We’re live from our king of college sports: Uh, baseball? (and Tech wins 9-3)

Georgia's Dave Perno (left) and Tech's Danny Hall are two of the reasons college baseball's doing well in Georgia. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Too bad the success of Georgia's Dave Perno and Tech's Danny Hall doesn't translate to college basketball across the state. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com.)

This may not ease the pain of Georgia’s pronounced tumble down from No. 1 in the football rankings last year, or Tech’s season-ending face plant against LSU, or certainly anything involving most recent college basketball seasons in the state of Georgia.

But have you noticed? College baseball rules!

No. Most weren’t brought up in the state dreaming of the sound of “ping.” But it’s about the sweetest thing you’re going to hear or see right now on a state campus.

Four schools – Georgia Tech, Georgia, Georgia State and Georgia Southern – are in the NCAA’s field of baseball 64.

That is exactly four more than were in the NCAA’s last field of basketball 64.

Just spoke a little while ago to Tech coach Danny Hall. He was relaxing watching the Elon-Southern Miss game before the Yellow Jackets take on sudden cross-town rival State later tonight. When I asked him why college baseball is doing so well in the state, I was surprised by the answer.

“The Braves,” he said.

Interesting. So the Braves can help Georgia State but they can’t help the Braves?

Hall clarified: “It’s the dynasty that the Braves had for so long. You think back to when that all started [in 1991]. All of their games were televised, so you could watch them not only if you were living in the Southeast, even if you were living in Ohio. The exposure to the Atlanta Braves and how good they were for so long got a lot of people, particularly in our state, interested in baseball.”

Hall pointed to other factors – the level of high school baseball, the elevation of summer programs following the lead of East Cobb in Marietta, the growth of Atlanta – but he added: “I just think it creates a lot of interest when the local pro team is doing that well.”

Tech wins 9-3 lead over State

Georgia Tech starter Deck McGuire was tagged for three runs early by Georgia State. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech starter Deck McGuire was tagged for three runs early by Georgia State. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech’s Matt Skole hit his first career grand slam in the fifth inning and the Yellow Jackets went on to a 9-3 win over Georgia State in their regional opener Friday night. Tech will play Southern Miss Saturday.

Skole’s slam gave the Jackets a 6-3 lead. The Panthers led 3-1 until the fifth, when Tech loaded the bases against pitcher Will Palmer. Tony Plagman then drew a walk to close the score to 3-2. Palmer struck out Jason Haniger but Skole drove a 1-1 pitch over the right field wall.

The Jackets pushed across another run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Jeff Rowland.

A two-run single by Luke Murton in the eighth opened the lead to 9-3.

The Panthers, playing in their first NCAA post-season game, scored three times in the second off Tech starter Deck McGuire to take a 3-1 lead. The Jackets scored an unearned run in the first inning. State answered in the second with a solo home run by Bradley Logan — he has homered in five straight games — and then added two more on three singles, an error and a fielder’s choice.

Georgia State left fielder Michael McCree also has the early defensive play of the regional with a diving catch off a drive by Tech’s Luke Murton.

Russ Chandler Stadium looks to be sold out, with some fans standing.

Earlier, a Tech spokesperson said tonight’s game might be close to a sellout. A big reason is presence of State, which sold its original allotment of 200 tickets and asked for 400 more. This is the Panthers’ first NCAA regional.

Tech officials originally thought the NCAA might seed all four state teams in this regional, but Georgia was given a No. 2 seed in Tallahassee and Southern also received a second see at Cal State Fullerton. On the potential of an all-Georgia regional, Cheryl Watts of the Tech sports information department said: “We were thinking, ‘If that happens, at least we know it’ll sell out. But it would be a loaded regional.’”

School presidents sitting together

Georgia State president Mark Becker and Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson are sitting together at the game. “Got here just in time for the first pitch,” Peterson told our Doug Roberson. “It’s fabulous to see the crowds. We’re just having a good time.” The two said they do not have a wager on the game. 

When asked what would make it a perfect evening, Becker said: “It’s already a perfect evening, to see Bradley Logan continue his perfect hitting.”

Long gone

There were 30 dozen baseballs provided for the three-day tournament. The problem? Elon and Southern Miss went through eight dozen in game one, won by Southern Miss, 17-15. The teams combined for 11 home runs and 34 hits.

99 comments Add your comment

Gibsonville

May 29th, 2009
4:11 pm

Elon should have never changed to Phoenix from Fighting Christians.

Mac

May 29th, 2009
4:16 pm

That was really me, but I used the handle because Gibsonville is a little town next door to the little town of Elon.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
4:23 pm

Gibsonville/Mac — how ’bout compromise … just go something Old Testament-ish. Fighting Leviticuses.

G State Ben

May 29th, 2009
4:32 pm

Let’s Go Panthers! Time to Roar!

Mac

May 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

That’ll do.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
4:39 pm

Oh come on, Mac. Let the little ones from State have their fun. This is a big moment for them.

45-42

May 29th, 2009
4:48 pm

Sorry State, but we will show you how real Atlanta colleges play baseball. GO JACKETS!!!!

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
5:03 pm

Southern Miss, once up 8-0, now leads Elon only 9-6 and Elon has two on in the sixth. Now does that have you hooked or what!

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
5:08 pm

ELON HOME RUN! ELON HOME RUN! 9-9! I need an icee. (New projected first pitch Georgia Tech game: 10:07 p.m. … Kidding . … Sorta)

Waldo

May 29th, 2009
5:46 pm

Gibsonville, as far college nicknames go, would the “FIGHTING THUGS” be too redundant?

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
5:52 pm

Elon has just taken a 13-12 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Umpire just visited the mound, I guess to see if the Southern Miss pitcher was still alive.

Chop Suey, Blogger

May 29th, 2009
6:10 pm

Here I am ready to blog and the Chop Chick blog from April 9 is still posted. That’s why I am blogging here with my new best bud, Jeff. I don’t know about you but I think it is time for Francoeur to take a night off. Schafer, too. Let Chino Cadahia play outfield tonight. Chino and Snitker. Sounds like a law firm but without the lawyers.

I think writing a blog is pretty cool.. After all, it’s not exactly rocket surgery. Remember, if it ain’t Chop Chick then it must be Chop Suey. Chop Suey, AJC blogger. Going for my own column next.

Shelly

May 29th, 2009
6:13 pm

WALDO –

Do you mean to imply that Virginia Tech is seeking a new mascot ?

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
6:27 pm

So, just 3 hours and 25 minutes later . . . Southern Miss defeat Elon, 17-15. There were 11 home runs and 34 hits in the game. Bennett Davis of Elon was the fourth player in NCAA history to hit three home runs. . . . The Tech game should start around 7:20 p.m.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
7:35 pm

OK … We’re underway … Georgia Tech just scored a run in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Leadoff man Jeff Rowland reached base on a Georgia State throwing error, stole two bases and scored on a fielder’s choice …. On a related now, somebody just handed me the stat book from the 17-15 game earlier in the day if you’re looking for a little lite reading.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
7:37 pm

Georgia State’s Bradley Logan just homered with nobody on in the second — his fifth straight game with a home run.

August

May 29th, 2009
7:40 pm

That Georgia State team should be ready for Tech after beating up on Atlanta Christian College, Oglethorpe, and Augusta State this year. They would have played St. Mary’s School for the Blind, but the Flying Nuns already had a doubleheader scheduled that day against Savannah State.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
7:43 pm

Well, take this Mr. August: G-State has taken a 2-1 lead and has runners at the corners with none out in the second. It’s . . . OVER! (Sorry. Got carried away).

Tyler

May 29th, 2009
7:49 pm

Whats the word jeff?? Im here if nobody else isnt

Techman

May 29th, 2009
8:03 pm

How is the crowd at RCS?

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
8:16 pm

Tyler, Techman: Just updated. Sold out, I think. State still leads 3-1 going to bottom of the fourth.

Panthers87

May 29th, 2009
8:21 pm

Let’s go STATE keep it up!

atlanta Nole

May 29th, 2009
8:22 pm

Jeff,

I thought the ncaa prohibited live blogging from championship sites?????

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
8:24 pm

The NCAA has rules?

rhynster

May 29th, 2009
8:26 pm

I’d have been there tonight rooting for GSU, my alma mater, but you can’t watch baseball without beer.

First and 2010

May 29th, 2009
8:29 pm

LET’S GO STATE!!!

Sincerely,

A Graduate of Both Schools ;)

GT Falcon

May 29th, 2009
8:29 pm

Jeff,
Why wouldn’t CSS televise this game in ATL? Two ATL teams and no TV. Doesn’t make much sense to show the clemson game. Wish I could have made the game now.

First and 2010

May 29th, 2009
8:31 pm

rhynster: looks like we’re on the same page!! I’m listening to this on on WRAS 88.5 with brews in steady supply!!

Panthers87

May 29th, 2009
8:34 pm

I am with you two guys…..having a good time…..sounds like GT put down a nice bunt. No matter, right now…Palmer > Deck….Nice!

yellow panther eyes

May 29th, 2009
8:34 pm

Jeff: “little ones?” What’s up with that?

UGA Baseball

May 29th, 2009
8:35 pm

Top of 9th – UGA 24, The Ohio State Univ. 6… man, OSU should just avoid the SEC at all costs.

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
8:37 pm

GT Falcon: I’ve been told CSS is doing the Clemson regional (Clemson and Alabama, which is in that regional, both are CSS schools also).

Yellow Panther eyes: Easy, kitty.

yellow panther eyes

May 29th, 2009
8:40 pm

Umm…are you trying (and failing miserably) to be funny? My mistake ;)

rhynster

May 29th, 2009
8:41 pm

Uh oh trouble brewing for State. YIkes!

rhynster

May 29th, 2009
8:44 pm

Isn’t Luke Murton related to Matt Murton?

Jeff Schultz

May 29th, 2009
8:44 pm

Tech’s Matt Skole just hit a grand slam in the fifth — Jackets blow ahead 6-3.

Techman

May 29th, 2009
8:45 pm

As usual Danny Hall cannot coach the Techkies when it comes to the “real” games that count. Gt will lose this regional again and Gt will give Hall another extension. If you want to be rated in the top 10 each season, but lose to UGA and lose the district playoffs, then come to GT and play for Danny Hall.

rhynster

May 29th, 2009
8:45 pm

crap…grand slam

GT Falcon

May 29th, 2009
8:46 pm

Thanks Jeff.

UGA Baseball: HA HA. Good one. I hate OSU almost as much as the dawgs .

Techman

May 29th, 2009
8:49 pm

Thanks for stealing my handle and pretending to be a “Techman”. THWG

former outfielder at a REAL university

May 29th, 2009
8:51 pm

HOW ‘BOUT THEM DAWGS!!!!

Oh sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt the game between the Downtown Atlanta Commuters and the North Avenue Never-Getting-Laids!!

southside DAWG

May 29th, 2009
8:51 pm

well once again the SEC owns the Big 10 UGA 24 OSU 8 good thing UGA is had to play @ FSU instead of gt because we would have done this to gt looks like the bats are back GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AtlMike

May 29th, 2009
8:51 pm

Go Georgia State! Beat those overrated nerds!

August

May 29th, 2009
8:53 pm

Guess the Dawgs are cycling again like Beckham did before his last year in Athens.

southside DAWG

May 29th, 2009
8:53 pm

Hey Jeff who is @ FSU covering the DAWGS?

AtlMike

May 29th, 2009
8:54 pm

The only thing that Tech wins at is having the most obnoxious fans in all of college sports!

chopaholic

May 29th, 2009
8:56 pm

AtlMike: ever been to a Georgia game???

Wombat

May 29th, 2009
8:57 pm

AtlMike,

I’m not going to argue that we have our share of “obnoxious” fans, but to make the statement you made…I can only assume life is blissful in your state of ignorance.

rhynster

May 29th, 2009
8:57 pm

You know, I like UGA as much as anyone.

But, seriously, why do you all think we really care to hear the score of your game?

is it football season yet?

May 29th, 2009
8:58 pm

college baseball blog = slow news day