Georgia plays host to the Bulldog Invitational Friday-Sunday at Foley Field, and the teams coming to Athens will be South Alabama (4-0), Cincinnati (0-3) and Western Kentucky (2-1). Last weekend, USA swept Evansville, the Bearcats were swept by #5 LSU in Baton Rouge (6-5 in 12, 4-0, 12-4), and the Hilltoppers won a series over Evansville.
Georgia will employ the same rotation as Opening Weekend, going with junior RHP Robert Tyler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Friday, senior RHP Heath Holder (0-0, 4.05 ERA) on Saturday and freshman LHP Kevin Smith (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Sunday. Friday’s Georgia-South Alabama matchup will feature a pair of All-Americans on the mound as the Jaguars counter with right-hander Kevin Hill. He has a career record of 15-5 including going 10-0 with a 1.73 ERA last year for USA.
All three of Georgia’s games will be available on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.
Friday, Feb. 26
One p.m. Cincinnati vs. Western Kentucky
5 p.m. South Alabama vs. Georgia
Saturday, Feb. 27
12 pm Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama
4 pm Cincinnati vs. Georgia
Sunday, Feb. 28
11 am South Alabama vs. Cincinnati
3 pm Western Kentucky vs. Georgia
Series Fast Facts
Georgia is 0-1 versus South Alabama, the lone meeting coming in 2003, a 9-6 loss in Lake Charles, La., at the Lake Charles Classic hosted by McNeese State. Since 2012, the Jaguars have been coached by former USC assistant Mark Calvi, who was the pitching coach for the national champion Gamecocks in 2010.
Georgia has never faced Cincinnati. The Bearcats are coached by Ty Neal. He is in his third season. Neal was part of the Indiana staff that advanced to the CWS in 2013.
The Bulldogs are 2-2 against WKU, meeting at Foley Field in 1985 (L 4-3 and 9-4) and then again here in 2014 (W 26-7, W 8-6). WKU is coached by John Pawlowski. He was Auburn’s head coach from 2009-13.
Last Time Out
The Bulldogs rallied past Mercer 7-6 in 10 innings on the road this past Wednesday in a marathon contest that lasted four hours and 19 minutes. Georgia escaped a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the ninth. The go-ahead run scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Logan Moody, bringing in freshman LJ Talley who led off with a walk. Georgia’s bullpen tossed 7.2 innings, allowing just one wind-aided solo home run with ten strikeouts. Freshman RHP Blakely Brown had three strikeouts in the final 1.2 innings for his first win.
Georgia went 2-1 in its opening weekend versus Georgia Southern in Athens at Foley Field and did so without preseason All-America center fielder Stephen Wrenn and No. 2 starterConnor Jones as they missed the series with an injury and illness. Wrenn was named a preseason All-American by Baseball America (BA) and D1 Baseball.com and preseason All-SEC by the league coaches. Also, BA ranked Wrenn No. 28 on its College Top 100 Draft Prospects list for 2016. Both Bulldogs returned Wednesday. Wrenn went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI while Jones struggled with his command in his first career start (2.1 IP, 6H, 5R, 5BB, 4K, 4 WP).
Sophomore left fielder Keegan McGovern paced the team at the plate against GSU, batting .417 (5-for-12) with four runs scored, two doubles, a home run, and four RBI. McGovern and junior LF Skyler Weber have hit safely in all four games this year and lead the team in batting at .375. Weber blasted a home run against the Bears. He became the first catcher to bat leadoff in the modern era of UGA baseball.
Junior preseason All-America right-hander Robert Tyler was dominating in an Opening Day start, registering a career-high 13 strikeouts (12 swinging) in only five innings of work in a 5-1 win. Tyler was among the players honored by Collegiate Baseball as Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week from the Opening Weekend.
Georgia started four freshmen on Opening Day, the most since 2009 when five started. Five Bulldog freshmen started last Sunday including left-hander Kevin Smith who dazzled in his debut, tossing seven innings and allowing just one unearned run, helping Georgia clinch the series with a 4-1 victory. Smith was honored as SEC Co-Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday. Overall in the GSU series, four freshmen pitchers combined to go 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 SV in 10.2 IP with 6 BB and 11Ks. A total of 11 freshmen have played for the Bulldogs this year.
Foley Field was “Foley Filled” with sellouts for the first two games of the series and overall 8,968 fans attended Opening Weekend.
TV: SEC Network +: (Friday: Matt Stewart/Jason Jacobs); Sat. & Sun.: (Jeff Dantzler/Jason Jacobs)
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College (Jeff Dantzler & David Johnston)
Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), georgiadogs.com and via the Georgia Bulldogs app and TuneIn app.
Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA
Video Links For Georgia Games in Bulldog Invitational (Feb. 26-28)
Friday at 5 pm ET vs. South Alabama on SEC Network+
Saturday at 4 pm ET vs. Cincinnati on SEC Network+
Sun. at 3 pm ET vs. Western Kentucky on SEC Network+
Foley Field Ticket Information
Reserved Seat Tickets: $8; General Admission Tickets: $5; Order online or by calling 1-877-542-1231
UGA Student Tickets: Free Admission with valid UGA Student ID Card; Note: UGA Student Gate is located off Rutherford Street;
Foley Field Ticket Booth opens two hours before game time; 1 ticket is good for both games each day during the tournament.