Good afternoon. Been very busy with non-reporting stuff the past couple of days, so I apologize for the dearth of blogs. But I have a lot coming to you over the next 72 hours — and from now on — so be sure to check back often.
To get us started I’m just going to share some left-over quotes from Georgia baseball coach David Perno from last night’s rousing win over Georgia Tech. By now I’m sure everybody has heard and/or seen that critically-injured outfielder Johnathan Taylor was in the dugout with the Dogs last night and gave his teammates an emotional lift en route to a 6-4 victory. The junior from Acworth, making his first public, was joined by fellow wheelchair-bound, former Bulldog Chance Veazey. So the charge that put into their teammates was palpable.
Meanwhile, shortstop Kyle Farmer continued his torrid play at the plate. The sophomore from Atlanta was 2-for-5 last night with three RBI and has hit safely in 18 of the past 19 games to get his average up to .302. HERE’S A LINK to Ken Sugiura’s report on the game.
I’ll post another item on the blog later this afternoon and still more later tonight. So until then, let’s hear from Coach Perno about last night:
On having JT in the dugout:
“It was almost deflating when we left there (at the hospital) seeing what kind of shape he was in. To see him come out with smile and just together, all of us together again, was awesome.”
Why playing so well lately?
“We talked about it. We talked about it Thursday before Tennessee. From a pitching standpoint, we got to shut down innings. From an offensive standpoint, we’ve got to get back to doing some good things with two outs. We did a great job of it Saturday, we did a good job of it Sunday and we did another great job of it tonight. It’s huge. It’s baseball. Curt (Powell) laying down that bunt, a little uncharacteristic of our teams from years past, but this team’s different. We’ve just got to make those little adjustments and just doing the best we got.”
On relief pitching:
“They were great. Obviously, Daniel Dieterich and Maloof have been really good the last couple of weeks. I’m really proud of Benzor. That’s really encouraging because I think he’s got some good stuff. He throws a lot of strikes and for him to come in and handle that workload and then Herman as well. Herman hadn’t pitched a whole lot in a long time. Just bridged a little bit of time for us so we didn’t have to overuse and we were able to give Hawkins kind of a night off. He had to get ready to cover Daniels after a lead-off double but nonetheless he didn’t have to pitch. Those other three guys, Daniels, Dieterich and Maloof were efficient so they’ll be ready to go this weekend.”
On Farmer’s two-out hits:
“That was huge for us. it’s getting old, but when he goes, we go. That’s just the bottom line. he’s been going for about six weeks.”
On players seeing Taylor before game:
“It’s just very emotional. the last time we saw him as a group, I know he was in tough shape, and he’s a whole different guy now. It was pretty special. And you can’t get enough of JT. If you’ve been around him any length of time, he’s just very magnetic. You can just stay around him, nothing has to be said but just be close to him. he’s unique. There’s nobody like him.
“He was down in the corner (of the field) and then he migrated up and was in the dugout for the first four innings and kind of saw the big inning and then we said, ‘You’re good to go now. we’ve got it from here.’
“We had a good idea (he was coming). He felt good enough to come to the Georgia Tech field, and we just didn’t think it was the right time, so we wanted to wait for this one. [But the players] had a pretty good idea.”