Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dawgs Receive Pre-Season Honors

FOOTBALL

Georgia has five All-Southeastern Conference First Team selections to highlight Phil Steele’s 2011 Preseason All-SEC Teams, which will be included in the Phil Steele’s 2011 College Football Preview.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray (Tampa, Fla.), junior tight end Orson Charles (Tampa, Fla.) and senior offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (Riverdale, Ga.) represent the Dawgs on the First Team offense.

Senior punter Drew Butler (Duluth, Ga.) and senior place-kicker Blair Walsh (Boca Raton, Fla.) were also named to the First Team.

In addition, Butler was named to the publication’s All-America First Team while Walsh was selected for the All-American Second Team. Charles was included on the All-America Third Team while Glenn was named to the All-America Fourth Team.

Only Alabama (seven) has more First Team selections than the Dawgs. Georgia has 15 team members listed across all four of the preseason All-SEC teams, which is also second to only Alabama (18).

The Dawgs had a pair of players named to the All-SEC Second Team. Senior center Ben Jones, a native of Centreville, Ala., and junior punt returner Branden Smith, a native of Atlanta who also plays cornerback, both garnered Second Team honors.

Four Georgia defenders received mention on the Third Team. Senior cornerback Brandon Boykin (Fayetteville, Ga.) was named to the Third Team as both a cornerback and a kickoff returner. Senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (Statesboro, Ga.), junior inside linebacker Christian Robinson (Norcross, Ga.) and junior safety Bacarri Rambo (Donalsonville, Ga.) were also named to the squad.

Junior receiver Tavarres King, a native of Mount Airy, Ga., and junior outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, a native of Hephzibah, Ga., were included on the Fourth Team.

Dawg signee Isaiah Crowell, a running back out of Columbus, was also named to the publication’s All-SEC Fourth Team.

Georgia opens its 2011 season versus Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome on September 3rd.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dawgs Chasing Beavers

BASEBALL

The Georgia baseball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will be the No. 3 seed in the Oregon State Regional in Corvallis starting Friday.

This marks the 10th overall NCAA regional bid for the Dawgs including their sixth under head coach David Perno in his 10 seasons. Georgia (31-30) has played the nation’s toughest rated schedule and has an RPI of No. 16 according to several of the nation’s leading websites that follow college baseball. Georgia played 35 games against this year’s NCAA field and posted a 15-20 record. The Dawgs had 34 games against ranked opponents this year, going 16-18 and that is the most games and wins of any team in the Southeastern Conference that garnered three national seeds. Georgia has already made one trip West this season, beating 10th-ranked UCLA on the Bruins campus along with the USC Trojans on their campus and then St. Mary’s at Dodger Stadium.

Georgia will face No. 2 seed Creighton (44-14) Friday at Goss Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. The game time has not been announced. The host and top seeded Beavers (38-17) battle No. 4 seed Arkansas Little-Rock (24-32). Each of the 16 regionals features four teams playing in a double-elimination format conducted from June 3-6.

Georgia is 1-6 all-time versus the Beavers. They first met at the 2006 College World Series and then Perno and OSU coach Pat Casey scheduled a home-and-home series for 2007 (Athens) while the 2008 series was played in Portland as the Beavers stadium was undergoing renovations following back-to-back College World Series title.

“I was a little surprised we’re going out there to Oregon State with so many ACC teams hosting, and they usually match SEC teams with them, but this is a great opportunity to go West and have some fun,” said Perno. “We showed what we’re capable of doing this past weekend at the SEC Tournament. I’m looking forward to catching up with Coach Casey. We’ll start getting prepared for Creighton and the rest of the teams in the regional. However, we don’t worry too much about who we’re playing; we try to focus on doing what we do well.”

The Dawgs are 46-28 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with six appearances in the College World Series.  Perno has led the Dawgs to the College World Series in 2004, 2006 and the CWS Finals in 2008. Perno’s teams are 26-15 in the NCAA Tournament. The last NCAA appearance for the Dawgs came in 2009 when they went 1-2 at the Tallahassee Regional.

Bolstered by a third place showing at the SEC Tournament in Hoover Ala., the Dawgs qualified for a spot in this year’s 64-team field by finishing with the NCAA-required record of at least one game over .500. Georgia went to the SEC Tournament Wednesday with a 28-28 record and then dropped its opening game to third-ranked Vanderbilt 10-0 where it was held to one hit. The Dawgs fought back to defeat Auburn Thursday, top-ranked South Carolina Friday and third-ranked Florida Saturday to reach the semifinals before the Gators stopped Georgia’s run. In the SEC regular season, Georgia went 16-14 to finish with the fourth best league mark behind SEC tri-champions Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, all who went 22-8 in the conference.

The Dawgs are led on the mound by junior right-hander Michael Palazzone (10-4, 3.20 ERA) and sophomore left-hander Alex Wood (5-7, 4.53 ERA). Also, sophomore right-hander Tyler Maloof ranks among the NCAA leaders in saves with 18 in 19 opportunities. Offensively, Georgia is paced by sophomore shortstop Kyle Farmer (.304-7-53), junior second baseman Levi Hyams (.318-4-37) and junior left fielder Zach Cone (.284-3-32). Georgia is one of the SEC’s top defensive clubs and is on pace to set a school record with a .974 fielding percentage.

“We’re glad we’re in, and we were kind of on edge there watching it and seeing all the ACC sites filling up with teams, and then finally our name popped up and we’re excited to be going to the West Coast,” said Hyams. “We made a good run at the SEC Tournament and hopefully we can do it again. We did pretty well in our first trip West this year, and I think we have a lot more in the tank.”

There are 30 Division I conferences that received an automatic berth in the field of 64, along with 34 at-large selections. The 16 Regional winners advance to Super Regionals (June 10-13) played at various campus sites (announced on June 6 at approximately 11 p.m. ET). The eight Super Regional winners earn a spot to the 65th College World Series (June 18-29) at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lady Bears Stop Dawgs

SOFTBALL

The Baylor softball team struck for five runs in the bottom of the first inning and padded the lead with three more in the fifth, claiming an eventual 9-2 win over Georgia in the rubber match of the NCAA Athens Super Regional Sunday evening in front of 1,483 at Jack Turner Softball Stadium. With the win, Baylor advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City June 2-8 while the Dawgs end their season at 51-14.

After dropping game one by a 5-1 score yesterday, Georgia responded in a big way today, posting a 14-2 romp of Baylor in this afternoon’s second game to even the series at 1-1 and force tonight’s match-up. But the Lady Bears took control in the first inning and never looked back as hurler Whitney Canion went the distance, allowing just two runs over seven innings of work, walking two and striking out three.

Georgia starter Morgan Montemayor – the game one winner – took the loss, falling to 27-5 for her freshman campaign. Montemayor allowed five runs on four hits without making it out of the first. Erin Arevalo came on in relief of Montemayor and threw four innings, allowing three runs on four hits.

The Dawgs eight-member senior class wraps up its tenure with an overall record of 194-63, a total that includes 127 home wins to mark the most of any Georgia class. The group owns 144 spots in the record book, including 13 single-season records and nine career-best totals.

“I’m so proud of Baylor in the second game,” said head coach Lu Harris-Champer. “Whitney Canion pitched a great game. I’m happy for them and I wish them well in Oklahoma City. I’m also proud of our team and the way we fought hard. Incredibly proud of our seniors and the legacy that they’ve left on this program is second to none.”

After a scoreless top of the first for Georgia, Baylor put up the five-spot with the big blow coming on a three-run shot off the bat of Megan Turk to left center that gave the Lady Bears the early 5-0 lead.

Georgia got one of those back in the top of the second as right fielder Brianna Hesson started the inning with a double in the gap in right. Ashley Razey moved her to third on a grounder to the second baseman KJ Freeland, before Kristyn Sandberg lined one to the wall in left center to score Hesson on the double, cutting it to 5-1.

Following two scoreless innings from Arevalo, Sandberg collected her second RBI of the game as she hammered a solo shot to straightaway center to make it 5-2, becoming the sixth Georgia player to hit 10 home runs this season.

The bottom of the fifth was more trouble for the Dawgs, as a two-out single from catcher Kelsi Kettler made it 6-2 before Sydney Wilson smacked a two-out, two-run homer over the scoreboard in left to push it to 8-2 in favor of BU. Alison Owen came out of the pen for Georgia and was greeted by a tripled from Kayce Walker, but Owen eventually stranded her at third to avoid further damage.

Georgia made a little noise in the top of the sixth as Trout laced a two-out single to center to send Ashley Pauly to the plate with two on, but Pauly flied to deep right to retire the side and end the threat.

Canion gave herself more insurance with a one-out bomb over the tree line in center to increase the lead to 9-2. Alisa Goler reached in the Georgia seventh but Schlopy hit into a game-ending double play as the Lady Bears held on to punch their ticket to Oklahoma City.

The Dawgs had their run at three straight WCWS appearances cut short in Georgia’s third time hosting a Super Regional. The Dawgs were playing in their 10th NCAA tournament, all under Harris-Champer’s leadership, now with a 40-20 all-time record in the postseason.

In today’s early game, the Dawgs put 14 runs across, including 10 in the fourth inning. The 14-run output marked Georgia’s postseason record. The Dawgs’ five home runs tied the school’s single-game record in that category.

Dawgs Bomb Baylor

SOFTBALL

A 10-run fourth propelled the Georgia softball team to a 14-2 five-inning win over Baylor in the second game of the NCAA Athens Super Regional to force game three tonight at the Jack Turner Softball Stadium. First pitch of the nightcap is set for 6:20 p.m. ET.

Georgia (51-13) will battle the Lady Bears (44-13) looking to secure a trip to the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City June 2-8. The trip would be the Dawgs’ third in program history and third consecutive.

Georgia’s 14 runs set a post-season school record and tied the squad’s season-best output. The Dawgs cranked out 13 hits after managing just three in yesterday’s 5-1 loss in game one.

Morgan Montemayor and Sarah McCloud combined to limit Baylor to just two runs on five hits, with Montemayor earning the win to improve to 27-4 on the season. Five different players – Megan Wiggins, Taylor Schlopy, Ashley Razey, Kristyn Sandberg, and Laura Trout left the yard for Georgia, tying the school record for most home runs in a game. Trout’s homer was the first of her career as the Dawgs now have 11 players with at least one home run on the season.

Georgia put two on the board in both the second and third innings to build the early 4-0 lead before the fourth-inning explosion. The Dawgs kept Baylor scoreless until the Lady Bears plated two in the bottom of the fourth on a live drive single to left off the bat of Kayce Walker.

Seven Georgia players knocked in runs on the afternoon, led by Schlopy’s three RBI.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dawgs Eliminated – Await NCAA Bid

BASEBALL

Third-ranked Florida advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship game with a 3-2 win over Georgia Saturday at Regions Park.

The Dawgs (31-30) forced an elimination game after beating the Gators 4-3 earlier Saturday. The Gators (44-16) will face Vanderbilt in Sunday’s final. Georgia goes 3-2 in the tournament and finishes third.

In game two, Georgia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first as second baseman Levi Hyams led off with a double, went to third on a bounce out by centerfielder Lance Martin and scored on a base hit by shortstop Kyle Farmer. In the second, Florida freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson experienced some control issues. He walked three in the inning and then a wild pitch allowed Georgia to go up 2-0. The Gators responded in the third, tying the game courtesy of a two-run home run from shortstop Nolan Fontana. It was his fourth of the year and came off Dawg starter Patrick Boling. Later in the inning with two more Gators on and two out, Georgia brought in senior right-hander John Herman, and he got the final out. Herman ended up tossing a career-high 3.1 scoreless innings as the game remained tied at 2-all heading to the bottom of the sixth.

Following a one-out single in the sixth by Dawg left fielder Peter Verdin, Florida went to its bullpen, bringing in left-hander Nick Maronde for Whitson. Whitson allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Both teams’ bullpens kept it a tie game going to the ninth.

In the ninth, designated hitter Vikash Ramjit smacked a leadoff double off of senior right-hander Eric Swegman. Left fielder Daniel Pigott followed with a sacrifice bunt to move him to third. AT that point, Georgia turned to junior left-hander Craig Gullickson to face the left-handed hitting Cody Dent. With the infield in, Dent drew a walk to bring up Fontana. He bounced one to second base and the Bulldogs looked to be out of trouble as they started to turn a double play but Fontana just beat the throw. On the play, Ramjit scored to give Florida a 3-2 lead. Austin Maddox came in to pick up his fifth save but not before Kevin Ruiz collected his second double of the day. Tommy Toledo (4-3) got the win by pitching a scoreless eighth frame while Swegman dropped to 1-1.

“It would’ve been great to win that second game and get to the final, but overall, this team showed a lot of heart and fight to get three wins here including over SEC champions South Carolina and Florida after dropping that first one on Wednesday,” said coach David Perno. “We pride ourselves on playing a tough schedule, and it probably helped us make this run here and hopefully did enough this season to get a regional bid.”

“Our year so far has been a bit of a roller coaster, but when we get knocked down, we’ve always gotten back up, and we have a short memory,” said junior Michael Palazzone. “We lost that first game here and knew we had to win the next three, and that’s just what we did.”

The NCAA will announce the tournament field of 64 on Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN. The Dawgs are hopeful of earning an at-large bid after playing the nation’s toughest rated schedule and owners of an RPI at No. 16 entering play Saturday. The Dawgs are 16-18 against top 25 teams this year, and that was the most games and wins of any SEC club.

Dawgs Win!

BASEBALL

In all likelihood, Georgia has clinched an NCAA Regional bid with its 4-3 win over third-ranked Florida Saturday in the SEC Tournament at Regions Park.

The Dawgs (31-29), who have played the nation’s toughest rated schedule and own an RPI of No. 16, have won three in a row here to assure it will finish the tournament with the NCAA required record above .500. After falling to third-ranked Vanderbilt 10-0 on Wednesday where they managed just one hit, the Dawgs have won three straight elimination games, beating Auburn, top-ranked South Carolina and now the Gators. USC, Florida and the Commodores shared this season’s SEC title. Georgia’s win over Florida forced a semifinal rematch with the Gators, the winner takes on Vanderbilt in Sunday’s final.

In game one Saturday, Georgia (31-29) went on top 2-0 in the first with a two-out rally. Junior second baseman Levi Hyams led off the game with a base hit and then Florida left-hander Brian Johnson came back to strikeout centerfielder Conor Welton and shortstop Kyle Farmer. Junior left fielder Zach Cone laced a run-scoring triple. It was his second this year and 11th of his career. Cone scored on a throwing error by Johnson as he tried to retire designated hitter Brett DeLoach. On a 2-2 count to Jonathan Hester, Johnson bounced one in the dirt and Hester started towards second base. Catcher Mike Zunino’s throw hit a kneeling Johnson in the side of the head as DeLoach took third. Johnson was forced to leave the game on a stretcher, and Florida brought in Anthony DeSclafani who recorded the final out.

The Gators (43-16) responded with a two-out rally of their own and chased sophomore left-hander Earl Daniels who was making his first career start. After a leadoff walk to Nolan Fontana, he retired Bryson Smith before issuing a walk to Preston Tucker. He retired Zunino, the SEC Player of the Year, on a flyout and then designated hitter Tyler Thompson, who entered the game for Johnson who also hits when he pitches, lined a two-run double to tie the contest. Georgia looked to junior left-hander Chase Hawkins who got the final out of the first. Hawkins and the Dawgs dodged a bullet in the second when the Gators loaded the bases with two outs. Hawkins gave up a single to Cody Dent, hit Fontana with a pitch and walked Bryson Smith to bring up Tucker. Hawkins got him to pop out to third to keep it 2-2.

In the third, the Dawgs strung together three consecutive singles from Welton, Farmer and then Cone who notched his second RBI of the afternoon. DeLoach delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. In the bottom of the frame, Georgia turned to junior right-hander Michael Palazzone who made just his second relief appearance of the season to go with 15 starts. He started the first game of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday, going six innings and allowing six runs in a 10-0 loss to third-ranked Vanderbilt.

The Gators made it a one-run affair after a two-out throwing error by third baseman Colby May allowed a run to score. May was in the lineup for the injured Curt Powell who was hit by a pitch from Gamecock closer Matt Price in Friday’s win over top-ranked South Carolina. Powell has a cracked bone in his left hand as a result of being hit by a pitch. The Gators had a chance for more with two in scoring position but Palazzone retired Tucker on a groundout.

Palazzone gave the Dawgs four innings, allowing just one unearned run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Georgia looked to sophomore right-hander Bryan Benzor to start the bottom of the seventh with the Dawgs clinging to a 4-3 advantage. Benzor provided two more scoreless innings and then sophomore Tyler Maloof came on in the ninth. He registered his 18th save to tie the school record he now shares with Joshua Fields, a first round draft pick in 2008 by Seattle.

Georgia won in front of injured teammate Johnathan Taylor, who suffered a broken neck in an outfield collision earlier this season in a game against Florida State. On Monday, the team stopped by the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where he is doing rehabilitation. He told the team that if they made it to Saturday in the SEC Tournament, he would be in Hoover for the big game. Taylor was in the dugout with his teammates to witness the victory.

“This was a huge win, and really the past two wins have been two of the biggest for this program,” said coach David Perno. “This team has fought hard all year and to come back from the way we started here Wednesday says a lot about them. It was extra special to have J.T. (Taylor) here, and the guys were real excited. It was an emotional start to the game and then they had their starting pitcher go down, and it was tight all the way. We came through for him earlier this year when J.T. came to the Tech game at Turner Field, and I was so happy we were able to do it again today. This means a lot for everybody associated with the program. ”

Bryan Benzor and Michael Palazzone were outstanding again today, a gritty performance and of course, Tyler Maloof did his thing in the ninth,” Perno added.

The Dawgs are now 11-5 in one-run games this year including 8-2 in league contests. Georgia is now 16-17 against top 25 teams this year, and that leads the SEC. The NCAA announces the tournament field of 64 on Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dawgs Advance – Face Gators

BASEBALL

Georgia upset second-ranked South Carolina 4-2 Friday in an SEC Tournament elimination game in front of a Regions Park crowd of 8,068.

Georgia (30-29) now must beat fifth-ranked Florida on Saturday to be eligible for an NCAA at-large bid. The game will start around 1 p.m. EDT as it will follow the Arkansas-Vanderbilt contest slated to begin at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Should Georgia defeat the Gators, they would play them a second time Saturday night with the winner advancing to the SEC Tournament Championship game on Sunday.

On Friday, Georgia went on top 3-0 in the first getting three hits and taking advantage of two Gamecock miscues. Sophomore shortstop Kyle Farmer delivered an RBI-single and designated hitter Chase Davidson notched a two-run single to highlight frame off right-hander Colby Holmes. South Carolina had a chance to answer right back with three consecutive singles to start the second inning. Centerfielder Evan Marzilli made it 3-1 with an RBI-single to get the Gamecocks on the board. Sophomore left-hander Blake Dieterich battled back to strikeout Robert Berry before issuing a walk to Steven Neff to load the bases. Then, he struck out designated hitter DeSean Anderson and got Peter Mooney to pop out to maintain the Dawg advantage. Georgia got a run back in the bottom of the inning as Zach Cone smacked an RBI-single to make it 4-1.

In the third, the Gamecocks threatened again, loading the bases with one out. Marzilli collected his second run-scoring single and that brought up Berry. Georgia avoided any further trouble when Dieterich got him to bounce to Farmer as the Dawgs turned a double play to keep it 4-2. The Gamecocks went to the bullpen to start the bottom of the sixth turning to John Taylor. Holmes went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts, falling to 6-3.

Following a one-out walk in the seventh, Georgia lifted Dieterich in favor of sophomore Bryan Benzor. Dieterich (3-3) provided a career-high 6.1 innings, scattering two runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in his third start of the year out of 27 appearances. After getting Wingo to hit in to fielder’s choice, Christian Walker singled to move him into scoring position. Benzor battled back to strikeout cleanup hitter Jake Williams. He went 1.2 scoreless innings with one strikeout, and in the ninth, Georgia turned to sophomore closer Tyler Maloof. He pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances, and it was the 20th for the Dawgs overall, which is a school record.

“We had a quick start, and we’ve been watching a lot of teams do that in this tournament, and we finally did it tonight,” said coach David Perno. “Blake managed to limit South Carolina’s runs, and we’ve been pretty good this season protecting a lead. We knew if he could get us through the middle innings, we had Bryan and Tyler late, and they did an outstanding job too.”

“I struggled a bit with my command early but I got a couple big double plays, and that helped me settle in,” said Dieterich.

On Monday when the Dawgs visited injured teammate Johnathan Taylor at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta on their way to the tournament, Taylor told the Dawgs if they made it to Saturday , he would do his best to be there with them.

“Saturday is going to be a big day for us, J.T. (Taylor) is going to be here, it’s going to be an emotional day,” Farmer added.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diamond Dawgs Stay Alive

BASEBALL

Georgia sophomore Alex Wood pitched his first career complete game to lead the Dawgs to a 3-2 win over Auburn Thursday in an SEC Tournament elimination game at Regions Park.

Wood (5-7) allowed two runs on seven hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in going the distance to keep Georgia’s season alive in front of a crowd of 4,570. The Dawgs improved to 29-29 while the Tigers end the year at 29-29. Georgia will play again Friday night (time TBA) against the loser of the contest featuring top-ranked South Carolina and third-ranked Vanderbilt. The SEC co-champions will square off in the final game of the Thursday session.

Auburn shortstop Casey McElroy gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead when he connected for his ninth home run of the year to leadoff the fourth inning. Auburn looked on the verge of a big inning as catcher Tony Caldwell followed with a double and then Wes Gilmer put down a sacrifice bunt and Wood’s throw to first was wide of the bag for an error. With runners at the corners and nobody out, Wood battled back to strikeout first baseman Kevin Patterson, left fielder Cullen Wacker and got designated hitter Zach Alvord to bounce into a fielder’s choice to keep it 1-0.

“Today was the first time in a while we were able to avoid a big inning and credit Alex Wood for getting out of that big jam,” said coach David Perno. “We made our hits count today and took advantage of the one mistake that Auburn made.”

In the fifth, Auburn took advantage of a couple of two-out walks to push its lead to 2-0 following a run-scoring single by Caldwell. Georgia looked to rally in the bottom of the frame with one-out singles from third baseman Curt Powell and catcher Brandon Stephens. However, right fielder Peter Verdin (3-for-4) bounced one to shortstop and the Tigers turned a double play that featured a close call at first to send it to the sixth.

Georgia grabbed a 3-2 advantage with a three-run outburst in the sixth as the Tigers made a critical error that allowed a pair of runs to score. Junior second baseman Levi Hyams started the Dawg rally with a base hit and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Conor Welton. Shortstop Kyle Farmer moved him to third with a base hit to right. Junior left fielder Zach Cone got the Dawgs on the scoreboard in the SEC Tournament with an RBI-double and Farmer went to third. Designated hitter Chase Davidson grounded to McElory and his throw was off the mark. Farmer scored on the play to tie the game and when the throw dribbled away from Patterson, Cone raced home with the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the seventh, Verdin notched his second hit of the afternoon and then with one out, Welton got his second hit which ended right-hander Derek Varnadore’s outing. Auburn turned to right-hander Slade Smith to face Farmer and Cone, and he retired them both. Varnadore (6-3), who tossed a complete game shutout of the Dawgs on May 7 in Auburn, went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits Thursday. Meanwhile, Wood said he felt good in going the distance and credited the Dawg hitters for coming through to aid in the victory. Georgia bounced back from a 10-0 loss to the Commodores Wednesday when it managed just one hit and saw the game end in the seventh due to the mercy rule.

“What I said to the team after that and today wasn’t PG-rated,” Perno added. “I told them flat out that you don’t want to be remembered as the sympathy team; the team that played a tough schedule and faced adversity. You want to be respected, and we didn’t play like that on Wednesday. I was proud of how they came out today and played closer to our identity.”

Georgia–Florida Ticket Prices Going Up

FOOTBALL

A budget of $89,952,400 for fiscal year 2012 and hike in 2012 Georgia-Florida football game ticket prices were approved by the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors at its annual spring meeting today at St. Simons Island.

In light of the ticket prices for many of the premier college football games played each year, a six-year approach to Georgia-Florida game ticket prices was also discussed. Ticket prices for the 2012 game was approved at $60 for regular stadium seating (up from $40) and $100 for club seating. The Board delayed action on future pricing decisions for the Jacksonville game. The University of Florida athletic board approved the ticket pricing schedule for the 2012 game at a previous meeting in Gainesville and will discuss the 2014 and 2017 games at it’s June, 2011 meeting.

The projected ticket price for the 2014 to 2017 games will rise to at least $75.00.

It was pointed out that most premier games this past season had ticket prices far more than the Georgia-Florida game for regular stadium seating:

Texas-Oklahoma: $110.00

Army-Navy: $115 club/$65.00 priority seating

Miami-Florida State: $70.00

Oregon-Oregon State: $78.00

Michigan-Ohio State: $70.00

Auburn-Alabama: $65.00

The $89,952,400 budget figure represents an increase of approximately $5 million over the fiscal year 2011 budget. Major factors attributed to the larger budget are increases in scholarships ($2,660,000), football game guarantees ($1,400,000), and student-athlete welfare ($737,000) which includes the addition of two nutritionists, sports psychologist, training table and mentor program.

Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley presented an academic report which was highlighted by the 524 UGA student-athletes earning a combined 3.0 grade point average for the spring semester. He also noted several special awards including punter Drew Butler earning first team CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors, swimmers Chelsea Nauta and Mark Dylla being awarded SEC Post-Graduate Scholarships of $7,500 each, and track athletes Bridget Lyons and Asaph Levy being named recipients of SEC Community Service Awards. He also noted former gymnast Marcia Newby being named winner of an NCAA Top VIII Award presented annually to the top eight student-athletes in the country.

Dawgs Shutout

BASEBALL

Third-ranked Vanderbilt posted a 10-0 SEC Tournament win over Georgia Wednesday as a pair of Commodores combined on a one-hitter at Regions Park.

Georgia (28-29) entered the tournament as one of the top defensive teams in the league (.975 Fielding Percentage) but a couple of miscues in the second frame led to a pair of unearned runs as the Commodores built a 3-0 lead. Vanderbilt (45-9) went up 1-0 courtesy of a leadoff home run from Jason Esposito, his seventh of the year. An error by third baseman Curt Powell allowed Conor Harrell to reach, and he scored on a two-out, RBI-single by Tony Kemp. After registering a stolen base, Kemp scored on a grounder by Anthony Gomez.

The Dawgs missed a chance to rally back in the fourth, loading the bases with one out. During Chase Davidson’s at bat, Vanderbilt freshman right-hander T.J. Pecoraro had to leave the game due to an unspecified injury. Freshman left-hander Kevin Ziomek came on with a 3-2 count on Davidson. He reached on a walk and then Ziomek issued a free pass to Hester. Shortstop Kyle Farmer was already on base after a leadoff error charged to Esposito. Then, Ziomek came back to register strikeouts of Powell and catcher Joey Delmonico to keep it 3-0. Delmonico had Georgia’s lone hit, an infield single to start the third.

Vanderbilt added to its lead in the fifth and sixth frames to go up 6-0. In the fifth, catcher Curt Casali smacked a one-out double, and then Esposito made it 4-0 with a two-out, run-scoring single. In the sixth, Kemp notched another RBI-single, scoring Harrell while Aaron Westlake picked up a two-out, run-scoring bloop double to left.

The Dawgs went to the bullpen in the seventh as senior Eric Swegman made his return to action. He had been sidelined with a shoulder injury since a scooter accident on April 8th. Palazzone surrendered six runs (four earned) on 11 hits with no walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Swegman faced just two batters, issuing a walk and a single before the Dawgs looked to junior Chase Hawkins. Vanderbilt would score four more runs that frame and the 10-run rule ended the contest. Palazzone dropped to 9-4 while Ziomek improved to 3-0.

“I felt like Vanderbilt had a good approach at the plate, they got runners on and moved them over and did a good job of two-out hitting,” said Palazzone.

Before Wednesday, the last time Georgia was limited to one hit came in 2009 when Brett Eibner of fifth-ranked Arkansas blanked Georgia 2-0. Also, it was the third time that Georgia has been shut out this season.

“We didn’t play very well, and I’m real disappointed in our lineup because nobody had real good at bats,” said coach David Perno. “Vanderbilt has a great team, and they did a good job against us tonight. We didn’t get a lot of opportunities, and the one time we did load the bases, we struck out twice, once looking and the other on three pitches swinging. We need (Alex) Wood to get us off to a good start and need to some more fight from our lineup.”

Georgia now plays No. 8 seed Auburn (29-28) in an elimination game Thursday which will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest of the day. Thursday will begin with an elimination game featuring Arkansas versus Mississippi State that will start at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The Tigers fell to top-ranked South Carolina 7-3 in their first round contest.

Georgia will start sophomore left-hander Alex Wood (4-7, 4.80 ERA) while the Tigers will go with junior right-hander Derk Varnadore (6-2, 3.75 ERA). On May 7th in Auburn, Varnadore struck out seven in a complete game shutout of the Dawgs, winning 3-0. Wood pitched game one of the Auburn series earlier this month, and he got a no decision, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zamora Named National Player Of The Year

GOLF

untitledGeorgia's Marta Silva Zamora was named the PING National Player of the Year by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) on Saturday night, just hours after she wrapped up her season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

"It’s a great honor, of course," Silva Zamora said. "I told (head coach) Kelley (Hester) that I really don’t think I’ll realize what I’ve just won until tomorrow or two days from now. I’m proud because this award shows how I did for the entire year. I had a really, really good year. It was great."

Silva Zamora also was named first-team All-America by the NGCA and won the Golfstat Cup as the nation's leading golfer statistically.

At the NCAAs, Silva Zamora notched her sixth top-five finish in 10 tournaments completed during the 2010-11 campaign. She also recorded three more top-10 efforts and tied four 14th (a stroke shy of another top-10) in the other event.

"Marta was amazingly consistent with a great stroke average," Hester said. "She had the best stroke average in the country. Like Marta said, it shows how consistent she was. She didn’t have the wins that some of the other players had, but she literally didn’t have a bad tournament all year. And then when it mattered most, she had a very solid tournament at the national championships and tied for fourth." Silva Zamora shattered the Georgia season stroke average, finishing at 71.51. That bettered current LPGA Tour member Taylor Leon's mark of 72.63 established in 2006-07. Silva Zamora now owns first-, third- and 10th-best season averages in Dawg annals.

All told, Silva Zamora recorded 22 par-or-better tallies in 33 rounds played this season. Cumulatively, she finished the year at 15-under, even including a 9-over, 36-hole performance at the Kinderlou Forest Challenge where she played with a stomach ailment before withdrawing prior to the final round.

Silva Zamora collected her third and Georgia's 44th All-America certificate from the NGCA. She was an honorable mention selection as a freshman and earned first-team status as a sophomore.

In nine post-season SEC, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship competitions during her career, Silva Zamora now has six top-10 finishes.

Silva Zamora will return to Spain on Sunday and on Thursday will begin defense of her Spanish Amateur title.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vandy Takes Series

BASEBALL

Third-ranked Vanderbilt thwarted a six-run comeback by Georgia, scoring 11 times in the final two frames to defeat the Dawgs 17-7 at Foley Field.

Vanderbilt (44-9, 22-8) jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Connor Harrell drove in Curt Casali on a two out infield single in the top of the second. Georgia second baseman Levi Hyams ended the inning on the same play as he threw out Mike Yastrzemski at the plate. The Commodores extended their lead in the top of third after Georgia starter Blake Dieterich loaded the bases with no outs. Aaron Westlake grounded into a double play that scored Riley Reynolds from third, increasing their lead to 2-0.

After a mound visit from Coach David Perno, Dietrich was able to get out of the inning forcing Casali to pop out to center, stranding Tony Kemp at third and avoiding a potentially big inning.

The Commodores pushed two more across the plate in the fourth to make it 4-0, after the first two batters of the inning reached base for the third inning in a row. Connor Harrell hit his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning to push Vanderbilt’s lead to 6-0. Harrell’s round tripper made it five straight innings in which a Commodore had crossed the plate.

Georgia (28-28, 16-14 SEC) fell behind 6-0 before rallying back with four runs in the sixth and took a brief 7-6 lead after scoring three runs in the seventh. Zach Cone recorded his 28th RBI of the season, driving in Kyle Farmer on his 10th double of the year making it 6-1. This kick-started a four-run rally by the Dawgs that cut the Commodores lead to 6-4. The Dawgs gained the lead in the bottom of the seventh after back to back home runs that included a two-run homer from Chase Davidson and a solo shot by Jonathan Hester, pushing the Dawgs in front 7-6. Davidson registered his seventh of the season which ties him with Kyle Farmer for the team lead. The home runs came off Corey Williams.

Vanderbilt regained the lead in the next half inning as Gregor, Riley Reynolds and Casali tallied RBI singles en route to a five-run eighth, putting the Commodores back in front 11-7.

The Commodores piled on six insurance runs in the ninth, led by home runs from Aaron Westlake and Jason Esposito, to get the score up to the final tally.

“We just didn’t execute very well today,” said Perno. “Offensively we did great coming back but we just couldn’t finish on the mound. A comeback like that, against a team like this is something to be proud of” Perno added. “Unfortunately this is just a cruel game and this is going to be a real tough one to swallow.”

Commodore reliever Mark Lamm picked up the win to improve to 5-0 while Tyler Maloof got the loss to fall 2-2. Lamm pitched 1.2 shutout innings while Maloof surrendered five runs on five hits.

The Dawgs will face Vanderbilt again on Wednesday night in the final game of day one at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. Georgia will be the fifth seed and face the fourth seeded Commodores. South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida are SEC co-champions. The Gamecocks have the tiebreakers over them to earn the No. 1 seed.

The Dawgs after playing the toughest schedule in the nation and finishing at 28-28 will likely need to win 3 games in Hoover to gain an at large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Three time defending SEC tournament champion LSU (36-20) did not make the SEC tournament with their 13-17 conference record, but may receive an at large bid from the NCAA and could conceivably win the College World Series after finishing last in the SEC West.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Vandy Evens Series

BASEBALL

Third-ranked Vanderbilt defeated Georgia 9-3 on Friday, tying the SEC series in front of a crowd of 2,295 at Foley Field.

Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood gave up a run in the first, walking leadoff batter Tony Kemp and allowing a steal of second on a failed pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Aaron Westlake’s RBI single gave the Commodores a lead they would not relinquish. The Commodores (43-9, 21-8 SEC) extended their lead in the second, fueled by four straight hits including a two-run homer by Connor Harrell to right-centerfield.

The Dawgs (28-27, 16-13 SEC) struck back in the bottom of the second when junior Carson Schilling scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a double earlier in the inning. The following inning, the Dawgs added two more with a solo home run by junior Zach Cone, his third of the season, and a RBI single by Schilling. The surge forced an early exit by Grayson Garvin, by far his shortest outing of the season.

Wood settled down for the next four innings, allowing no runs and posting five strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Dawgs offense failed to capitalize on several opportunities, stranding two runners in the fourth and another in the sixth. Garvin allowed three runs on four hits with five walks and four strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Vanderbilt bullpen tandem of T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek blanked the Dawgs over the final 6.1 innings. Pecoraro picked up the win to move his record to 7-0 while Ziomek pitched the final three innings for a save. Wood dropped to 4-7 after allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 6.1 innings.

In the top of the seventh, Vanderbilt broke the game open with a two-run single by Mike Yastrzemski, ending Wood’s night. After a short stint by sophomore Earl Daniels, junior Chase Hawkins allowed one more run on a RBI double by Jason Esposito. Curt Casali’s two-run blast to left in the bottom of the eighth marked the final runs of the contest.

“Vanderbilt is a great team that is very deep,” coach David Perno noted. “They will break you down if you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The rubber game of the series will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dawgs Knock Off 3rd Ranked Vandy

BASEBALL

Michael Palazzone retired 19 of the final 20 batters he faced to notch his third complete game and his ninth win of the season as the Dawgs defeated third-ranked Vanderbilt 5-4 Thursday at Foley Field.

Palazzone (9-3) has six wins over ranked foes this season and improved to 7-2 in the SEC. The Dawgs moved their record to 28-26 overall and 16-12 in the SEC.

Vanderbilt (42-9, 20-8 SEC) started the scoring in the top of the 2nd when Curt Casali knocked an RBI-double into right center field bringing home Mike Yastrzemski. Later in the inning, with runners on corners, Riley Reynolds knocked a single into right field giving Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead. Tony Kemp added another run for Vanderbilt with a drag bunt that brought home Connor Harrell.

In the bottom of the frame, Georgia quickly responded with a lead-off homer from Chase Davidson off Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray that sailed over the batter’s eye in center field. It was his sixth home run of the year.

In the 3rd inning, Vanderbilt answered when Aaron Westlake hit his 12th home-run of the season to put its lead back to three, 4-1.

Georgia responded in the bottom of the 3rd with a lead-off home run, this time by Peter Verdin, his first of the season. Verdin was wearing the number two jersey in honor of teammate Jonathan Taylor who sustained a neck injury earlier this season. Before Thursday, Gray had allowed just two home runs on the year in 89.1 innings.

Georgia made it a one-run game in the bottom of the fourth when Verdin tallied his second RBI of the night with a two-out hit into left center field bringing in Curt Powell from second.

In the bottom of the 6th, after loading the bases with two outs, Levi Hyams drew a walk allowing Powell to score from third and tie the game, 4-4..

In the bottom of the 7th, Georgia took a 5-4 lead after Kyle Farmer scored from third on a wild pitch by Vanderbilt relief pitcher Will Clinard. He got the loss to fall to 1-2. Gray went six innings and was touched for a season-high four runs on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

In the top of the 9th, Palazzone retired the side for the victory. One interesting note on Palazzone. After throwing 30 balls through the first four innings, he threw just six more over the final five innings.

“I just can’t say enough about Palazzone. He was just phenomenal,” said head coach David Perno. “When Michael settled in we were able to grab the momentum. When you’re at home, and you can keep the game close, our guys believe in themselves and can do special things."

Georgia will try to clinch its final home series of the season Friday with first pitch slated for 7 p.m at Foley Field.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jake Scott Voted Into College Hall of Fame

FOOTBALL

Former University of Georgia All-America safety and Super Bowl MVP Jake Scott has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame according to an announcement Tuesday by the National Football Foundation.

Scott becomes the 12th player and 16th overall member of the Hall of Fame from UGA.  The last Georgia player selected to the Hall was former QB John Rauch (1945-48) who was inducted in 2003.  Scott will be honored at the National Football Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Tuesday, December 6.

“I’ve been asked many times who was the greatest player I ever coached,” said former UGA head coach Vince Dooley who was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1994.  “I always said that Herschel Walker was the most productive player, but the most gifted all-around athlete combined with the love and determination to play the game was Jake Scott.”

Born July 20, 1945, in Greenwood S.C., Jake Scott was one of the most gifted athletes every to wear the red and black. A consensus All-American defensive back in 1968, Scott was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

He was one of the leaders of Georgia's 1968 SEC championship team which included an undefeated regular season (8-0-2) and an invitation to the Sugar Bowl.  He led the SEC in interceptions in 1967 and again in 1968 when he recorded 10. That same year, he also led the SEC in punt returns and punt return yardage. Scott still holds the SEC record for most interception touchdowns in a single game with two vs. Kentucky in 1968.

His 440 yards on 35 returns and 10 interceptions in 1968 both set school records.  He still holds the school record for career interceptions and return yards with 16 for 315 yards. 

Scott went on to a brilliant professional football career during which he earned five pro bowl appearances in a row (1971-75). During his six years with the Miami Dolphins, he played in three Super Bowl games and in 1972 was named the MVP of Super Bowl VIl. He played his final three NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins. During the first eight years of his pro career, he intercepted 42 passes and recovered 13 fumbles.

Scott was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and has been named to the 1960's All-SEC team, 25-Year All-SEC Team (1961-85), and the Quarter Century All-SEC Team (1950-74). He was inducted into the Miami Dolphins Hall of Honor in 2010.

Other members of the Hall of Fame from UGA and year of induction include:

Glenn “Pop” Warner (1951), Bob McWhorter (1954), Frank Sinkwich (1954), Charley Trippi (1959), Vernon “Catfish” Smith (1979), Bill Hartman (1984), Fran Tarkenton (1987), Vince Dooley (1994), Wally Butts (1997), Herschel Walker (1999), Bill Stanfill (1998), Terry Hoage (2000), Kevin Butler (2001), John Rauch (2003), and Jim Donnan (2009).

Jake Scott Statistics -- Punt Returns/Interceptions

Year

Returns

Yards

Avg.

TD

Interceptions

TD

1967

13

146

11.2

0

6

0

1968

35

440

12.6

1

10

2

Totals

48

586

12.2

1

16

2

Diamond Dawgs Notes

BASEBALL

With a bid to the SEC Tournament already wrapped up, Georgia now takes aim at collecting wins to make the NCAA Tournament. Georgia has played an SEC-high 27 games versus ranked teams and leads the SEC with 13 wins over top 25 clubs. The Dawgs have played 28 road games this year. With the nation's toughest rated schedule and a stout RPI, the Dawgs need to remain above. .500 to qualify for an NCAA bid.  

The Dawgs have a four-game home-stand starting with Kennesaw State (30-21) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then a series with nationally-ranked Vanderbilt (42-8, 20-7 SEC) at Foley Field Thursday-Saturday. Game one of the VU series is the SEC Baseball Thursday Night Game of the Week on ESPNU and will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT. 

Georgia is on pace to set a school record for best fielding percentage. Currently, they are at .975, and the record is .972 held by the 2003 squad.

Sophomore SS Kyle Farmer (.313-7-49) ranks among the SEC RBI leaders with 49. Overall, Farmer has hit safely in 28 of the past 30 games. He batted .529 (9-for-17) in four games last week. Farmer is hitting .333-5-22 in SEC action.

Sophomore RHP Tyler Maloof is tied for the NCAA lead in saves. He is 16-for-16 in save situations this season including 9-for-9 in SEC action. The Dawgs have tied a school record with 19 saves this year. Along with Maloof's 16, sophomore Blake Dieterich has two and senior Eric Swegman has one.

Junior 2B Levi Hyams (.345-4-34) batted .500 last week, going 8-for-16 with two home runs and five RBI. He is batting .311-3-21 in SEC games.

Sophomore LHP Blake Dieterich (2-3, 2.95 ERA) made his first career SEC start this past Sunday and notched a road win over Kentucky. Against the Wildcats, his line was 5 IP, 8H, 2R, 1BB, 4K. Incidentally, it marked his first start in 2011 in a team-high 25 appearances.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Washaun Washed-Up

FOOTBALL

DSC_6825University of Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey has been granted an unconditional release to transfer to another institution for the 2011 academic year according to UGA head coach Mark Richt.

“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” said Richt. “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”

A rising junior from Stillmore, Ga., Ealey has played in 21 games including nine starts during his two-year career at UGA and rushed for 1,528 yards (717 in 2009 and 811 in 2010).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Diamond Dawgs Explode In 9th

BASEBALL

Kyle Farmer’s grand slam capped a nine-run ninth inning to power Georgia past Auburn 14-11 Sunday at Plainsman Park.

The Tigers (25-22, 11-13 SEC) were looking for a series sweep and jumped ahead 8-0 in the first. Auburn’s early outburst came off junior left-hander Craig Gullickson who failed to get out of the first inning. He allowed eight runs on seven hits before leaving with two outs as Georgia looked to sophomore Bryan Benzor. Shortstop Casey McElroy had a pair of RBI-singles in the frame, and the big blast came from centerfielder Creede Simpson who connected for a three-run home run as the Tigers sent 13 to the plate in the first inning. Sophomore right-hander Slade Smith was the beneficiary of this early support and went six innings in his first league start of the year.

Georgia (25-23, 14-10 SEC) had a chance to climb back in the contest, loading the bases with one out in the fourth. However, it managed just one run on a two-out walk to Jonathan Hester that made it 8-1. Benzor provided a solid relief effort, pitching a career-high 3.1 shutout innings before the Dawgs turned to senior John Herman to start the Tiger fifth. Also, Georgia junior catcher Carson Schilling entered the game at that point. The Tigers got the run back in that inning. Herman issued a two-out walk to Cullen Wacker and then Justin Hargett smashed an RBI-double to center. Then, Georgia brought in sophomore Earl Daniels.

Georgia trimmed the deficit to five after scoring three runs on two hits in the sixth. Farmer reached on a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI-double by Zach Cone. The Dawgs went to their bench and sent up pinch-hitter Chase Davidson. He crushed a two-run home run off Smith to make it 9-4. It was his fourth home run of the year and Georgia’s first pinch-hit blast since Peter Verdin delivered against Winthrop in 2009.

In the seventh, Auburn turned it over to its bullpen as Zach Blatt came on for Smith. Georgia put two on with two out and Blatt struck out Cone to keep it 9-4. Smith allowed four runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. A leadoff walk in the seventh led to the Tigers 10th run. Auburn loaded the bases in that inning but sophomore Blake Dieterich got Fradejas to pop out and struck out Dan Gamache to avoid another big frame. A leadoff walk to Davidson in the eighth led to Georgia’s fifth run.

The Dawgs made one of their all-time great comebacks in school history in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Lance Martin and Farmer reached on walks. After retiring Cone, Davidson blasted his second home run of the contest, a three-run shot to centerfield off Dillon Ortman to close the gap to 11-8. It was Davidson’s first two-home run game in his career, and the first by a Dawg since Cone last year against Furman. The Dawgs loaded the bases on Ethan Wallen on a walk to Hester, pinch-hitter Curt Powell was hit by a pitch and Schilling lined a base hit to left. After a walk to Kevin Ruiz forced in Georgia’s ninth run of the day, the Tigers went to the bullpen again in left-hander Sean Ray. Hyams stepped up with the bases loaded and one out with the Dawgs trialing 11-9. Hyams fell behind 1-2 and then worked a walk to bring in another run, and Martin came up for the second time in the inning. Ray struck out Martin on a 1-2 pitch, and it was all up to Farmer. He smashed a 1-0 offering over the green monster in left for a grand slam, the first by a Dawg since 2009. For Farmer, it was his seventh home run of the year and gave him a team-leading 48 RBI for the year. Suddenly, the Dawgs led 14-11 courtesy of a nine-run outburst. Cone was retired to send it to the bottom of the ninth.

Bryan Benzor did a super job out of the bullpen ,and we were trying to break through offensively, they walked us a lot, and we couldn’t put together a big inning until the ninth,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Then, we got the right guys up those big situations, especially Kyle Farmer with the grand slam to give us the lead. Chase came up big too, with two home runs. We used everybody today, a lot of parts. This is an exciting team to be around, and this one was a lot of fun and will make the bus ride home a lot shorter.”

In the bottom of the ninth, Auburn got a leadoff single from Wacker. Maloof then struck out Hargett and got Fradejas to bounce into game-ending double play. Maloof got the win to improve to 2-1 while Wallen fell to 4-4.

The Dawgs will return to action Wednesday at 5 p.m. when they play host to Mercer. The Bears are 29-17 this season. Earlier this year, Georgia posted an 8-6 win over Mercer in Macon

Henley Wins Stadion Classic

GOLF

Georgia's Russell Henley won the Stadion Classic at UGA on Sunday, becoming just the second amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour.

Henley, who received a sponsor's exemption as the Dawg with the lowest number of strokes this season, joins Daniel Summerhays (2007) as amateurs with Nationwide Tour wins. Rickie Fowler and Charles Howell III came in second and Sergio Garcia took third as amateurs in Nationwide events.

"This is a dream come true for me," the senior from Macon said. "Just getting to play in this golf tournament was a tremendous opportunity, and to win it means the world to me. My goal is to be a professional golfer, and this reinforces to me that I can compete at the professional level."

Henley shot a final-round 3-under 68 to finish at 12-under 272 -- two shots better than Troy Kelly. As an amateur, Henley is not eligible to receive the $99,000 winning share.

"We could not be prouder of Russell," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "It was exciting watching him play this weekend, and I could see his confidence getting higher and higher each day. He's a special young man with all the potential in the world."

Henley's Georgia teammate, senior Harris English came in 18th with a final tally of 4-under 280, including a 3-under 68 on Sunday. Former Dawgs Brendon Todd ((68, 282) and Brian Harman (70, 283) came in 31st and 39th, respectively.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dawgs Shutout By Athens Native

BASEBALL

Junior Derek Varnadore pitched a complete game five-hit shutout to lead Auburn to a 3-0 win over Georgia Saturday at Plainsman Park.

The Dawgs (24-23, 13-10 SEC) had a promising start to the second inning with back-to-back singles by Zach Cone and Brett DeLoach. However, Varnadore responded by striking out the next three Dawgs, all who were called out on strikes. An Athens, Georgia, native who transferred to the Tigers from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Varnadore ran his record to 5-2. He walked three and struck out seven in going the distance for the second time this year.

In the fourth, Auburn (25-21, 11-12 SEC) pushed across two runs off the Dawgs and right-hander Michael Palazzone. Casey McElroy led off with a base hit and went to third on a double off the left field wall by catcher Tony Caldwell. Third baseman Wes Gilmer followed with an infield single to first that scored McElroy as Caldwell went to third. First baseman Kevin Patterson made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly for his 37th RBI on the year. Palazzone retired the next two Tigers to keep it 2-0.

The Tigers threatened again in the fifth. Justin Hargett reached second base on a strikeout-wild pitch as catcher Joey Delmonico couldn’t find the pitch behind the backstop. Then, Justin Fradejas put down a bunt that Palazzone fielded and looked to third before firing it to first on close play that went in Georgia’s favor. Still, Hargett made it to third and Georgia had to bring the infield in to face Dan Gamache. He lined a shot to third that Curt Powell speared while falling on top of the bag to double-up Hargett and end the frame.

Georgia turned to sophomore left-hander Chase Hawkins in relief of Palazzone to start the bottom of the eighth. Palazzone was the tough-luck loser Saturday, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He fell to 8-2 this season, and it ended a string of eight wins in his past nine starts. It marked his first loss since Feb. 25 against #16 Baylor along with his first in league action this year, dropping to 6-1.

Auburn added an insurance run in the eighth as Gamache led off with a base hit, pinch-runner Bobby Andrews stole second and later scored on a one-out single by Caldwell. In the ninth, Georgia tried to rally. With one out, Cone reached on a walk and DeLoach followed with his third hit of the afternoon. However Varnadore got Hester to pop out and then struck out pinch-hitter Chase Davidson.

“Auburn pitched and played great defense today, and we couldn’t get anything going,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Our best chance came in the second inning with two on to start and then we had three straight strikeouts. We’ve been doing a good job trying to get to Birmingham for the SEC Tournament, and we were in good shape for a while but now we’ve got to come out Sunday and get after it. Our approach at the plate was better today, but we didn’t produce any runs for Michael who pitched well again.”

For the first time since the season-opening weekend at Stetson in February, Georgia heads to the final game of a series looking to avoid a sweep. The Auburn series concludes Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT. Georgia will start junior left-hander Craig Gullickson (3-2, 6.14) while the Tigers starter has not been announced.

Miller Invited To National Trials

BASKETBALL

Khaalidah Miller, a rising sophomore with the Lady Dawgs, is one of 35 of the nation's top basketball players who have accepted invitations to USA Basketball's trials for the U19 National Team.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity," Miller said. "I like the fact that there's going to be so much competition. Many of the top college freshmen and high school juniors and seniors will be there. I think it will be a great experience."

Miller, a 5-9, guard from Atlanta's Douglass High, will travel to Colorado Springs for the trials from May 22-25. The team of 12 players selected will represent the United States at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile in July.

"After an outstanding freshman season, I'm pleased for Khaalidah that she's been invited to the U19 World Championship team tryouts," coach Andy Landers said. "This will be a great opportunity for her. She certainly has the ability to earn a position on this team and we'll all be pulling for her with great anticipation."

Miller was named to the All-SEC Freshman team after averaging 9.1 points and 2.9 rebounds and connecting on a team-high 53 three-pointers for the Lady Dawgs during the 2010-11 season. Her scoring average jumped to 10.7 ppg in SEC competition, which ranked second on the team. Miller reached double figures in 14 games, including a trio of 20-point outings.

Miller was named SEC Freshman of the Week three times: on January 3rd after averaging 13.0 ppg in three games the previous week; on January 10th after scoring a career-high 24 points in a victory at No. 10 Kentucky; and on February 7th after averaging 15.5 ppg in victories over Arkansas and Alabama.

The Lady Dawgs have a long and storied history representing the U.S. in international competition. Most notably, Teresa Edwards is the only American basketball player to compete in five Olympic Games and compiled a 205-14 record playing for 22 different USA Basketball teams. All told, 25 former Lady Dawgs have participated in more than 40 different competitions worldwide.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mayes To JUCO

FOOTBALL

Spalding County High School defensive lineman Chris Mayes will enroll at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport, Mississippi this fall.

Mayes signed with the Dawgs last February and hopes to return to Athens to finish his college career, he will compete to replace another Dawg signee, John Jenkins at MGCCC.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cone Beaned, Dawgs Win

BASEBALL

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Georgia’s Zach Cone was hit by a pitch that scored Peter Verdin and lifted the Dawgs to a series-clinching 6-5 win over No. 14 Arkansas Sunday at Foley Field.

The improbable finish capped a three-run ninth-inning rally for the Dawgs (24-21, 13-8 SEC), who won their sixth SEC series of the year. Arkansas fell to 29-13 and 10-11 in the SEC. Georgia won its SEC-leading 13th game against a top 25 opponent.

“Of all the great things we’ve done this year, we haven’t won like that so it was exciting,” Georgia head coach David Perno said. “To get a good inning in the ninth was huge.”

The Razorbacks had erased a one-run deficit in the eighth inning with a two-run double, then added an unearned run in the ninth to take a 5-3 lead.

The Georgia rally started with a double by designated hitter Brett DeLoach, then pinch-hitter Chase Davidson was hit by a pitch, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Conor Welton to put runners at second and third. Verdin then singled to tie the score at 5-5 off Arkansas closer Nolan Sanburn and advanced to second on the throw. A strikeout was sandwiched between a pair of walks to Levi Hyams and Kyle Farmer, and Zach Cone was hit on the first pitch from Sanburn (2-3).

Junior Tyler Maloof (1-0) picked up the win for Georgia by allowing no earned runs in 1.2 innings. Brandon Stephens and Verdin had a pair of hits to lead the Dawgs offensively, while Cone, Verdin and Hyams each drove in a pair of runs. Five of Georgia’s nine hits came from the bottom three hitters in the lineup.

The Dawgs broke the scoreless tie in the sixth as Cone followed a Farmer single with a double down the left field line to give Georgia a 1-0 lead.

Arkansas, however, answered back with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh to take a 2-1 lead. Georgia regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out, two-run home run by Hyams.

Arkansas went back ahead with a pair of runs in the eighth. A double-steal put runners at second and third for the Razorbacks, then a double by Collin Kuhn just got under the glove of Georgia third baseman Curt Powell to plate two runs and give the Razorbacks a 4-3 lead. Another run in the ninth gave Arkansas a two-run lead before Georgia rallied in the bottom half.

“They kept punching back and we were fortunate today,” Perno said. “We kind of hung in there and DeLoach got it started in the ninth. Chase held his ground, and Verdin had the big hit. He’s had two great days and was the difference today. It takes everyone and we got that today.”

Georgia starter Craig Gullickson had his best outing of the season, throwing five scoreless innings and allowing just four hits. Arkansas starter Cade Lynch was just as effective, allowing two hits in 4.1 scoreless innings.

“Craig did a nice job,” Perno said. “He got some tough outs and we made some great plays behind him defensively.”

Georgia has no midweek games due to final exams and returns to action Friday, May 6 at Auburn.