Summer Baseball Update: August 7, 2000
A number of Bulldogs capped their summer league play with honors while a handful of players are leading their teams in the playoffs. The Bulldogs return to classes Aug. 17 and Fall baseball practice is slated to begin Sept. 4. Here is a review of how some of the Bulldogs fared in their respective summer leagues.
ALASKA BASEBALL LEAGUE
CAPE COD LEAGUE
Outfielder/catcher Doc Brooks is batting .234-7-20 for the Falmouth Commodores (20-22) while infielder Jeff Keppinger is hitting .224-2-11 for the Orleans Cardinals (22-20). Brooks ranks first in the league in runs scored with 33 and second in home runs while Moravek is second in complete games. League playoffs being Monday. Brooks and Moravek were named All-Stars.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
Brandon went 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in nine appearances including six starts. In 32.1 innings, he had 29 walks and 23 strikeouts. Opponents batted .209 against him. Jon started 39 games and hit .229-1-14. He fielded .961 in 179 total chances.
CLARK GRIFFITH COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
NATIONAL BASEBALL CONGRESS
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
Catch the All-Star game? University of Georgia senior Tony Burchett and Ned Yost IV did...literally.
Burchett and Yost served as THE catchers during the week's festivities at Turner Field, beginning Sunday for the Celebrity Hitting Challenge, Monday for the Home Run Derby and Tuesday in the bullpen for the All-Star game.
The coaching staffs of the defending league champions serve as the All-Star game coaches. Enter Yost's father, Ned, who is third base coach of the Atlanta Braves who played host to this year's midsummer classic.
When Yost needed a couple of catchers he didn't have to look to far, asking his son, a Georgia baseball signee, who quickly accepted the offer. Then, Yost called his friend Tony and wanted to know if he wanted to join him. The Lassiter High School pals knew they were in for something special.
"I'm glad Ned gave me the opportunity to do this because it's probably the most memorable few days in my life and definitely the highlight of my career," said Burchett who hit .274-3-16 for the Bulldogs last season.
The home run derby provided the best theater during the All-Star week as Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr., put on a show. Sosa claimed the title, tallying 26 blasts overall including beating three-time champion Griffey 9-2 in the final.
While the Bulldog duo didn't exactly have a "seat" for the action, clearly they had the best view. Burchett said Toronto's Carlos Delgado, a semifinalist in the derby, was the most talkative. After launching a few home runs, he would turn around with a big smile and ask "How was that one?"
Burchett, a native of Dayton, Ohio and lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, said his biggest thrill was meeting Reds All-Stars Griffey and shortstop Barry Larkin. Burchett also said warming up the American League pitchers before and during the All-Star game was a memorable experience.
"I caught David Wells, Aaron Sele, Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson," said Burchett. "We hung out in the locker room and once some of them found out I was at Georgia they asked about Coach Polk (Georgia baseball coach) and wished us good luck next season."
Come September, Fall practice will be different for Yost and Burchett. After all, they've been in the big leagues.
All-Stars and league leaders highlight play of Georgia Bulldogs in various summer leagues. Here is a brief review of how some of them are doing in their respective wood bat leagues as of July 13. If available, a link to the league or team's web site is provided below.
CAPE COD LEAGUE
Rob (4-2, 2.72) led the Harwich Mariners to a 6-1 victory over the Commodores Wednesday. He went seven innings, allowing one unearned run with two walks and 11 strikeouts in the win. Rob's four wins ranks second in the league. Jeff is seeing his offensive numbers rise as he is up to .222-2-8 for the Orleans Cardinals.
The list of 2000 All-Stars for the July 22 Sprint PCS All-Star game at Brewster Whitecaps Field/Cape Cod Tech in Harwich is scheduled to be released Sunday. Doc won the Home Run Derby contest last year.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
The game will air on Home Team Sports TV (HTS) on a tape delay basis at the following times: Saturday, July 15 at 5 p.m.; Sunday, July 23 at 11 a.m.; Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m. Home Team Sports, based in Bethesda, M.D., can be seen in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C.Ê
ALASKA BASEBALL LEAGUE
NORTHEASTERN COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
CENTRAL ILLINOIS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
CLARK GRIFFITH COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
Date: July 11, 2000
SWANN-LED PILOTS BEAT BUCS IN 10TH WALK-OFF HOMER ENDS A WILD ONE
University of Georgia outfielder Adam Swann added another highlight to list of a memorable plate appearances in his baseball career.
As a freshman in 1999, he hit a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning that ended a game in a tie. As a sophomore, he blasted a homer with a wood bat against the Atlanta Braves, and he tied a school record with three grand slams in a season.
Now, Swann has a summer league memory. Swann spoiled a no-hitter and then won the game for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots Monday in summer league action in Alaska.
Swann smashed a home run on the first pitch thrown by Anchorage Bucs reliever Ryan Lewis in the 10th inning in the Pilots 5-4 come-from-behind victory at Mulcahy Stadium. The walk-off homer ended a crazy three-hour, 15-minute game that featured a no-hit bid by Bucs starter Shane Sanders, a combined 14 stolen bases and late-game heroics by the Pilots.
"I'm not gonna lie. I thought it was over," Swann told Anchorage Daily news reporter Van Williams.
Sanders entered the game with a 12.91 earned-run average but did not allow a hit for seven innings. He did walk seven and struck out four before leaving with a 4-1 lead as the Bucs bullpen took over. McCoy walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth. He was relieved by Aaron Buch, who got a double-play ground ball before Swann doubled for the Pilots' first hit. Trailing 4-2 in the ninth, the Pilots rallied to tie it on Doug Bernier's two-run single off Lewis (0-1), the Bucs' fourth pitcher of the night. After Pilots closer Royce Ring (2-0) worked a perfect 10th, Swann delivered the game winning homer. It was Swann's third homer of the summer.
In his Georgia career, Swann's memorable plate appearances include: A ninth inning pinch-hit two-run home run that gave Georgia an 11-11 tie with LSU in 1999; Hitting a home run with a wood bat in an exhibition against the Atlanta Braves (Winston Abreu) in 2000; He delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to cap a series sweep of seventh-ranked Alabama.
Swann, a rising junior, along with rising senior Andy Neufeld are teammates for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Last season, Swann batted .305-9-46 for the Bulldogs.
Summer Baseball Update (As of July 5):
From Cape Cod to Alaska, from Georgia to California, Bulldog baseball players are scattered across the country playing in summer leagues. Here is a brief review of how some of them are doing in their respective wood bat leagues. If available, a link to the league or team's website is provided below.
CAPE COD LEAGUE
ALASKA BASEBALL LEAGUE
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
NORTHEASTERN COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE www.necbl.org
CENTRAL ILLINOIS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE www.ciclbaseball.com
CLARK GRIFFITH COLLEGIATE LEAGUE www.clarkgriffithbaseball.org
Jeff Keppinger Named All-American
ATHENS, GA.-----University of Georgia shortstop Jeff Keppinger has been named a third team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.
The ABCA All-America teams are collegiate baseball's oldest selections, dating to 1949. The 277 Division I coaches have the opportunity to nominate and vote on these selections which are initially compiled into eight All-Region teams. These teams are then finalized as the first, second and third All-America teams. Keppinger was the All South Region first team selection at shortstop. The ABCA's first team shortstop was Rutgers senior Darren Fenster (.433, 101 hits, 55 RBI) while the second team pick was Old Dominion junior Tim Hummell (.408, 22 SB, 68 RBI).
Keppinger, the Bulldog offensive MVP, led the 2000 team in several categories including batting, runs, hits and on-base percentage. He was one of the top defensive shortstops in the Southeastern Conference at .947. Keppinger (.365-6-47) was one of four unanimous All-SEC selections as voted on by the league's coaches. He was among 40 players invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials held earlier this month in Tucson, Ariz.
Currently Keppinger is one of a handful of Bulldogs playing in the Cape Cod Summer League in Massachusetts. Keppinger recently joined the Orleans Cardinals after he was not among the 22 players selected for the USA summer traveling team. Georgia's Doc Brooks leads the Cape Cod league with five home runs. Brooks is batting .327-5-11 in his first 14 games in the wood bat league.
DIAMOND DOG CHRIS CLARK SIGNS WITH ATLANTA BRAVES
ATHENS-----University of Georgia senior pitcher Chris Clark is the latest Bulldog to embark on a professional baseball career after signing with the Atlanta Braves Wednesday.
The former Diamond Dog signed a free agent contract with the club after a workout at Turner Field. Clark will report to the Jamestown Jammers on Monday, the Braves short-season Class A affiliate in Jamestown, N.Y. The Jammers play in the New York-Penn League.
Clark, named Georgia's Most Valuable Pitcher in 2000, led the club in wins (7), complete games (5), innings pitched (99) and strikeouts (84). He went 7-5 with a 5.55 ERA in 14 starts as opponents batted .287 against him. He enjoyed his finest collegiate season this year, posting career-highs in the aforementioned categories. Also for the second straight year, he recorded a complete game road victory over the eventual national champion. He beat LSU 7-3 in Baton Rouge to open Southeastern Conference play in March, and as a junior, he pitched a complete game at Miami (Fla.), beating the Hurricanes 4-3.
Clark is the third Bulldog to sign a professional contract this year, joining Matt Steele (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Josh Hudson (Adirondack Lumberjacks). Georgia finished 32-26 this past season.
DIAMOND DOG JOSH HUDSON SIGNS WITH ADIRONDACK LUMBERJACKS OF THE NORTHERN LEAGUE
ATHENS-----University of Georgia senior infielder Josh Hudson became the latest Bulldog to begin his professional baseball career after signing with the Adirondack Lumberjacks of the Northern League this past weekend. The former Diamond Dog signed a free agent contract with the club which is based in Glens Falls, N.Y. The Northern League is an independent league with teams also in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Quebec.
The Lumberjacks currently lead the Eastern Division with a 12-7 mark. Hudson, a career .318 hitter, played in 200 games including 184 starts. This past season, he started all 58 games for the Bulldogs, batting .301-1-28. He had a school-record 28-game hitting streak as a junior when he batted .387-2-36 in earning second team All-Southeastern Conference honors.
Hudson joins senior pitcher Matt Steele, a 28th-round selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as the latest Bulldogs to join the professional ranks. Steele signed with the club on June 9 and has since reported to a minicamp at the team's minor-league training facility in Tucson.
Matt Steele Selected by Arizona In the 28th Round of Baseball Draft
The Arizona Diamondbacks selected University of Georgia senior pitcher Matt Steele Tuesday in the 28th round of Major League Baseball's 2000 First-Year Player draft.
Steele, a 6-3, 210-pound righthander from Bonita Springs, Fla., was an Academic All-Southeastern Conference selection and co-captain of the 2000 Bulldogs. He went 6-4 with a 7.57 ERA in 16 appearances for the Bulldogs including a team-high 15 starts. In 71.1 innings, he he had 29 walks and 61 strikeouts. Steele said he was pleased to be drafted but surprised the call came from the Diamondbacks.
"I had talked with Houston, the Yankees and the Twins before the draft, and they told me they were looking at taking me after the 20th round, and then I got the call from Arizona that they had drafted me," said Steele who graduated last month with a degree in Management Information Systems. "That's fine with me. I just want a chance to play. With my degree, there are a lot of good paying jobs out there, but this an opportunity I can't pass up."
Earlier in his baseball career, Steele turned down a chance to begin playing professionally. After his freshman year at Chipola Junior College, he was selected by the California Angels in the 40th round of the 1997 draft. After two years at Chipola, he signed with the Bulldogs.
"After junior college, I wanted to help Georgia but that first season didn't work out too well," said Steele. "This year with Coach (Daron) Schoenrock and Coach (Ron) Polk, things went much better. I appreciate all their help and the confidence to stick with me.
In 1999, Steele made eight appearances for the Bulldogs, pitching only nine innings. He allowed 22 runs on 19 hits and did not record a decision. This past fall, he emerged as Georgia's top pitcher and became Georgia's No. 2 starter behind senior Chris Clark. In his final Bulldog start, Steele combined with Jeffery Carswell to shut out #10 Miss. State 5-0 at the SEC Tournament on May 18. Steele's other season highlights included beating then sixth-ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta, seventh-ranked Alabama and carried a perfect game against Mississippi into the seventh inning before eventually winning 6-3. Steele went 3-4, 8.87 in SEC games.
GEORGIA: 32-26 Overall, 14-15 SEC (3rd East)
Georgia's 32 Wins was the most since the 1992 team went 35-25. Georgia's third place finish in the East was its best SEC finish since 1992.
The Bulldogs qualified for the SEC Tournament for the first time since 1995 when all 12 SEC teams advanced. From 1993-1995, all 12 SEC teams played in the tournament with 1992 the last year teams had to qualify and the Bulldogs made the eight-team field. In the 2000 tournament, Georgia tied for fifth, going 1-2. The Bulldogs lost to #9 LSU and #18 Alabama and blanked #10 Miss. State for its first shutout on the year.
Georgia's 14 regular season SEC wins was the most since 1990 when the Bulldogs went 18-9. The plus-six turnaround is the best since a record plus-eight turnaround by the 1975 team which won the SEC East Division with an 11-4 mark after going 3-13 in 1974. Georgia was 8-20-1 in the SEC last year.
Several Top Five Performances in Georgia History
All-time home attendance record with 50,458 fans (32 games), Avg: 1,576
426 RBI Ranks 2nd Best
140 Doubles Ranks T2nd Best with 1987 team.
5 Grand Slams ranks T2nd Best (two other teams)
1,008 Total Bases Ranks 3rd Best
464 Runs ranks 3rd Best
640 Hits Ranks 3rd Best
.966 FLDG% Ranks 4th Best (3 Teams fielded a record .968)
Jeff Keppinger and Chris Clark Tabbed MVPs
Sophomore All-SEC shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.365-6-47) and senior pitcher Chris Clark (7-5, 5.55) earned Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Pitcher honors for the Bulldogs.
Keppinger led the Bulldogs in several offensive categories including batting, runs, hits and on-base percentage. He was one of the top defensive shortstops in the SEC at .947. Keppinger was one of four unanimous All-SEC selections as voted on by the league's coaches. He was the lone Bulldog to earn All-SEC honors. He was among the first 20 invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials.
Clark became Georgia's ace, leading the club in wins, complete games (5), innings pitched (99) and strikeouts (84). He had the lowest ERA among starters and second only to sophomore reliever Jeffery Carswell (5-5, 3.20, 4 SV). He enjoyed his finest collegiate season, posting career-highs in the aforementioned categories.
Top 10 Performances by Bulldogs in 2000
Sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.303-16-59) had a team-best 16 home runs, the most by a Bulldog since Andy Osbolt hit a record 23 in 1998. The 16 homers ranks in a tie for 5th best in a season for a Bulldog.
Sophomore outfielder Adam Swann (.305-9-46) tied the school record for Grand Slams in a season with three. Three other Bulldogs share the mark.
GEORGIA'S JEFF KEPPINGER EARNS ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM HONORS
ATHENS-----University of Georgia sophomore shortstop Jeff Keppinger is one of four unanimous All-Southeastern Conference First Team selections, the league announced Monday.
Keppinger, Georgia's leading hitter and one of the top players in the league, joins Auburn first baseman Todd Faulkner, LSU catcher Brad Cresse and South Carolina pitcher Kip Bouknight as unanimous choices on the All-SEC First Team. Also, Bouknight was named SEC Player of the Year while SEC Coach of the Year honors went to Ray Tanner, who led the Gamecocks to the SEC title and a 50-6 record.
Keppinger, a native of Auburn, Ga., is the lone Bulldog to make the All-SEC team. He is batting a team-best .358 with six home runs and 46 RBI. This is the latest honor for Keppinger, who earlier this month was one of the first 20 players invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials held in Tucson, Arizona this June.
Georgia (31-24) returns to action Wednesday at the SEC Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. They will face second seed and Western Division champion LSU (39-17) at 2 p.m.
The rest of the All-SEC First team included Chris Burke (2B-Tenn.), Travis Chapman (3B-Miss. State), outfielders Gabe Gross (Auburn), Tim Olson (Florida), Karl Nonemaker (Vanderbilt), Jason Dill (DH-Florida), Chris Bootcheck (P-Auburn) and relief pitcher Scott Barber (USC).
This Week: SEC Tournament
Last Week: 1-3
Georgia (30-21 Overall, 14-12 SEC, 3rd East)
Last Week: (2-1)
This Week: (4 games)
Bulldogs Qualify for SEC Tournament
For the first time since 1995, Georgia is going to the postseason, that is the SEC Tournament (May 17-21 in Hoover, Ala.). With Saturday's 5-4 win over Ole Miss, the Bulldogs clinched a spot in the eight-team tournament as they recorded their 14th SEC victory. Georgia concludes SEC regular season play at Florida this weekend.
Overall, the Bulldogs are 30-21 and 14-12 in the league. The 14 league wins in the most by the Bulldogs since the 1990 national championship team went a school-best 18-9.
Also, Georgia picked up its 30th win of the season in the Ole Miss series, the most wins by the club since the 1993 team went 30-29.
Georgia Closes out Home Season Wednesday with Ga. State
Georgia concludes its second best home season in Foley Field history on Wednesday with the Panthers of Georgia State. The Bulldogs finest home season at Foley Field came in 1990 when they went 31-4(.886). This year, Georgia owns a 25-6 (.806) home mark. The Panthers beat Georgia 4-3 in Atlanta back on March 15. The Bulldogs leads the all-time series 24-5.
Bulldogs Battle Gators For Second Place in SEC East
Georgia heads to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to close out the regular season and second place in the SEC East will be one element at stake. Florida has dominated the series of late with Georgia's last series win in 1995 in Athens (2-1). Since then, the Gators are 9-3 against Georgia. The Bulldogs last won in Gainesville in 1994 and last won a series there in 1987 (2-1). The Gators lead the overall series 137-61-2 in records dating back to 1950.
Swann Hit Streak Now at 15 Games
Sophomore RF Adam Swann (.325-9-47) owns a career-best hitting streak of 15 games. Swann has been Georgia's top performer in SEC games where he is batting .378-6-27. He has tied the school record for grand slams in a season with three. The longest Bulldog hitting streak this season is 17 games by Jeff Keppinger and Josh Hudson. Hudson owns the school record with a 28-game streak last season.
Steele Flirts With Perfect Game, Settles for a Win
Senior Matt Steele (6-3, 7.74) almost went out in grand fashion in his final start at Foley Field. The right-hander carried a perfect game for 6.1 innings against Ole Miss Saturday before a walk and two-run homer ended the bid. He left that inning but Georgia hung on for a 5-4 win to give him his sixth victory.
Versatile Neufeld Filling in Around the Diamond
Junior Andy Neufeld (.339-9-47) has started 48 games for the Bulldogs including 15 at third base, 13 at second base, 11 at shortstop and 9 as the DH. With regular SS Jeff Keppinger (.378-6-44) resting a sore shoulder/rotator cuff the last three weekends as a DH, Neufeld has started eight of the last 10 games at SS. Keppinger is in his first big slump this season, going 3-for-24 in the last six games. His batting average is down to .378 after being above .400 until the series against top-ranked South Carolina back on April 28. Despite the slump, Keppinger leads the club in batting and ranks fifth in RBI.
Georgia (28-20 Overall, 12-11 SEC, 3rd East)
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE (3 Games)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: 0-4
Diamond Dog Notes:
Late-Inning Home Runs Doom Road Dogs Against Ranked Foes This Past Week
Against Tech, Georgia trails 3-2 in the 6th before Jackets score four runs on two HRs for 7-3 win
Against USC Friday, Georgia erases 4-0 first-inning deficit, trails 6-5 in the 7th before 3-run HR by Trey Dyson lifts Gamecocks to 9-5 win
Against USC Saturday, game tied 5-5 in the 7th until 2-run HR by Tripp Kelly gives USC 7-5 win
Against USC Sunday, Bulldogs erase 4-0 deficit with 4-run 5th, take 7-5 lead in the 9th, USC scores four in the 9th including 2-out, 3-run HR from Brandon Pack for 9-7 win and sweep.
Sunday Heartbreakers Leave Bulldogs Wondering What If...
For the 3rd time this season, Georgia let an SEC Sunday road game get away, and it's been a left-handed hitter breaking the Bulldogs heart each time.
March 26 at #8 Auburn: Dogs go up 8-7 in 10th; With two outs, Bulldogs walk No. 8 and No. 9 hitter, Dominic Rich delivers 2-run game-winning double off of Jeffery Carswell.
April 9 at Vandy: Dogs lead 13-12 in 9th; With one out, Kevin Geshke singles, Ashley Freeman hit by a pitch, Karl Nonemaker delivers 2-run game-winning double off of Jeffery Carswell.
April 30 at #1 USC: Dogs lead 7-5 in 9th; With two outs, Brandon Pack hits 3-run HR off of Jeffery Carswell for 9-7 win.
Carswell is 4-5 on the year with a team-low 3.55 ERA and 2 saves. He had a stretch of 9.2 scoreless innings, spanning four appearances until allowing a lone hit in three innings of work Saturday at Columbia. The one hit, a 2-run by Tripp Kelly giving SC a 7-5 win.
Versatile Neufeld Filling in at Shortstop
Junior Andy Neufeld (.333-9-46) has started 45 games for the Bulldogs including 13 at second base, 12 at third base,11 at shortstop and 9 as the DH. With regular SS Jeff Keppinger (.395-6-44) resting a sore shoulder/rotator cuff the last two weekends as a DH, Neufeld has started the last 7 games at SS. Keppinger went 2-for-13 in the USC series and saw his average dip below .400 for the first time this year at .395. Keppinger is trying to become the first Bulldog since Buck Belue (.447) in 1982 to bat .400 in a season.
Brooks on 40-Man Watch List for Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award
Sophomore Doc Brooks (.326-14-52) is among the 40 players on the Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Watch List.
The list will be trimmed to 10 semi-finalists by May 15th. In SEC games, Brooks is batting .341-7-25. Brooks has started all 48 games with 33 behind the plate and 13 in left field and 2 as the DH.
Fan Appreciation Weekend
Georgia would like to say thanks to all of its fans this season. During the upcoming Ole Miss series, it will be Fan Appreciation Weekend.
At each game over the weekend fans will have a chance to win the following prizes:
One (1) fan at each game will win a team autographed baseball, compliments of the UGA Athletic Association.
One (1) fan at each game will win (2) 2001 Georgia Baseball Season Tickets, compliments of the UGA Athletic Association.
Two (2) fans at each game will win (4) tickets to an upcoming Atlanta Braves game this season, compliments of WSB Radio.
One (1) fan at each game, will have the chance to win $5,000 if the Bulldogs strike out the side in the 4th Inning of Friday's game, if the Bulldogs hit a Grand Slam in the 4th Inning of Saturday's game and if the Bulldogs turn a Triple Play during Sunday's game.
On Friday, One (1) fan will win a Georgia Bulldog Gift Basket, compliments of Bulldog Baskets. Also on Friday, Four (4) fans will win gift certificates from local restaurants in Celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
On Saturday, the First 500 fans will receive a Georgia Baseball Pen compliments of SunTrust Bank. Also on Saturday, we will have a pregame ceremony honoring this year's Senior players.
On Sunday, the First 500 fans will receive a Georgia Baseball 16oz. Souvenir Cup compliments of Georgia Power.
Current Record: 28-16 Overall; 12-8 SEC (2nd East)
ON DECK: Ron Polk's Georgia Bulldogs will put their five-game winning streak on the line with four games against ranked opponents this week starting with top 10 in-state rival Georgia Tech (34-10, 14-4 ACC) Tuesday and then resume SEC play at top-ranked South Carolina (41-4, 18-3) on Friday.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Georgia has already played 15 games against ranked opponents and owns an 8-7 mark in these games. Georgia leads this year's four-game series with the Yellow Jackets 2-1. The Bullldogs have already faced one top-ranked team this season (Clemson) and beat the Tigers 10-6 in Athens back on March 29.
SEC WINS: For the second time this season, Georgia swept an SEC series, beating Arkansas three times this past weekend to improve to 12-8 in the league, which is the Most SEC Wins in a Season for Georgia Since 1992 (12-11). The last time Georgia swept two SEC series in the same season was also 1992. Georgia has swept Alabama and Arkansas this year and before that, the last time Georgia swept two SEC series against Western Division foes was 1987 (Alabama and Auburn). The Bulldogs are 8-4 against Western Division teams this year, the most wins by the Bulldogs against the West since they returned to Divisions in 1992.
BASES LOADED AGAIN AND AGAIN: Georgia has made 120 plate appearances with the bases loaded this year with 92 at bats compared to just 26 by its opponents. Georgia is hitting .337 in this situation while opponents are batting just .192.
The Bulldogs have 5 grand slams including a school-record tying three by sophomore Adam Swann, which are his only three hits in 13 plate appearances in this spot. The team record for slams in a season is 6.
ATTENDANCE RECORD: Georgia established a new single-season home attendance mark this past weekend with a total of 43,109 fans visiting Foley Field on the year. Georgia has four more home games left for a total of 32 dates. The old mark was 42,519 set back in 1992 in 31 games.
Sophomore shortstop Jeff Keppinger (.411-4-42) was among the first 20 players invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials (held in June), USA Baseball announced this past week. Keppinger leads the Bulldogs in batting at .411 overall and .412 in SEC Games. He didn't get much to hit in the Arkansas series, going 4-for-8 with HR, 7 walks and scored 8 runs. After not hitting a home run in the first 35 games, he has hit four in the last nine games.
Sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.348-14-50) continues to swing a hot bat and is tearing up SEC pitching, batting .373-7-23 in league games. He is among those on the 40-man "watch-list" for the Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award. He has already passed his HR and RBI production from last year and more impressive, his OB% is 100 points higher (Currently .444).
Sophomore right fielder Adam Swann (.329-8-43) enjoyed his best week yet, batting .500 (12-for-24) with 2 HRs and 11 RBI including .643-2-8 in the Arkansas series. He tied a Georgia record with his third grand slam of the season, coming against Arkansas Saturday.
Senior Chris Clark (6-2, 4.32) notched his fourth complete game of the year in beating Arkansas 10-2 last Friday. Clark has four of Georgia's five CGs on the year. In his first three seasons at Georgia, Clark was 4-7. He is 4-1 in the SEC this year.
Junior Jeffery Carswell (4-3, 2.98) has been the top option out of the bullpen and had another impressive weekend in the Arkansas series. He went 1-0 with 1 Save, pitching 5.1 scoreless innings, facing 19 batters and allowing just 3 hits with no walks and 4 strikeouts.
Junior Andy Neufeld (.342-9-45) is the most versatile Bulldog, making starts at second, third and shortstop this season. He played shortstop in the Arkansas series. He ranks second on the team in Home Runs and RBI behind catcher Doc Brooks (.348-14-50).
MAX HAVEL SIGNS WITH DIAMOND DOGS
ATHENS----- University of Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk announced today the signing of junior college pitcher Max Havel of Owings, Md., to a national letter-of-intent.
Havel, a 6-3, 185-pounder, is a standout pitcher at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., for coach Jeff Johnson. This season, Havel is 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA and four saves. Currently, Chipola owns a record of 28-20. Last year as a freshman for the Indians, Havel went 3-2, with a 2.23 ERA and six saves for a squad that finished 43-12.
This past summer, he was an all-star for the Cortland Apples in the Northwestern Collegiate Baseball League. Max is the son of Jeff and Donna Havel. Max graduated from Riverdale Baptist and was a three-year lettermen in baseball including earning MVP honors as a senior for Terry Terrill's squad. In his final year, he led the Crusaders to a 33-5 mark while posting a 6-1 record and 2.54 ERA on the mound. He was invited to the Team One showcase as a junior and was a three-time Southern Maryland All-Star selection in his career.
"We are pleased to announce the signing of Max Havel to a national letter of intent to attend the University of Georgia this coming fall semester," said Georgia coach Ron Polk. "He has had a tremendous career at Chipola Junior College, and we're hoping he can step in and provide us with some quality innings. We're excited that he is going to be a Bulldog."
GEORGIA'S JEFF KEPPINGER AMONG FIRST 20 INVITED TO USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS IN JUNE
TUCSON, ARIZONA ----- University of Georgia sophomore shortstop Jeff Keppinger is among the first 20 players invited to participate in the 2000 USA Baseball National Team Trials (to be held in Tucson, June 16-21), USA Baseball announced Wednesday.
Keppinger, one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference, leads the Bulldogs (24-16) in batting at .410, ranks second in RBI with 40 and has three home runs. He also ranks among the finest defensive shortstops in the SEC with a .941 fielding percentage. On the year, he has made just nine errors in 153 total chances.
The National Team, which will travel around the world this summer, will be selected from a pool of 35-40 players at the trials. USA Baseball will announce the names of the remaining playes to be invited sometime by the end of May. Southern California's Mike Gillespie will serve as the head coach for the team. The official team roster will be determined and announced on June 21.
Keppinger is the first Georgia player to be invited to the trials since 1997 (pitcher Zack Frachiseur). Georgia has had two players make the USA National Summer team -- pitchers Dave Fleming in 1989 and Brian Powell in 1994.
Three players from the '99 National Team have been invited back this year. They are: LHP Len DiNardo from Stetson, RHP Mark Prior from USC and RHP Josh Karp from UCLA. In addition, the MVP of the '99 World Junior Championship and a member of the USA Junior National World Championship team - IF Jeff Baker from Clemson - will attend the trials as well.
NED YOST IV SIGNS WITH DIAMOND DOGS
ATHENS----- University of Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk announced today the signing of catcher/outfielder Ned Yost IV of Marietta, Ga., to a national letter-of-intent.
Yost, a 6-2, 185-pounder, is a standout student and baseball player at Lassiter High School for coach Mickey McMurtry. Currently, Yost is batting .392-2-19 for the Trojans who were named national high school champions by several baseball publications in 1999. The Trojans went 35-2 and were the AAAA state champions last season. He has been a member of the East Cobb River Dogs and a part of the AAYBA World Series Championship team. Yost is a member of the Honor Roll, Student Council as well as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader. Yost joins fellow teammate Rusty Krueger as Bulldog signees. Ned is the son of Deborah and Ned Yost. His father is the third base coach for the Atlanta Braves.
"We are excited to announce the signing of Ned Yost to a national letter of intent to attend the University of Georgia this coming fall semester," said Georgia coach Ron Polk. "We have been so impressed with Ned's abilities both on the baseball field and in the classroom. He is a hard working young man who will be a tremendous asset to the Bulldog baseball program both on and off the field."
Last Game: l. to Kentucky 6-5 in game three of a three game series on Saturday
Up Next: vs. Columbus State in a one game series starting Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
AROUND THE DIAMOND
Georgia faces Columbus State (28-19) Tuesday and USC-Aiken Wednesday beore returning to league play with Arkansas (16-23, 2-14 SEC). The Cougars of Columbus State are coached by former Georgia lettermen/assistant Greg Appleton. Appleton played at Georgia from 1981-84, served as a graduate assistant in 1985 and spent six seasons as an assistant coach under Steve Webber. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree during this time.
Georgia is 3-0 versus USC-Aiken, the last meeting coming back in 1986. This is a make-up game due to a rainout earlier this season.
Arkansas leads the series with Georgia 10-2. In the last meeting, the Razorbacks swept a three-game series in Fayetteville back in 1997. Georgia won the last series played in Athens 2-1 in 1996. Arkansas was swept by Alabama in Fayetteville this past week, dropping three one-run contests.
The Saturday Georgia-Arkansas game will be televised live by FOX/SporthSouth as the SEC Game of the Week. First pitch Saturday will be 4:15 p.m. Also, please note Sunday's game time has been moved up one hour and will start at Noon.
All-Star Candidate: Sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.357-12-42) has already matched his home run total and passed his RBI production from a year ago. As a freshman, Brooks hit .286-12-31 in 42 games. What is just as impressive is his on-base percentage is 102 points higher at .446 compared to just .344 last year.
In SEC games this season, Brooks is batting .394-6-20.
All-Star Candidate: Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger leads the club in batting at .406-2-36 overall and .403-1-17 in SEC games. He is among the top defensive shortstops in the SEC, fielding .941 with nine errors in 153 total chances. After not having a home run in the first 35 games, Keppiger has hit two in the last four games. Last season, Keppinger hit seven round-trippers to go with a .383 batting average and 48 RBI in earning consensus Freshman All-America honors. Keppinger has struck out only five times in 155 at-bats.
DID YOU KNOW? Georgia has been very patient at the plate this season and consequently they have a chance to have more Walks then Strikeouts for the first time since 1983.
Currently, Georgia has 211 walks and has struck out 218 times. Back in 1983, Georgia had 293 walks to 208 strikeouts.
Georgia's on-base percentage is .409 compared to just .376 at this point last season. In 1999, Georgia had 218 walks with 346 strikeouts.
AROUND THE DIAMOND
This Week (5 games):
Series History: Earlier this season, Georgia upset then top-ranked Clemson 10-6 (March 29) in Athens including chasing ace Ryan Motl in the fourth inning. Motl entered the game 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA but left after allowing four runs on eight hits. Sophomore Bill Sharpton set career highs in IP (7) and Ks (9) in earning the win. Every Bulldog had at least one hit and eight of nine scored at least one run. Overall, Clemson (28-7) leads the series 57-36-1 in records dating back to 1950.
Georgia will face University of Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.. This will be the first-ever meeting. This game along with next Wedneday's contest versus USC-Aiken are makeup games due to a pair of rainouts the Bulldogs have had this season.
Georgia leads the series with Kentucky 90-69-1. The Wildcats (25-8-1, 5-8-1 SEC) won the series 2-1 last year in Lexington and 2-1 in Athens back in 1998. Georgia pitching coach Daron Schoenrock spent the previous two seasons as UK's pitching cocach on Keith Madison's staff.
All-Star Candidate: Sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.355-11-37) followed up his SEC Player of the Week performance by batting .526 with four home runs and 10 RBI. Over the past two weeks, Brooks is batting .567 (17-for-30) with six homers and 15 RBI. In SEC games, Brooks is batting .400-6-19.
All-Star Candidate: Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger leads the club in batting at .414-0-31 overall and .458-0-15 in SEC games. After having just three errors and two strikeouts on the year, Keppinger made four errors and struck out twice in the Vanderbilt series. He is fielding .944 (125 total chances, 34 putouts, 84 assists, 7 errors) with four strikeouts in 156 plate appearances. Currently, he has a 15-game hitting streak.
DID YOU KNOW? Georgia has made 86 plate appearances with the bases loaded including 69 at bats compared to just 19 by its opponents. In this situation, the Bulldogs are batting .348 while opponents are at .263. A trio of Bulldogs are tied with 12 plate appearances with the bases loaded with sophomore RF Adam Swann (.309-5-29) delivering 15 RBI on just two hits (grand slams), 4 walks and three SF in this situation.
DOUBLE VISION: Georgia had a school record eight doubles in a 15-7 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville Friday.
DOC BROOKS NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ATHENS------Sophomore catcher Doc Brooks has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.
Brooks helped the 19th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (19-10, 7-4 SEC) to a 3-0 mark last week, posting wins over then top-ranked Clemson and two over Tennessee. For the week, Brooks hit .636 (7-for-11) with five RBI, one double and a home run. Against the Volunteers, he hit .500 (4-for-8) including a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday night's contest to give Georgia a 10-7 win in the two-game series. The Sunday game was rained out.
A native of Phenix City, Ala., Brooks leads the club in home runs with six while batting .324 with 27 RBI. In SEC games, he is batting .341-2-11.
Georgia returns to action today, playing host to Samford at 7 p.m.
Date: April 4, 2000
BULLDOGS ADD A PAIR OF GAMES DUE TO RAINOUTS
ATHENS----The 19th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs have added a pair of midweek games to their schedule to replace a couple of contests that have been rained out earlier this season.
Georgia (19-10, 7-4 SEC) will play host to the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will play host to USC-Aiken on Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m.
GEORGIA LOOKS TO EXTEND WIN STREAK
Georgia (19-10, 7-4 SEC) wraps up a six-game homestand with a pair of midweek contests, first against Samford Tuesday and then with Wofford Wednesday. Both games will start at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs resume SEC play at Vanderbilt (14-16, 2-9 SEC) on Friday in the first of a three-game series. Georgia went 3-0 last week, posting wins over top-ranked Clemson and two over Tennessee all coming at Foley Field. The Sunday game was cancelled due to rain.
The Bulldog bats remained hot with sophomore catcher Doc Brooks (.324-6-27) leading the group, batting .636 (7-11) last week with a home run, five RBI and six runs scored. Brooks is batting .341-2-11 in SEC games.
AROUND THE DIAMOND
Tough at Home...Top Hitters...Streaks...Ducks on the Pond
Georgia is 15-2 at home this season including 5-0 in SEC games with the latest wins coming over Tennessee this past weekend. With last Wednesday's win over #1 Clemson, Georgia is 5-0 at home versus teams ranked in the top 10. Overall, Georgia is 9-6 vs top 25 ranked teams.
Sophomore Jeff Keppinger (.429-0-28), one of the top hitters in the SEC and the top defensive SS, leads the club in batting at .429 overall and .489 in SEC games. Keppinger is fielding .980 with just two errors in 94 total chances. Also, he has struck out just two times in 131 plate appearances. Keppinger has hit safely in the last 10 games.
Georgia second baseman Josh Hudson (.328-1-18) extended his hitting streak to a season-high 17 games. During this stretch, he is batting .382 (29-76). He has hit safely in 25 of 29 games plus went 1-3 with a wood bat against the Atlanta Braves in an exhibition contest back on March 2. Last season, Hudson set a Bulldog record by hitting in 28 straight games.
Inside the Numbers: Georgia has already had 61 at bats with the bases loaded this season compared to just 16 by its opponents. The Bulldogs are batting .361 in this situation while opponents are hitting only .188. Last year, Georgia came to the plate 66 times with the bases full and hit .258 while opponents got 69 chances and hit .261.
Every one of the nine regulars on this year's team has had at least four chances with the bases loaded with junior Mark Thornhill (.309-2-32) leading the way with nine. Not surprising, he leads the club in RBI with 32. Sophomore Adam Swann (.308-5-25) is 2-for-4 in this situation with two grand slams. The school record for most slams in a year is three.
Season of Streaks Continue
A season of ups and downs continues for the Bulldogs as they look to end their second three-game losing streak of the year. Georgia will play host to top-ranked Clemson (23-3) on Wednesday and then resume SEC play with Tennessee (24-8, 4-4 SEC) coming to town for a three-game set Friday. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 7 by Baseball America and No. 8 by Baseball Weekly last week and swept a three-game set from the Citadel.
Georgia went 1-4 last week including getting swept by No. 10 Auburn (26-6, 6-3) in Auburn. You can use the cliche, "they just have our number" because that's 12 straight victories for the Tigers over the Bulldogs. Still, the Bulldogs went a respectable 5-4 against the three SEC West heavyweights (LSU, Alabama, Auburn) to start league play with two of those series coming on the road. Now, Georgia has three of its next four league series at Foley Field where the Bulldogs are 12-2 this season.
Clemson owns a 57-35-1 edge over the Bulldogs in the series history. Clemson won both meetings last year (17-5 in Clemson, 7-6 at Foley Field). The last time Georgia faced a team ranked No. 1 was in 1997 when defending national champion LSU came to town. Georgia went 1-2 with an 11-9 Saturday win. The Vols hold an 86-67 edge in the series history over the Bulldogs including a sweep last season. Georgia won the 1998 series in Athens (2-1) which broke a 15-game losing streak to the Vols.
Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger, the top hitter in the SEC and for the Bulldogs at .444-0-25, hit .462 in the Auburn series (6-13) to increase his league batting average to .514 (19-for-37). The shortstop is also fielding .978 with just 2 errors in 91 total chances. He has had a team-leading 14 multi-hit games. Senior 2B/DH Josh Hudson (.333-0-14) currently owns a 14-game hitting streak, the longest of any Bulldog this season. Hudson set a Georgia record last year with a 28-game hitting streak.
Lettermen's Day to be held Saturday
The fifth annual Georgia Baseball Lettermen's Day will be held this Saturday, April 1 at Foley Field with the focus on honoring the 1990 national championship team. The Bulldogs play host to Tennessee that afternoon at 1 p.m. A special pre-game presentation will start at 12:45 p.m., recognizing all lettermen including members of the 1990 championship team in attendance. Also, there will be a presentation of the Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award (Dave Fleming), the Distinguished Alumni Award (Charley Trippi) and the Jim Whatley Captain's Award (Matt Steele and Josh Dorminy).
Lettermen from six different decades ranging from the 1940-1990s are expected to attend including several from the national championship team. Members of the 1990 team planning to attend include former All-America pitcher Dave Fleming, first baseman Brian Jester, left fielder Doug Radziewicz, infielder David Perno as well as catchers Tommy Owen and J.P. Stewart. Former Bulldog and Major League standouts Cris Carpenter and Derek Lilliquist, who led Georgia to its first College World Series appearance in 1987, are scheduled to attend too.
LETTERMAN'S DAY 2000: Saturday, April 1
Honoring the 1990 National Championship Team
The focus of the annual Letterman's Day this year will be to honor the 1990 national championship team. Plan to attend this special day which will begin Saturday, April 1st at Foley Field.
The 2000 Georgia Bulldogs play host to Tennessee that afternoon at 1 p.m. A special pre-game presentation will start at 12:45 p.m., recognizing all lettermen including members of the 1990 championship team in attendance. Also, there will be a presentation of the UGA Distinguished Athletic Achievement Award and the Jim Whatley Captain's Award. A cocktail reception and dinner will be held later that evening at the Georgia Center.
Bulldog Streaks Continue
Fresh off a three-game sweep of sxith-ranked Alabama, the Georgia Bulldogs (15-6, 5-1 SEC) are now 7-3 against ranked teams in the top 25. The Bulldogs have started another winning streak. Georgia's season has been a series of streaks, albeit more winning than losing. The Bulldogs started the year winning eight, lost three in Minnesota at the Metrodome, then won their next four, then lost three and now have won their last three.
Last week, Georgia made its debut in the top 25 at No. 22 (Collegiate Baseball) and No. 23 (USA Today/Baseball Weekly) in two of the nation's three polls. The Bulldogs should move up in the latest polls which are released Monday afternoon.
This week, Georgia plays host to UNC-Asheville (7-10) on Tuesday, The Citadel (17-5) on Wednesday and then head to Auburn to face the 11th-ranked Tigers (23-6, 3-3 SEC). The Tigers are off until the Bulldogs visit. They began league play by getting swept at home by South Carolina but then rebounded to sweep Arkansas in Fayetteville this past weekend.
In the series history, Georgia is 8-0 versus UNC-Asheville, 0-1 versus the Citadel and trail the Auburn series 84-63. Auburn has won nine straight over Georgia in the last three years.
More "FIRSTS" for the Bulldogs
At 5-1 and tied for FIRST in SEC East, Georgia is off to its best SEC start since 1990.
The Bulldogs posted their FIRST SEC sweep in two seasons and FIRST at home since 1993 when it swept Ron Polk's number one ranked Miss. State team in 1993.
For the FIRST time in Jim Wells' six years at Alabama, he was swept by an SEC team.
Earlier this season, Georgia became the FIRST SEC East team to win a series at LSU as the Bulldogs beat then 11th-ranked LSU two games to one. It was also the FIRST time Skip Bertman had lost an SEC opener and FIRST for the Tigers since 1984. It was Georgia's FIRST win in Baton Rouge since 1988.
FIRST in Defense?: By all accounts, Georgia must be among the national leaders with an SEC-leading .979 Fielding Percentage and own a .991 mark in SEC games. Overall, they have made only 17 errors in 21 games and for the second straight SEC weekend, made just one error in the series. National team fielding leaders will be released later this month by the NCAA.
FIRST in Hitting/Defense: Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger (.438-0-21) leads the SEC and Bulldogs in batting at .438. He is among the top defensive shortstops in the league at .973 with only two errors in 73 chances.
Getting to FIRST: Georgia is hitting .326 as a team and is more patient at the plate with 112 walks compared to just 70 at this time last season...After 21 games, they have an OB% of .415 compared to just .378 last year.
Bulldogs Make Debut in Top 25;
ATHENS, GA.-----Fresh off a series win over LSU in Baton Rouge, the Georgia Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1 SEC) and senior Chris Clark received a bit of good news Monday.
The Bulldogs made their 2000 debut in the nation's top 25 Monday, checking in at No. 22 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Georgia beat 11th-ranked LSU twice in Baton Rouge this past weekend and are 4-2 against top 25-ranked teams this season.
Clark played a major role in getting the series off to a solid start with a complete game gem as Georgia defeated LSU 7-3 last Friday in front of 7,471 fans at Alex Box Stadium. Clark tied his career high with nine strikeouts in going the distance, scattering seven hits and three runs. On the year, Clark is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA. In 33 innings, he has allowed just 20 hits, nine runs and three walks while striking out 35.
"We're very proud of the way Chris Clark has pitched this season, and he pitched well last Friday in a tough place to play," said Georgia coach Ron Polk. "Chris has been a leader on the staff."
Georgia returns to action Tuesday when it plays host to No. 24 Georgia Tech (10-6) at 4:07 p.m. The game will be televised by Media One TV 33/Comcast Southeast Sports Channel. The Bulldogs won the first two meetings this season with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia travels to Atlanta to face Ga. State on Wednesday and then resumes SEC play with No. 7 Alabama coming to town Friday for the first of a three-game set.
Georgia Set to Face More Ranked Foes, Glad to Be Home for a Weekend
After two straight weeks of travel, the Georgia Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1 SEC) play four of their five games this week at home. Georgia plays host to top 20 team Ga. Tech (10-6) on Tuesday, heads to Ga. State on Wednesday and then holds its SEC home opener against top 10 ranked Alabama (15-6, 2-1). The Ga. Tech and Alabama games will be televised by Media One TV 33/Comcast Southeast Sports Channel. New Top 25 polls are due out Monday. In the month of March, eight of Georgia's 10 games have come on the road (three in Minnesosta, three in Lousiana and one each in Florida and Atlanta). Georgia is coming off its best SEC weekend in Baton Rouge ever as the Bulldogs won the series over 11th-ranked LSU two games to one. It was the first time LSU had lost a series to an SEC Eastern Division team since 1992. For the Bulldogs, it was their first pair of wins in Baton Rouge since 1988.
Bulldogs Aim to Win Ga. Tech Series
After 10-1 and 13-5 wins over then sixth-ranked Ga. Tech earlier this season, Georgia will try on Tuesday to win the series, which would be a first since 1986. First pitch will be at 4:07 p.m with the Bulldogs starting sophomore RHP Bill Sharpton (1-1, 6.32 ERA) while the Jackets will go with senior LHP Ben Sheeter (0-1, 5.59). The final game of the four-game series will on April 25 in Atlanta. With already two wins, Georgia has assured itself of at least a split in this year's series. In records dating back to 1898, Georgia leads the Tech series 179-130-1. Georgia leads the series with Ga. State 24-4, but the Panthers did beat the Bulldogs last year in Atlanta by a score of 14-10. Georgia won in Athens 13-8.
Tide Rolls In Friday for SEC Home Opener
Alabama (15-6, 2-1 SEC), ranked eighth last week, leads the series with Georgia 21-17 including winning nine of the last 12 meetings in the past four years. Georgia was swept by then 15th-ranked Alabama last season (8-2, 4-2, 9-8) in Tuscaloosa. The last time Georgia won a series over the Tide came in 1993. The two teams did not face each other in 1994 or 1995. Alabama beat No. 20 Kentucky (16-2) two out of three in Tuscaloosa this past weekend.
Jeff Keppinger and Adam Swann Lead Bulldog Offense,
Sophomores Jeff Keppinger (.453-0-17) and Adam Swann (375-5-15) helped Georgia win the LSU series this past weekend. Keppinger batted .643 (9-14) in the series while Swann hit .545-2-5 including a grand slam in Friday's 7-3 win. For the week, Swann hit .579 (11-19). On the mound, Chris Clark (3-1, 2.45) notched his second complete game. Clark beat then #6 Ga. Tech in Athens earlier this season with a complete game and matched his career high in strikeouts last Friday in Baton Rouge with nine. Last year, he beat eventual national champion Miami (Fla.) in Coral Gables. On the year he has walked just three while recording 35 strikeouts in 33 IP. Matt Steele (3-0, 4.50) did not figure in the decision in Saturday's 10-8 win in 11 innings, but he had a solid start, going seven innings and allowing just one earned run with one walk and six strikeouts.
Bulldogs Play Six Games In Six Days, Starting With Ga. Tech Series Tuesday
Georgia embarks on its busiest week in recent history as it will play six games in six days beginning with sixth-ranked Ga. Tech (8-2) on Tuesday at Foley Field. Senior Chris Clark (1-0, 0.00) will start the Tuesday game while Tech will counter with junior lefthander Cory Vance (2-0, 0.64). The game will be televised by Media One/Comcast.
The Bulldogs face the Yellow Jackets Wednesday in Atlanta, then fly down to Kissimmee to play an exhibition against the Atlanta Braves Thursday and then fly up to Minnesota for the Hormel Food Classic, a round-robin event featuring the host Golden Gophers, Wake Forest and Notre Dame. At 6-0, Georgia is off to its best start since 1978 when the Bulldogs began the year 8-0 under Roy Umstattd. The Bulldog record for most consecutive wins to start a season is 20, set by the 1908 Southern Championship team that went 20-0 overall, winning all their regular games and dropping only a pair of exhibitions to professional teams that year.
Georgia enjoyed a good stretch in 1992 going 14-1 in its first 15 games including winning 13 in a row after a 1-1 start. Last year, Georgia started out 10-1 in its first 11 games.
In records dating back to 1898, Georgia leads the Tech series 177-130-1. The Yellow Jackets have won or split the series of late with Georgia last winning the series in 1986. The Bulldogs last split evenly a four-game series in 1997. Georgia has never faced Minnesota, is 1-2 against Notre Dame but hasn't played them since 1966 and is 15-6 against Wake Forest. Georgia split a two-game set with Wake Forest last year in Athens.
Facing the Atlanta Braves For the sixth time since 1988, Georgia will battle the Atlanta Braves in a Spring Training exhibition down in Florida. Since 1994, Georgia has played the Braves every two years, and this will be its second trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. Atlanta leads the series 5-0 including a 6-1 win in 1998.
Georgia's lone run in the 1998 contest came on a first inning home run by second baseman Josh Hudson off Bruce Chen. The Bulldogs use wood bats during the game. Along with Hudson, current Bulldogs who saw action in the 1998 exhibition include Hoovey McGuirt, Chris Hays, Mark Thornhill and David Lamberth plus pitchers Chris Clark and Shaun Helmey. Of Georgia's four hits, Hudson had a pair while Hays and former Bulldog Kevin Hall each had one. Hudson also threw out Georgia Lombard attempting to steal second.
Trio of Bulldogs Own Hitting Streaks
Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger (.520-0-10), junior 2B/3B Andy Neufeld (.478-3-12) and senior CF Brian Rainwater (.464-2-8) have hit safely in all six games this season. Keppinger's streak is actually at 12 games going back to last year. Junior 3B/DH Mark Thornhill (.458-0-11) is off to a fast start too as he ranks second on the team in RBI with 11. Overall, Georgia is batting .387 as a team while holding opponents to a .201 average. The team ERA is 3.17 and fielding percentage of .969.
Five Games on tap for Bulldogs including first Roadtrip where Ron Polk made his head coaching debut
Georgia completes a five-game homestand this week by playing host to East Tenn. State (1-2) and Western Carolina (3-5) before hitting the road for a weekend series with Georgia Southern (3-2). In records dating back to 1950, Georgia is 3-0 versus ETSU, 29-14 against Western Carolina and 36-21-1 versus the Eagles. The Eagles face Alabama in Tuscaloosa during the week. Georgia's Ron Polk, one of the nationıs winningest coaches with more than 1,000 victories, enjoyed a successful Georgia debut with a two-game sweep of Marshall this past weekend. His all-time coaching record is 1,045-486 (.683) as he is in his 27th season.
Polk's first head coaching job came at Ga. Southern from 1972-75. He led the Eagles to a 155-64 mark in his four seasons including a trip to the College World Series in 1973.
Did You Know?
Ron Polk did Saturday what Georgia's last three coaches could not, and that is win in his Bulldog debut. Jim Whatley, coach of the Bulldogs from 1952-75 was the last skipper to win his Georgia debut until Polk. Between them, Roy Umstattd lost in 1976, Steve Webber in 1981 and Robert Sapp in 1997.
Keppinger, Neufeld, Thornhill and Bullpen Shine in First Weekend
Sophomore SS Jeff Keppinger, junior 2B/3B Andy Neufeld, junior 3B/DH Mark Thornhill along with the Bulldog bullpen provided highlights in Georgia's opening weekend sweep of the Thundering Herd.
Keppinger batted .750 (6-8) in the series with six runs scored, three walks and two RBI. He reached base in nine of 11 plate appearances.
Neufeld, a transfer from Manatee CC, delivered a three-run homer in his first Bulldog AB. With the count 2-2, he fouled off six pitches from Sean Reeder before launching a blast over the scoreboard. Sophomore C Doc Brooks homered last season in his first Bulldog AB. Neufeld batted .667 (4-6) with four runs scored, three RBI, two walks and was hit by a pitch.
Thornhill batted .625 (5-8) in the series with five RBI, two walks and three runs scored.
The Bulldog bullpen combined to pitch eight scoreless innings versus Marshall. Georgia starters Matt Steele and Rob Moravek allowed five runs apiece in their five innings of work but the bullpen then came on to shutout the Thundering Herd the rest of the way. In Friday's contest, sophomore Bill Sharpton shined with three scoreless innings with senior Phillip Sledge pitching the ninth while on Sunday, senior Chris Clark pitched four scoreless innings with six strikeouts to pick up a save. Sharpton and Clark are scheduled to start the East Tennessee State series.
Diamond Dog Fever at Foley Field
If the first weekend is any indication, Georgia could set attendance records this season. The two-game series attracted a total of 5,166 fans, a Foley Field record for a two-game series. Opening Day drew a crowd of 3,002, the fourth largest in Foley Field history. Capacity for the park, voted one of the top facilities in the country by Baseball America, is 3,291.
Preseason Baseball Press Conference Set For Feb. 2 in Coliseum Interview Room
ATHENS-----University of Georgia head baseball coach Ron Polk will hold a preseason press conference Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Stegeman Coliseum to discuss the upcoming season.
The press conference, scheduled 30 minutes before the Georgia-Vanderbilt basketball game, will be held in the Stegeman Coliseum interview room. Senior co-captains Josh Dorminy and Matt Steele will also be present. Georgia opens the 2000 season on Feb. 19 against Marshall. Practice began again on Monday.
Polk, one of the nation's winningest coaches with more than 1,000 victories, begins his first season at Georgia. The Bulldogs return seven starters but lost their top two pitchers off the 1999 team that went 25-30-1. The strongest aspects of the team will be hitting and defense. Georgia ranked fourth in the SEC in batting last year at .313 and its school record .968 Fielding Percentage ranked second in the league and eighth nationally.
"Our season will depend on how much mileage we get out of the pitchers,î said Polk who has 20 pitchers on the 40-man roster. "Our hitting and defense should hold its own with any team on the schedule (except the Atlanta Braves) including the SEC teams. The new system we have put in has been accepted well by the players. We feel confident that if we can stay healthy, we have a chance to surprise some people this spring."
Georgia's home schedule features Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss along with non-conference rivals Georgia Tech and Clemson visiting Foley Field.
Season tickets for the 31-game home season are only $75 and available by contacting the UGA Ticket Office at 706-542-1231 or toll free at 1-877-542-1231 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"An evening With John Grisham" Event A Sellout at Athens Classic Center
ATHENS----John Grisham, one of the world's best-selling novelists, spoke to a sold out audience in the ballroom at the Athens Classic Center on Tuesday. Capacity for the ballroom is 974, and the dinner event, sponsored by the University of Georgia baseball program, became a sellout last Thursday with over 1,000 attending Tuesday night.
"John has been a dear friend of mine for many years," said Georgia coach Ron Polk. "John accepts very few engagements, but he called me the day I was named the Georgia baseball coach and asked me if he could come speak in Athens to kick off our 2000 baseball season. I said to John, 'You bet.'"
As a writer, Grisham has produced 10 novels including six that have since been adapted and released as major motion pictures -- "A Time to Kill," "The Firm," "The Pelican Brief," "The Client," "The Chamber," and "The Rainmaker." Foreign rights for most of his novels have been sold in 36 languages. His latest work, "The Brethren," is due out in February.
The 44-year-old native of Jonesboro, Ark., grew up in Mississippi, graduated from Mississippi State in 1977 and earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1981. From 1981-1990, Grisham practiced law in Southaven, Miss., the town he grew up in and where he attended high school. In addition to his law practice, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, serving from January 1984 to September of 1990.
He began writing "A Time To Kill" in 1984, and it was published by Wynwood Press in June of 1989. The novel eventually sold approximately six million copies and spent 98 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Along with the aforementioned novels, Grisham has written "The Chamber" (1994, released as a movie in 1996), "The Rainmaker" (1996, released as a movie in 1997 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola), "The Runaway Jury" (1996, film rights have been sold to Warner Brothers), "The Partner" (1997), "The Street Lawyer" (1998) and "The Testament" (1999).
Along with "A Time To Kill," his most popular novels include "The Firm," which spent 47 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and the paperback, 90 weeks. "The Pelican Brief" made its debut at number one the New York Times bestseller list with 1.4 million copies of the hardbook sold to date and another nine million copies in paperback. "The Client" has sold 2.4 millions copies.
Grisham is married to the former Renee Jones of Southaven, Miss., and they have two children, Ty, 16, and Shea, 13. They reside in Charlottesville, Va., and Oxford, Miss.
Georgia Baseball Season Ticket Drive Underway
ATHENS-----The 2000 University of Georgia baseball season ticket campaign is now underway, and the first baseball function of the new year will take place on Jan. 25 when the Bulldogs sponsor "An Evening With John Grisham" at the Athens Classic Center.
Tickets for the Grisham event are $25 and include a buffet, plus Grisham speaking on his career and his passion for baseball. Tables for 10 can be reserved for $225. Tickets are on sale at the Classic Center Box Office or can be charged by phone by calling (706) 357-4444. Box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. All tickets must be purchased prior to the event. A total of more than 400 tickets have been sold to the event featuring the best-selling novelist.
"John will speak about his books, and how he got started in writing and his love for baseball," said Georgia coach Ron Polk. "In addition, we will introduce the 2000 Bulldog baseball team. We are hoping a large gathering from all over Georgia will attend to hear the number one novelist in the country speak and welcome him to Bulldog country."
The Bulldog begin their season Feb. 19 with a five-game homestand. Season tickets for the 31-game home season are only $75 for the general public with University of Georgia faculty getting a special rate of $20. Georgia's home schedule features Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss along with non-conference rivals Georgia Tech, and Clemson visiting Foley Field. Tickets may be purchased at the Georgia Ticket Office in the Butts-Mehre Building.
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