– Can UGA’s baseball team make another NCAA postseason run, perhaps to the College World Series? You might not think so, based on recent results. But it’s a funny game, as you know, and first baseman Rich Poythress made the point Thursday that the Dogs weren’t exactly swinging the bats great entering the postseason last year, either. And then they broke out and went on a tear in which they scored 9, 14, 8, 18, 11, 6 and 17 runs in consecutive games to reach Omaha. So we’ll see. (Here’s a story on Georgia’s bid for an encore.)
– More of what Poythress had to say: “Our goal is to play our game and put it all together. . . . We’ve got to get the middle of the order going again. We need to step up and swing the bats a little better. We can rely on our postseason experience, the postseason at-bats we have had. . . . We’ve talked about our young guys a lot, but the middle of the order and the heart of the pitching staff have been there before. . . . Our main goal was to give ourselves a chance, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve put ourselves in position.”
– Tough test Friday in the regional opener (noon start) at Tallahassee: Georgia’s hitters vs. Ohio State pitcher Alex Wimmers, who has a 9-1 record, 2.68 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings.
– Well, whatever happens, the baseball team ended its quirky streak under David Perno of making the NCAA tournament in every even-numbered year (2002, ‘04, ’06 and ‘08) and in no odd-numbered years. The Dogs missed the postseason in ’03, ’05 and ’07 and, in fact, finished well below .500 in the SEC each of those seasons. Yet, in the past three even-numbered years, Georgia not only made the postseason but reached the College World Series. OK, enough on that.
– UGA will have 21 competitors in the NCAA East Regional men’s and women’s track and field meet Friday and Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. Among them: Geno Atkins, starting defensive tackle on the football team and shot putter on the track team. The only current UGA athlete participating in two intercollegiate sports, Atkins was seventh in the shot put at the SEC meet, earning two valuable points for his team. Interesting comment by Georgia coach Wayne Norton in a press release this week: “The significance of Geno scoring at the SEC meet and advancing to the NCAA East Regionals is that he is the first football player to contribute like that for us since Demiko Goodman finished third at the 2005 SEC indoor meet. Getting what we call ‘football help’ is always a boost to our team, and I think it gave him a little publicity off the field in another sport, which he deserved. We are expecting good things from Geno in Greensboro.” Here’s an earlier story on Atkins the two-sport athlete.
– The East Regional track-and-field meet opens at 11 a.m. Friday with the javelin, an event in which Georgia’s Chris Hill is the defending NCAA champion. He also won this season’s SEC championship.
– UGA’s softball team played in the Women’s College World Series for the first time Thursday — and ran into collegiate softball’s player of the year. After losing to Washington (and star pitcher Danielle Lawrie), the Bulldogs face an elimination game at noon Saturday. Here’s Jack Magruder’s story for the AJC from Oklahoma City.
– The NCAA men’s golf Championship has a new format, with the low eight teams through three days moving on to match play. Despite a 12-over 296 on Thursday, Georgia tied for seventh place through three rounds at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio –- good enough, barely, to advance to the match-play portion. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the nation entering the tournament, will have a showdown with Oklahoma State, ranked No. 2, in the quarterfinals Friday. (That heavyweight matchup results from Georgia being seeded No. 8 and Oklahoma State No. 1 for the match-play portion based on the first 54 holes.) The Georgia-Oklahoma State winner will face the Arizona State-Texas A&M winner in the semis, also Friday.