2003 Season Review

Georgia won eight of its last 12 games to finish at 29-26 overall in David Perno's second season at the helm. The Bulldogs went 7-8 in the second half of the SEC season after a 3-12 start in league play. Also, they went 6-4 in their last 10 games against Top 25 foes.

Georgia set a school record with a .972 Fielding Percentage, eclipsing the previous best of .968 set by three different clubs. The .972 mark ranked in a tie for 14th nationally.

Georgia's freshman class of pitchers tied the school mark for most wins, combining for 14 (also set by the 1985 and 1991 class). Redshirt-freshman RHP Michael Hyle led this year's group at 6-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 appearances including nine starts. The other wins came from LHP Will Startup (3-4, 4.36, 66 IP), RHP Brent Benefield (2-3, 2.57, 3 SV, 28 IP), LHP Rip Warren (2-1, 6.23, 30.1 IP) and LHP Kent Atzinger (1-0, 9.00, 5 IP).

Junior OF David Coffey (.355-9-40) led the Bulldogs in batting while junior 3B Lee Mitchell (.299-11-52) led the team in home runs and RBI. Coffey's most memorable feat in 2002 came against Tenn. Tech on April 30 when he had what was believed to be the first inside-the-park grand slam in school history. It happened in the eighth inning and rallied Georgia to a 9-7 win.

Georgia should return its entire pitching staff in 2004 except senior RHP Brandon Moorhead (1-1, 4.82, 5 SV, 17 app., 3 starts).

While the Bulldogs had 21 triples, the third most in school history, they hit just 38 home runs, the fewest since 1993. Georgia batted .305 overall.

Georgia placed a school record 13 Bulldogs on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. The group was headlined by OF Jon Armitage (.347-3-37), a three-time selection and Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-District pick. He is on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors which will be announced on May 27.

Georgia swept the Georgia Tech series 2-0 for the first time since 1986 and did so without playing at home. The Bulldogs posted an 8-4 win at Russ Chandler Stadium and a 10-3 victory at Turner Field, serving as the visitors in both games. The Bulldogs home game with the Yellow Jackets was cancelled due a change in the final exam schedule. Junior LHP Paul Lubrano (5-3, 3.96) started and won both games for the Bulldogs, becoming the first to do that since Jim Musselwhite did it as a freshman in 1991. Musselwhite tossed two complete games at Foley Field in beating the Yellow Jackets.
GAME OF THE YEAR: May 11, 2003 vs. #14 Miss. State at Foley Field: The "Mother" of all comebacks occurred in the series finale. Georgia trailed 7-0 going to the sixth inning and did not have a hit. They chipped away with one run in the sixth and two in the seventh, eighth and ninth to force extra innings. The four runs over the final two frames all came with two outs, highlighted by a two-run double by Justin McClain, an RBI-double by Josh Smith and a run-scoring single by David Coffey to tie it at 7-7. Then in the 14th, MSU pushed one across only to see the Bulldogs answer with a double by Jon Armitage and eventually a SF by McClain. In the 15th, Justin Holmes led off with a double and after a walk to Smith, Coffey drilled a base hit to left for the game-winner. The game took 4:41 and was the second longest in school history.

 

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