Diamond Dogs look to break jinx

Ah, the sweet clank of cowhide on aluminum! Yes, college baseball is back.

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon over in Athens this past Saturday watching David Perno’s 2009 Diamond Dogs showing off their offense for a near-capacity crowd at Foley Field, scoring double digits in all three games of their opening home stand for the first time since 1980.

It was a better than expected turnout against an unranked opponent (Youngstown State), with only a handful of seats in the shady (and very chilly on this day) reserved seat section going unfilled. In fact, the team drew 8,868 over the three-game opening stand, breaking a record set against Oregon State in 2007. It was a nice mix of local oldsters who regularly turn out, sorority girls with their dads, and families with young kids. Plus some of the hardcore were out at the foot of Kudzu Hill. A lot of folks like me from metro Atlanta were there, too. (It’s not a bad drive; I was walking up to the ticket window less than 90 minutes after leaving home in Decatur.) Despite the cool weather, folks were tailgating in the Stegeman Coliseum parking lot before the game. Even Mike “Big Dawg” Woods (an Athens High classmate of mine) was on hand with his painted bald head.

Maybe the weekend’s strong attendance is a sign of optimism among Georgia’s baseball fans that the program will break out of the odd-numbered year jinx that has plagued it this decade, alternating bad seasons with trips to the NCAA tournament or College World Series in the even-numbered years. True, UGA did lose some high-profile talent from last year’s CWS runner-up, including SEC player of the year Gordon Beckham and SEC pitcher of the year Joshua Fields, but Perno managed to hang on to much of his pitching staff, most notably Trevor Holder, who turned down a chance to sign with the Marlins last summer, and he’s also got 18 lettermen returning.

Even more notable, perhaps, is the promising freshman class, which is so brimming with talent that five of the Dogs’ starters this weekend were frosh. And they produced, especially speedy lead-off man and base-stealer Johnathan Taylor from Acworth, who got on base 12 out of 14 times in the three-game series. It’s worth noting the team was picked from 4th to 14th in preseason polls, ranking Top 10 in most of them.

Whether the Dogs can make it two years in a row to the CWS or not, they usually play an entertaining brand of ball and you can’t beat the value, with reserved seats just $8 and general admission only $5 (UGA students get in free with their ID). You can buy tickets online at www.georgiadogs.com or by phone at 1-877-542-1231, and the ticket window at Foley Field opens two hours before the first pitch.

The Dogs play host to Presbyterian in a two-game series Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 4 p.m., and while they travel out to Arizona this coming weekend, they’ll be back at Foley Field the weekend after that.

It’s a great place to watch a ballgame. If you’ve never been to a baseball game at UGA, now’s the time to give it a try.

5 comments Add your comment

uga_b

February 24th, 2009
9:57 am

The best part is that if you sit out behind right field you can heckle their right fielder and bullpen. There is nothing better than watching a right fielder miss a play due to the constant razzing; this happened in one of our regionals a few years ago. Hope the diamond dogs can get it going.

Cuz

February 24th, 2009
12:15 pm

Bill that new picture is kinda scary. But otherwise, glad to have the Diamond Dawgs back on the field. To bad they are not on radio and tv is just a pipe dream.

Bill King

February 24th, 2009
3:07 pm

Actually, they are on the radio in the Athens area (WRFC AM 960) and they’ll be on TV 18 times this season.
Here’s the schedule:

ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia baseball team is scheduled to appear on television 18 times during the regular season including games on Fox Sport South, CSS, SportSouth, Cox and the Sunshine Network.

Sunday, March 15    at Alabama    3 .m.    CSS
Friday, March 20    Mississippi State    7 p.m.    CSS
Sunday, March 22    Mississippi State    2 p.m.    CSS
Wednesday, March 25    at Georgia Tech    7 p.m.    CSS
Wednesday, April 1    at Clemson    7 p.m.    CSS
Saturday, April 4    LSU    1 p.m.    CSS
Saturday, April 11    at Kentucky    7 p.m.    FS South
Sunday, April 12    at Kentucky    1 p.m.    FS South
Friday, April 17    Arkansas    7 p.m.    Cox/WNEG
Saturday, April 18    Arkansas    1 p.m.    FS South
Sunday, April 19    Arkansas    2 p.m.    Cox/WNEG
Friday, May 1    Florida    7 p.m.    Sunshine
Saturday, May 2    Florda    1 p.m.    CSS
Saturday, May 9    Vanderbilt    1 p.m.    CSS
Tuesday, May 12    Ga. Tech (Turner Field)    7 p.m.    FS South
Thursday, May 14    at South Carolina    7 p.m.    SportSouth
Friday, May 15    at South Carolina    7 p.m.    SportSouth
Saturday, May 16    at South Carolina    1 p.m.    SportSouth

Coondawg69

March 1st, 2009
5:29 pm

10-5, just swept Arizona in Tucson!!!
Mr. King, not sure what that “Jinx” is…. CWS in 2001… NCAA tourney in 2002!!! Granted the Dawgs followed up 04 and 06 CWS trips with no NCAA tourney, but that’s not a jinx… more over, an All-American closer (Startup in 04 and Fields in 06) that could not get anyone out the following year. Fields came back to close in 08 and was drafted in the first round. PLEASE do not forget the contributions that Ryan Piesel made for three seasons at 3rd base.
Perno has these pups headed in the right direction. That “Odd Year” bit… is more fodder than substance.

Mr. King, being from Athens High, please do not forget the loyal fans in the “Left Field Lounge”.

GO DAWGS!!!!

dawes

March 4th, 2009
11:13 pm

my dawes are back