June 15, 2006

Athens: Bulldogs bring a lot of bite to Omaha

Ask a typical SEC fan about baseball, and most will talk about the tradition of LSU, last year’s run by Florida, or the near misses of a national title by South Carolina. They’ll mention the recent success of Ole Miss, who made it to their second super regional, or Kentucky, the surprise co-champion of the SEC.

What most fans will forget to remember is the SEC’s best kept secret: It’s the Georgia Bulldogs who are becoming the new baseball power in the SEC.

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June 13, 2006

Athens: Wrapping the Supers Up

The Georgia Bulldogs aren't coming to Omaha just to show up. They overcame adversity to win this Super Regional, and given the way they played these last two games, they are a team to be reckoned with.

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Athens: A Fond Farewell, and 2 Weeks of Recollection

Athens is one amazing college town, and so, at the end of this Super Regional, I'd like to again give some credit to the people who made this trip another amazing experience, as well as note the highs of these past two weeks, covering the Fayetteville Regional, and the Athens Super Regional.

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June 12, 2006

Athens: Omaha On Georgia's Mind: Bulldogs Win Supers

Josh Fields struck out Phil Disher, sparking a roar of the crowd, and the celebration is on at the pitcher's mound of Foley Field in Athens. The Georgia Bulldogs have clinched a spot in Omaha with an 11-6 win over South Carolina. It's UGA's second trip to Omaha in the last 3 years. The Bulldogs will face Rice in the first round at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium.

Right now, barking and the chants of "U-G-A!" fill the night air in Athens, as the fans are giving a standing ovation to their Bulldogs, who are now shaking hands with the dejected Gamecocks at home plate.

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Athens: Omaha On Georgia's Mind: Bulldogs Win Supers

Josh Fields struck out Phil Disher, sparking a roar of the crowd, and the celebration is on at the pitcher's mound of Foley Field in Athens. The Georgia Bulldogs have clinched a spot in Omaha with an 11-6 win over South Carolina. It's UGA's second trip to Omaha in the last 3 years. The Bulldogs will face Rice in the first round at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium.

Right now, barking and the chants of "U-G-A!" fill the night air in Athens, as the fans are giving a standing ovation to their Bulldogs, who are now shaking hands with the dejected Gamecocks at home plate.

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Athens: 3 Outs Away for Georgia

Joshua Fields heads to the mound in the bottom of the 9th, with Georgia just 3 outs away from it's second trip to Omaha in the last three years.

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Athens: Hurst single makes it 11-5

It might be too little, too late, but don't tell that to the feisty South Carolina Gamecocks. Cheyne Hurst bloops a single into left, scoring another Gamecock run and cutting the lead down to 6, with 2 outs left in the 8th. Georgia's fans, feeling confident, are still clapping, but aren't as boisterous as before, waiting anxiously for this game to end.

Athens: Brown not giving up for Gamecocks

It's 8 runs or 8 outs for Carolina, whichever comes first will determine their fate. Chris Brown just homered to left center field and gave the pine trees another souvenir, as the Gamecocks have cut the UGA lead to 11-4.

Credit goes to Brown for refusing to give up...the Gamecocks might be way down, but at least they are refusing to concede this game to the Bulldogs, which you have to admire, given things look very bleak for South Carolina.

Athens: Felmy, Georgia not done yet

Carolina's got to be asking what it will take to stop the bleeding. Georgia's Bobby Felmy knocks a triple to right center, scoring 2 more Bulldog runs and turning this game into an 11-3 bloodbath.

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Athens: Side adds to Georgia's hitting party

When it rains, it pours, and for Georgia, it's pouring in a torrent of hits. Joey Side tripled over the center fielder's head to score two more runs, and put the Bulldogs way ahead. Georgia's got Omaha on their minds as we're still in the top of the 7th.

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Athens: Wyatt does it again, 7-3 UGA

Wynn Pelzer was finally replaced by Chase Tucker, but only after loading the bases full of Bulldogs. Jonathan Wyatt, who has been clutch all weekend for UGA and deserves MVP consideration, singled up the middle to bring home 2 Bulldogs and push the Georgia lead to 7-3.

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Athens: Howls as Felmy homers, 5-3 'Dogs

I can't believe that Carolina is STILL keeping Wynn Pelzer in the game. Bobby Felmy took advantage right away of the exhausted pitcher, smashing a shot to the pines in left center field to make it a 5-3 game and send Foley Field into a state of howling and barking bedlam.

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Athens: WOOF! Wild Pitch gives UGA lead

Wynn Pelzer's dead tired. After managing to get 2 pop ups, and with runners at the corners, Pelzer threw to Josh Morris with all the energy he had. The result? A wild pitch, and Matthew Dunn flying home safely to give the lead back to Georgia at 4-3.

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Athens: Pelzer in some trouble

Wynn Pelzer is in some serious trouble for the Gamecocks: he can't throw a strike if his life depended on it. He walked and hit 4 last inning, including the tying run, and now he's walked the first two batters here. UGA batters aren't even swinging the bat, letting Pelzer walk them with ease. This could spell a big inning for UGA and doom for the Gamecocks....let's see what happens...3-3 in the 6th.

Athens: Take One for the Team: HBP ties game

Being hit by a fastball is not something a batter enjoys. However, should Georgia win tonight, Matt Olsen will look at the bruise on his right side and cherish it.

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Athens: First error gives Carolina the 3-2 lead

The action is happening so fast that I haven't stopped typing since Carolina's Reese Havens homered to start the Gamecock rally. Now, a throwing error by Gordon Beckham allowed Carolina to take the 3-2 lead on Georgia.

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Athens: Tied at 2 after Smoak's RBI double

Where there is smoke, there's fire. Actually, where there's Smoak, there's fire. The red hot Justin Smoak doubled down the left field line, sending it bouncing against the Foley Field wall and allowing Chris Brown to score from second to tie this game at 2.

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Athens: Havens blasts one to the Heavens, 2-1 game

Carolina won the first game thanks to explosive home run hitting, so nothing could make Gamecock fans feel better than to see more blasts out of the park from their team. Reese Havens answered UGA's rally with a shot to the right center power alley, and the Bulldog lead suddenly has been cut in half.

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Athens: Dogs take a 2-0 lead early

It was certainly not the prettiest base hit for Josh Morris, but believe me, he'll take it.

Morris hit a ground ball up the middle that somehow bounced its way past the Carolina infield, and Jonathan Wyatt raced home to make it a 2-0 Georgia lead.

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Athens: Side-Splitter: Bulldogs lead 1-0

Georgia has started the third inning with a bang. After a Matthew Dunn walk, Jonathan Wyatt singled to left, and Joey Side singled to right, bringing home Dunn and giving the Bulldogs the first lead of the game.

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Athens: UGA threat falls short, 0-0 in 2nd

Georgia put runners on the corners, but Ryan Peisel grounded out to short, and we head to the bottom of the second knotted at 0-0 here in Athens.

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Athens: Pelzer mows down Dogs in 1st

Wynn Pelzer is pumped up for this game, and he wasted little time in setting down the top of the Georgia order, as we're officially underway in Athens. Carolina comes up to bat with no score in the bottom of the 1st.

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Athens: The Grand Finale Begins

Over 65 games, a brutal SEC schedule, a conference tournament, a regional, and two lopsided games on Saturday and Sunday, it's now or never for Georgia and South Carolina tonight as the winner packs their bags for Omaha.

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June 11, 2006

Athens: Wrapping Up Day 2

Baseball, especially tournament baseball, is a test of adversity. Early in today's game, the Georgia Bulldogs faced tremendous adversity. After a game 1 blowout, they trailed 4-0, and things were looking bleak in Athens. But great baseball teams overcome adversity and rise to the occasion, and Georgia proved they were definitely a great baseball club with their comeback win today.

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Athens: Georgia wins 11-5, Game 3 tomorrow

S. Carolina taught everyone about offensive power on Saturday. Today, Georgia showed the Gamecocks they knew a little something about offense themselves, belting 19 hits and overcoming a 4-0 deficit early to beat Carolina 11-5 and force a third and deciding game tomorrow in Athens.

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Athens: 11-5 Dogs after 7 1/2

Brandon Todd ended the bleeding for the Gamecocks, but not before Georgia added another run on a RBI single by Jonathan Wyatt, making it a 6-run lead for the Bulldogs.

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Athens: Peisel opens this game up, 10-5

The chants of "U-G-A!" are filling Foley Field, and the Bulldogs are starting to gain more confidence after Ryan Peisel sent a double to the right center gap, scoring two runs and giving Georgia a commanding 10-5 lead.

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Athens: Dunn safe at home, 8-5 Georgia

Brooks Brown cruising through the 6th was big for Georgia, and they took advantage by adding to their lead in the 7th. Josh Morris hit a bloop single that just made it over Chris Brown's head. Andrew Crisp sent a rope to home, but the throw was just a bit off, allowing Matthew Dunn to slide in safely before the tag.

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Athens: Important 1-2-3 for Brown, Georgia

Andrew Cruse had done a superb job of getting the Gamecocks out of the top of the 6th, giving Carolina a real chance to steal the momentum back after Robbie Grinestaff cut the lead to 2. But Brooks Brown had other ideas for South Carolina in the bottom of the sixth.

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Athens: Grinestaff cuts lead with RBI single

Robbie Grinestaff has been a thorn in Georgia's paw all weekend. Well, the thorn isn't through sticking to the Bulldogs yet. Grinestaff hit a bloop single to right, scoring Justin Smoak from second and cutting the UGA lead to 7-5.

S. Carolina has been a dangerous team this postseason, and Georgia's got to come out with the same offensive punch to snuff out any Carolina run. The Gamecocks are a team that keeps fighting, and their bench is up on the edge of their dugout, as well as Georgia's, as the teams rally each other to try and win this game.

Heading into inning #6, it's the host team up 2.

Athens: 7-4 UGA on Wyatt's single

Georgia is alive and kicking (and barking), as Jonathan Wyatt singled straight up the middle to make this a 7-4 Bulldog lead. The Gamecocks now seem to be the stunned team, while Athens has risen from the depths of anxiety to celebrate the recent change of momentum in their favor.

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Athens: Felmy bomb makes it 6-4 'Dogs

It didn't take long for UGA to get started in the fifth.

Bobby Felmy launched an Andrew Cruse pitch deep into dead center, hitting the green screen over the center field fence, and sending Foley into hysterics as the Bulldogs have taken a 6-4 lead over S. Carolina.

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Athens: Foley howls as UGA takes first lead

South Carolina scored a run on a passed ball, but ended up tasting a bit of the same medicine. A wild pitch by Andrew Cruse brought home Ryan Peisel, giving Georgia its first lead of the Super Regional at 5-4, and sending Foley Field to noise levels that haven't been heard before this weekend in Athens.

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Athens: Sac bunt ties game at 4

It looked at first as if S. Carolina was going to run away again from Georgia. However, the Bulldogs have shown some bite, and sacrificed a run in thanks to a bunt by Matthew Dunn, bringing huge cheers and lots of barking from a grateful Georgia fan base.

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Athens: Foley rocking as Jacobs HR makes it 4-3

Georgia has finally decided to make Game 2 a ballgame. Jason Jacobs sent a blast into the pines in left field to cut the Carolina lead to 4-3, and bringing the biggest cheer of the weekend from the UGA fans, who are finally up and lively, waving flags, clapping wildly, and even dancing in the stands from some excited kids.

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Athens: Foley rocking as Jacobs HR makes it 4-3

Georgia has finally decided to make Game 2 a ballgame. Jason Jacobs sent a blast into the pines in left field to cut the Carolina lead to 4-3, and bringing the biggest cheer of the weekend from the UGA fans, who are finally up and lively, waving flags, clapping wildly, and even dancing in the stands from some excited kids.

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Athens: Finally, Bulldogs on board

The pressure is on the Georgia Bulldogs. So far in the top of the 4th, they've finally made a little noise. Bobby Felmy hit a hot grounder that bounced up and over the glove of 2B Chris Brown, scoring Josh Morris to make it a 4-1 game, but finally sending loud cheers from the crowd in Athens.

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Athens: Carolina scores another unearned run

Yesterday's theme was Carolina home runs. Today's theme seems to be unearned runs for South Carolina. A Brooks Brown slider went low and passed by the catcher, scoring Justin Smoak from third in a close relay and giving South Carolina a 4-0 lead in the third.

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Athens: UGA just can't score

Again, Georgia puts runners on base. Again, Georgia can't find a way to push them in. It's spelling doom early on in Athens for the Bulldogs.

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Athens: Carolina offense roaring again

Robbie Grinestaff singled to right, scoring Phil Disher and Andrew Crisp, and Carolina is right back where they started from yesterday, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the 1st that has Georgia fans very anxious and quiet, and Carolina fans very celebratory already.

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Athens: Crisp puts Carolina up first

Carolina is already cranking up their offensive machine again, as Andrew Crisp doubled down the left field line to give the Gamecocks the early 1-0 lead.

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Athens: Cisco gets out of jam in 1st

Gordon Beckham doubled over the center fielder's head, but S. Carolina P Matt Cisco struck out Josh Morris to end the threat. It's a small, but tough early blow for UGA, who needs to come out strong to keep the crowd in the game and the momentum on their side.

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Athens: Warming Up for Day 2

It's a picture perfect day in Athens, though it could be a little cooler (it got up to 99 degrees at noon today). Georgia and South Carolina are warming up for Day 2 of the Athens Super Regional here at Foley Field.

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June 10, 2006

Athens: One Happening City

Part of the fun of covering regionals and super regionals is the atmosphere of the stadium, and the atmosphere of the city. Fayetteville is an amazing city with so much going on, and with this as my first trip to Athens, I was curious to see what this city had to offer. I have found out...quite a lot!

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Athens: Final Analysis from Day 1

It was a day that Carolina fans will never forget, and Georgia fans hope they will...

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Athens: Birds of Prey: Carolina wins 15-6

The blowout is official, as South Carolina takes the first game 15-6. The Gamecocks provided the crowd, and UGA players, a costly clinic on home run hitting. Eight (that's right, eight!) home runs by the Gamecocks scored all 15 runs in an offensive performance that left most Bulldog fans simply speechless.

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Athens: Side triples as UGA shaves one off huge defecit

Joey Side tripled in the right center power alley, sending Jonathan Wyatt home and making this game a 15-5 Carolina lead. It's just WAY too little, WAY too late for the Bulldogs.

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Athens: Ball, meet Kudzu. Nail, meet Coffin

The pine trees have been bombarded in left, the scoreboard has been attacked in right. Why not go deep right and attack Kudzu Hill? That's what Robbie Grinestaff must've been thinking, as he smashed a 3-run lunar probe into the heavy patch of kudzu in right, making it a 15-4 Carolina rout.

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Athens: Signs of Life from Bulldogs, fans

It looks like UGA might have a little bit in them left after all. While SC Coach Ray Tanner kept Honeycutt on the mound, Bobby Felmy singled over 1B Justin Smoak's head, driving in Joey Side and cutting the Gamecock lead to 12-4.

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Athens: First big hit, RBI for Bulldogs

Jonathan Wyatt has suddenly shown flashes of spark for the Bulldogs. After making a sliding catch in foul ground to end a Gamecock threat, he tripled to the gap just right of dead center field to bring in UGA's second run.

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Athens: UGA fans beginning to head home

As innings are running out for Georgia to make any dent in South Carolina's 11-run lead, the crowd at Foley Field has significantly dwindled, as Bulldog fans seem to have conceded this one to the visiting Gamecocks.

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Athens: Carolina Aerial Assault Continues

The impressive Gamecock power surge continues to feed on Georgia pitching. This time, RF James Darnell rounded the bases, sending a 3-run homer off the Coca-Cola sign on the Foley Field scoreboard to make it a 12-1 game.

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Athens: Georgia finally on the board

They loaded the bases again, but it took a 2-out walk by Carolina P Harris Honeycutt for Georgia to score its first run, sending showers of applause...and hope...to the Bulldog faithful.

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Athens: UGA Threat Snuffed Out, still 9-0

Georgia loaded the bases with 1 out, but Harris Honeycutt worked his way out of the jam, and SC now heads to the third up 9-0, as the Carolina fans finally get a chance to sit down.

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Athens: Parting of the Red Seas

Foley Field today is like parting two red seas: the sea of bright red, and the sea of garnet red, as two SEC powers face off today in the Super Regional.

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Athens: Carolina Home Run Derby..Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, 9-0

It looks as if Game 1 of the Athens Super Regional has begun with the first annual South Carolina post-season Home Run Derby, and many contenders are up and running for the Gamecocks.

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Athens: Crisp blasts HR, up 3-0 early

Georgia's had South Carolina's number this season, but it doesn't look like the Gamecocks are intimated early.

Andrew Crisp sent a Westphal pitch deep and over the wall in the left center power alley, scoring Phil Disher and Justin Smoak, and the Gamecocks jumped quickly to a 3-0 lead over Georgia.

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Athens: UGA-USC...we're set to go!

We are set to go, as the crowd is filling into Foley Field to prepare for Game 1 of the Athens Super Regional between Georgia and South Carolina.

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June 09, 2006

Athens: Arrived and Ready!

After 14 hours of tough driving, including traffic jams in Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, I have arrived in Athens, and the adrenaline of covering this SEC battle far exceeds any fatigue from the trip!

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June 08, 2006

Georgia: Going Batty

Two blowouts and three nail-biters later, the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs finally advanced to the Super Regional, narrowly escaping the Florida State Seminoles in a winner-take-all final game of the Athens Regional.

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June 06, 2006

Looking Forward: South Carolina

The Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina emerged victorious from the Charlottesville Regional with a 5-1 win over the University of Evansville, and will meet SEC rival Georgia in the Super Regionals.

Here's a look at where the Gamecocks stand heading into the series with the Bulldogs.

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