge in the series with the Paladins, but the Tide owns an 18-17 lead in the series in records dating back to 1950. Georgia last faced Furman in 1997, winning 3-2. Georgia has won seven straight in the series after falling 12-11 in a 1979 meeting.

In the past three seasons, Alabama has won the last three series with the Bulldogs 2-1. Prior to that, the clubs had not faced each other since 1993 when Georgia won the series in Tuscaloosa 2-1. Alabama began it league season at Tennessee this past weekend, winning two out of three.

March 8, 1999

Bulldogs Look to Return to Winning Ways

Georgia (11-4) looks to bounce back this week after posting a 1-3 mark at the BellSouth Hurricane Diamond Classic last weekend. The lone win was a big one, perhaps the biggest road victory in three years. Georgia knocked off third-ranked Miami (Fla.) and its All-America ace Alex Santos 4-3 last Friday. The junior was the NCAA's winningest pitcher last season at 15-1 and had never lost at home until that night. Georgia junior Chris Clark stole the show, pitching his first-ever complete game in just his third career start. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Tournament team.

Also, freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger, who batted .500-2-4 in the four games (8-for-16) including two home runs against Miami, made the All-Tournament squad. Keppinger leads the club in batting at .450, is tied for the team lead in home runs (4) and is fielding .988 with just one error in 84 total chances.

Series History With Opponents This Week

Georgia travels to Atlanta to face No. 12 Ga. Tech (13-4) on Wednesday and then plays host to No. 14 Miss. State (13-1) in the SEC-opening series Fri.-Sun. The Yellow Jackets have won 11 in a row after a 2-4 start. Georgia leads the series 89-71 in records dating back to 1950, but the Yellow Jackets won three of the four meetings last season.

Georgia holds a 14-13 edge over MSU but the Maroon Bulldogs have swept the last three series (nine games) going back to 1996. Prior to that, Georgia had won seven in a row in the series.

Georgia Aims for Solid League Start, Spot in Tournament

Southeastern Conference play begins around the league Friday with the Bulldogs versus the Bulldogs (MSU) in Athens. MSU advanced to the College World Series last season en route to a 42-23 season. They went 14-15 in the SEC, good for 4th in the West in 1998. Georgia finished up 24-30 and 8-21 in the SEC, finishing fifth in the East. They did not make the league tournament.

In 1999, the top eight league teams advance to the postseason tournament. These teams are determined by conference winning percentage. The top two teams in each division followed by the next four with the best records will advance to Birmingham for the event, slated for May 19-23.

March 1, 1999

Bulldogs Own Five Game Winning Streak

Georgia (9-1) ran its winning streak to five by going 4-0 this past week, sweeping a pair of two-game series with Western Carolina and UNC-Greensboro. Georgia's most entertaining victory of the season came Sunday when it battled back from a 7-0 deficit to beat UNC-G 11-7.

Georgia's defense has been solid through the first 10 games as they are fielding .980 with just eight errors in 398 total chances. As a team, the Bulldogs are batting .350 while their ERA is 4.30.

On Tuesday, the Bulldogs close out a season-opening 11-game homestand, the second longest in school history. Georgia started off the 1977 season with 16 straight at home, going 10-6. Georgia got off to a similiar start last season at 11-1 before stumbling in Southeastern Conference play en route to a final mark of 24-30.

Georgia Heads South for Hurricane Classic

Beginning Friday, Georgia will play four games in three days down in Coral Gables, Fla., site of the BellSouth Hurricane Diamond Classic. The No. 2 ranked Miami Hurricanes (12-3) welcome Georgia, Ohio State (2-1) and East Carolina (8-2) for the tournament. Friday's 8 p.m. contest with Miami will be televised live by SportsChannel Florida. (SBS-6, Transponder-6).

Newcomers Lead the Way

Junior centerfielder Brian Rainwater (Middle Ga. JC) and freshmen shortstop Jeff Keppinger and catcher Doc Brooks are Georgia's top three hitters through the first 10 games. Rainwater (.457-2-18) leads almost all offensive categories while Keppinger (.450-2-7) and Brooks (.412-4-13) are not far behind. Rainwater has a 10-game hitting streak while Keppinger batted .625 (10-for-16) this past week, scoring seven times and driving in five runs. Brooks batted .429 (6-for-14) with four runs scored and four RBI for the week.

Series History With Opponents This Week

Georgia plays host to Georgia State (6-6) Tuesday closing out an 11-game homestand. Georgia holds a 23-3 series edge over the Panthers including winning the last nine meetings.

At the tournament in Coral Gables, Fla., Georgia will have its first-ever meeting with East Carolina while it owns an 1-1 mark versus Miami (Fla.) and 8-4 against Ohio State. Georgia last faced the Hurricanes in 1995 at the Olive Garden Classic in Orlando, Fla., falling 12-10. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes haven't met since 1960 when OSU beat Georgia 10-3 in Athens.

February 22, 1999

Solid Start Continues

Georgia (5-1) continued a solid start by going 2-1 this past week including splitting a two-game set with No. 21 Wake Forest. While the Demon Deacons won game one 8-2 behind timely hitting and a strong outing from pitcher Mike MacDougal (Georgia left 12 men on base), the Bulldogs collected 19 hits and blasted WFU this past Sunday 16-7. Four of WFU's runs came on solo home runs while UGA had a nine-run inning.

Georgia's defense has been splendid through the first six games as they are fielding .987 with just three errors in 239 total chances. As a team, the Bulldogs are batting .338 while their ERA is 3.83.

The Bulldogs are in the midst of a season-opening 11-game homestand, the second longest in school history. Georgia started off the 1977 season with 16 straight at home, going 10-6.

Rainwater Continues to Pour It On Opponents

Junior transfer Brian Rainwater (Middle Ga. JC) batted .692 with a home run and five RBI this past weekend including going 6-for-10 with 3 RBI versus No. 21 Wake Forest. Earlier in the week, he missed hitting for the cycle versus Jacksonville State needing only a single. The centerfielder leads the Bulldogs in almost every offensive category including batting (.519), runs (9), hits (14), RBI (10) and has hit safely in all six games. Sophomore third baseman Mark Thornhill ranks behind him in batting at .450. He hit .600 (6-for-10) with four runs and 3 RBI versus WFU.

The Last Word on First AB Home Runs By Freshmen

Freshman catcher Doc Brooks (.400-3-9) smashed a home run in his first at bat in the season opener versus UNC-Asheville. No Bulldog freshman had hit a home run in his first AB since Andy Johnson did it back in 1971 in the 13th game of the season. Johnson joined the team late due to football.

Opponents This Week

Georgia plays host to a pair of 40-game winners in 1998 from the Southern Conference -- Western Carolina and UNC-Greensboro. WCU went 45-15 last season while UNC-G was 40-18.

Georgia holds a 27-14 edge in the series with WCU including an 8-5 win at Foley Field last season.

Georgia hasn't faced UNC-G since 1995. The Spartans won two of three from the Bulldogs and the series is 2-2 with a UGA win coming back in 1939.

February 15, 1999

Off To a Good Start

The Georgia Bulldogs opened their season last weekend with a three-game sweep of UNC-Asheville (10-0, 11-3, 6-4). The shutout on Opening Day was a first since blanking Central Florida 3-0 back in 1984.

In the opening series, Georgia batted .323, had a team ERA of 2.33 and made just one error in 122 chances for a .992 Fielding Percentage.

Georgia is in the midst of a season-opening 11-game homestand, the second longest in school history. Georgia started off the 1977 season with 16 straight at home, going 10-6.

All 56 regular season games plus any postseason will be broadcast by the official Voice of the Diamond Dogs, WGAU-1340 AM. Also, 36 games (all 30 SEC games plus four with Ga. Tech and Clemson) will be available via the Internet through broadcast.com.

Memorable Bulldog Debuts

Freshman catcher Doc Brooks (Phenix City, Ala.) smashed a home run in his first at bat, giving Georgia its first hit of the season and a 1-0 lead in the opener. He batted .333 (3-for-9) in the series with 3 RBI.

Freshman pitcher Brandon Moorhead (Bowersville) won his first start, striking out eight and scattering six hits and a run in six innings Sunday in the 6-4 win.

Freshman outfielder Kris Edge (Savannah) went 2-for-3 with a two-run double in starting the season opener.

Opponents This Week

Georgia plays host to Jacksonville State (0-1) and Wake Forest (2-1) this week at Foley Field. JSU dropped its opener to UAB while the Demon Deacons won two of three from Evansville last weekend. They face Davidson Wednesday before coming to Athens. Jacksonville State beat the Bulldogs last season 11-5 en route to a 34-20 finish. It was the first-ever meeting.

Georgia hasn't faced Wake Forest since 1994. The series dates back to 1897 with the Bulldogs holding a 15-6 edge. The two teams met annually from 1989-1994 with Georgia winning 12 of the 16 games.

February 8, 1999

Play Ball!

The 1999 season gets underway Friday at 4 p.m. as the Bulldogs play host to UNC-Asheville at Foley Field. Baseball is the oldest varsity sport on campus, dating back to 1886.

Friday will mark the beginning of a season-opening 11-game homestand, the second longest in school history. Georgia started off the 1977 season with 16 straight at home, going 10-6.

Georgia head coach Robert Sapp begins his third season after his first two years produced a combined mark of 52-57.

According to available records, Georgia is 51-29 in season openers, including a 17-6 win over UNC-Asheville last season.

Georgia returns five starters in the field and six pitchers from last year's squad that went 24-30. These starters include four seniors -- outfielders Chris Crawford and Dustin McNally along with pitchers Barry Fowler and Cliff Brand. The Bulldogs' top young player is sophomore third baseman Mark Thornhill, an Honorable Mention Freshmen All-America selection last season after hitting a team-high .369 with 5 HR and 34 RBI.

Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact include junior college transfers Brian Rainwater and Josh Dorminy, both outfielders, freshman shortstop Jeff Keppinger and freshman catcher Doc Brooks.

Georgia brought in eight new pitchers and those who should see action this weekend include juniors Matt Steele and Troy Davis along with freshmen Brandon Moorhead and Bill Sharpton.

All 56 regular season games plus any postseason contests will be broadcast by the official Voice of the Diamond Dogs, WGAU-1340 AM. Also, the 30 SEC games plus four with Ga. Tech and Clemson will be available on the Internet via broadcast.com.

The Bulldogs of UNC-Asheville

The Bulldogs are 0-6 this season after three-game road sweeps at No. 4 Florida State and No. 12 Auburn.

UNC-Asheville, coached by Bill Hillier, is a member of the Big South Conference. They have an enrollment of 3,200. Last season, they went 27-32 in Hillier's fourth season.

Georgia swept the Bulldogs (17-6, 9-2, 8-5) last year to start the season 3-0. They face them for the first three games again this year.

Free Stuff

Georgia Baseball Schedule Magnets: Free for the first 1,000 fans Friday.

Meet the Team Day: Sunday after the game, go on the field and meet the 1999 Georgia Bulldogs. Free Georgia Baseball posters will be available.

What's Up, Doc?

Newly-elected Mayor Doc Eldridge will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day Friday. How about this -- Doc will most likely be throwing it to freshman catcher Doc Brooks!

February 1, 1999 Bulldog Games Available on Radio, Internet

It will be much easier to follow the Diamond Dogs this season as the "Voice of the Diamond Dogs," WGAU-Radio (1340 AM), will broadcast every Georgia baseball game -- 56 regular season games plus the postseason. Veteran play-by-play announcer Jeff Dantzler returns for his fifth season. He will call all the action with Chuck Hussion filling in when Dantzler has a Georgia basketball game to do as he serves color analyst for men's games and play-by-play for Lady Bulldog basketball.

Also this season, media, alumni and fans can find Georgia Baseball games on the Internet through Broadcast.Com. A total of 36 games will be available via the Internet site. These games will include all Southeastern Conference games plus those against Georgia Tech and Clemson. The live play-by-play can heard at the following site: http://www.broadcast.com/sports/ncaa/georgia/

Caray Delights Crowd of 300 at Diamond Club Jamboree

Veteran Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray headlined the third annual Bulldog Diamond Club Jamboree this past Saturday at the Classic Center. Also, all of Georgia's pro players returned for the event.

Caray said he was excited for the Atlanta Falcons, comparing their season to that of the Braves in 1991 when the city rallied around the team. He spoke of the Braves off-season moves and how the team will have more offensive punch to go with its trademark strong pitching and of the hiring of hitting guru Don Baylor. He added he liked former Georgia signee John Rocker as a possible closer in 1999 depending on how Mark Wohlers recovers from control problems. He also stressed how important it was to remember to have fun playing baseball and how some forget that as they continue their career as pros.

Caray has been behind the microphone for the Atlanta Braves and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS) for 23 years.

Earlier in the day, rain forced the cancellation of an exhibition game between an alumni select team and the 1999 Bulldogs.

SEC Coaches Pick Florida and LSU as Title Favorites

In the preseason picks for the SEC Champion, league coaches selected Florida and LSU as the favorites to win their respective divisions and battle for the title. Georgia was picked to finish fourth in the East behind the Gators, South Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky and Vanderbilt were fifth and sixth in the East while the West had Alabama second followed by Auburn, Arkansas, Miss. State and Ole Miss.

Auburn was the first SEC school to begin its season. This past weekend in Orlando, Fla., the 12th-ranked Tigers concluded the Disney ACC Blast with a perfect 3-0 record. Auburn beat No. 2 Ga. Tech 17-12, Virginia 11-2 and Maryland 15-0.

November 18, 1998 Diamond Dogs Sign Six During Early Period

Bulldog baseball coach Robert Sapp announced Wednesday the signing of six players to national letters-of-intent to attend the University of Georgia for the 2000 season.

Georgia's first group of signees consists of six high school players who hail from Georgia, Florida and New Jersey.

"Overall, we're a young team so we didn't sign very many players but the six we did are a versatile group and help meet our needs," said Sapp. "We will add a few more signees in the spring, and we feel we're off to a good start in our recruiting."

Here's a look at the Georgia signees:

Jon Armitage, SS: Batted .438, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 7 SB as a junior at Cedar Shoals HS in Athens....Also recorded 0-0 mark, 1.75 ERA and 3 Saves in 8 IP....Named team's Most Valuable Defensive Player....Named Tournament MVP in NE Georgia Invitational.

Blake Bodenmiller, LHP/1B/OF: Batted .400 and posted a 6-1 mark, 1.39 ERA with 64 Ks in 32 IP as a junior at West Orange HS in Orlando, Fla...Named All-Metro, All-State (6-A)...Named team's Most Valuable Pitcher.

Condor Cash, OF: Batted .416, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 8 SB as a junior at Stephens Co. HS in Toccoa, Named team's MVP and Best Hitter...Participant in national showcases at Area Code Games, Team One...Three-year letterman in baseball, basketball, one in football.

David Coffey, 2B/OF: Batted .567, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 12 SB as a junior at Perry HS in Perry...Career .533 average, 14 HR, 101 RBI...Two-time winner of team's Best Offensive Player Award.

Chris Fordham, RHP: Posted 6-1 mark, 2.33 ERA, 4 complete games, 2 shutouts with 52 Ks in 42 IP and batted .400, 12 HR, 52 RBI as a junior at Deerfield-Windsor School in Albany, Ga...Named All-State, All-Region and to the Southwest Georgia All-Star Team.

Steve Van Note, CF: Career .420 average, 11 HR, 80 RBI, 47 SB at Atlantic City HS in Atlantic City, N.J....2nd Team Cape Atlantic League pick and three-time team MVP...Summer All-Star and 1998 CABA HS World Series championship team...Two-time member of New Jersey AAU Junior Olympic Team...National Honor Society.

Name           Ht.    Wt.   Pos.   B-T   Hometown

Jon Armitage   6-0    185   SS     S-R   Athens, Ga.

Blake Bodenmiller 6-0  215  P/1B/OF L-L  Orlando, Fla.

Condor Cash    6-2    210   OF     R-R   Toccoa, Ga.

David Coffey   5-10   170   2B/OF  L-R   Perry, Ga.

Chris Fordham  6-5    235   P      R-R   Albany, Ga.

Steve Van Note 6-3    195   CF     R-R   Brigantine, N.J.

 

 

Shop here for Bulldogs gear

SHOP NOW

At the Official Online Store

    Auctions
    Twitter Facebook Instagram Google