Monday, June 13, 2011

Diamond Dawgs Turning Pro


Georgia outfielder Chase Davidson along with pitchers Cecil Tanner and Ben Cornwell have signed professional baseball contracts.

Davidson, a 41st round pick of the Houston Astros, hit .278 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 2011. He made 38 starts and appeared in 51 games this past season in helping the Dawgs go 33-32. Tanner, who went 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in seven appearances, was a 23rd round pick of the Oakland A’s. Cornwell, who went 1-3 with a 5.68 ERA, signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners. Cornwell made 13 appearances including seven starts this year.

Davidson played in 130 games in his Dawg career, making 92 starts and wound up hitting .241 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI. He hit .333 as a pinch-hitter this season, going 4-for-12 including a two-run home run in Georgia’s thrilling 14-11 comeback victory over Auburn. In his final collegiate at bat, he had a pinch-hit RBI-single against Oregon State in the NCAA Corvallis Regional Final. Incidentally, the Astros drafted Davidson following his senior year at Milton in 2008.

Tanner pitched just 3.2 innings this past season with three strikeouts and 10 walks. In his Dawgs career, he made 57 appearances with five starts, going 4-3 with a 7.31 ERA. He pitched 64 innings and had 72 strikeouts and 81 walks. Tanner signed with the Oakland A’s on Sunday and will report to their Arizona League affiliate in Phoenix this week. In 2008, Tanner was drafted by Atlanta after his senior year at Ware County.

Cornwell spent two seasons with the Dawgs after transferring from Georgia Perimeter following his first year at Virginia Tech. He made 28 career appearances for the Dawgs with seven starts, going 2-4 with an 8.54 ERA in 45.1 innings. Cornwell’s final appearance as a Dawg was a memorable one as he helped Georgia advance to the NCAA Corvallis Regional final. He started an elimination game against No. 25 Creighton and matched his career-high by pitching five innings. The Dawgs won the contest 5-4 in 11 innings. Cornwell has signed with the Seattle Mariners and been assigned to the Pulaski (Va.) Mariners of the Appalachian League where he will report to later this week.

“Chase, Ben and Cecil have decided to start their professional baseball career, and we wish them all the best,” said coach David Perno. “Chase and Cecil had a chance to turn pro coming out of high school, and they opted to come to school and have been a part of the Dawg program for the past three years. Ben was with us for a couple of seasons, earned a degree in sport management and now is looking forward to playing pro ball.”

In last week’s 2011 MLB draft, Georgia had seven current players and 11 signees selected. To date, left-handed pitcher Matthew Taylor is the only Dawg signee to turn professional after going in the fifth round to the Baltimore Orioles. The signing deadline for MLB draftees is Aug. 15.

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