With six conference games remaining, the Bulldogs (22-25 overall, 7-16 SEC) are in the hunt for a spot in the SEC Tournament. Alabama and Miss. State are a half-game ahead of the Bulldogs at 8-16 while Georgia is a half-game ahead of Tennessee (7-17). The 12 teams to advance are based solely on conference winning percentage. Georgia closes out the regular season by playing host to No. 20 Arkansas (29-18, 14-10 SEC) starting next Thursday.
Due to final exams, Georgia did not have any midweek games. The Bulldogs went 1-2 last week in the SEC, beating eighth-ranked Florida 11-1 behind the stellar pitching of junior David Sosebee (3-2, 2.38 ERA) in game one but UF rallied to take the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday. All three games were sold out at Foley Field. Meanwhile, the Wildcats (26-20, 11-12 SEC) dropped two of three to No. 6 Vanderbilt this past weekend. They face No. 3 Louisville Wednesday before Georgia visits. In the upcoming UK series, the first two games will be available online via SEC Network+ while Sunday’s action will be televised on the SEC Network. UGA leads the all-time series 118-86-1 in records dating back to 1950.
Bulldog sophomore centerfielder Stephen Wrenn (.321-7-25) blasted two home runs in the series versus No. 8 Florida to give him seven on the year and tie for the team-lead with junior catcher/first baseman Zack Bowers (.262-7-24). An All-SEC candidate, Wrenn has reached base safely in 45 of 47 games this season. He is one of the top defensive center fielders in the SEC and ranks among the league leaders in stolen bases with 23. In SEC action, Wrenn is batting .289-5-10 with 12 stolen bases. Wrenn hit a team-best .417 in the series versus the Gators. For the year, he has 140 putouts including three assists.
One of Georgia’s top pitchers this season has been two-way standout senior Jared Walsh. He is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 13 appearances including seven starts while batting .297-2-20 in 36 games including 34 starts as either a DH/1B/OF. In the 11-1 win over No. 8 Florida last Friday, Sosebee pitched eight innings with eight strikeouts, both career highs. Sosebee looks to be fully healed from a back injury that sidelined him for 22 days during the months of March/April. Also, Georgia’s pitching staff got a boost with the return of sophomore ace Robert Tyler (1-0, 3.94 ERA) as he started this past Sunday and tossed a planned 50-pitches. Tyler had been out since late February with a forearm strain. Tyler’s velocity was in the high 90s, his command was rusty plus the defense behind him didn’t help as he reached his pitch limit after just two innings. He allowed four runs, only one earned, on two hits, with three walks and one strikeout.
Junior LHP Ryan Lawlor (4-6 3.29 ERA) has been Georgia’s Saturday starter, and he’s been the most consistent in league play at 2-4, 3.83 ERA in 47 innings with 20 walks and 62 strikeouts. The top relievers have been senior right-handers Jared Cheek (2-2, 3.00 ERA, 5 SV) and Taylor Hicks (0-0, 1.80 ERA) along with freshman LHP Bo Tucker (1-1, 2.28 ERA).
Overall, Georgia is batting .265 with 35 home runs and 55 stolen bases. The Bulldogs have a 4.10 ERA and are fielding .970. UK is batting .294 with 24 home runs and 47 stolen bases. The Wildcats have a 4.48 ERA and are fielding .967. The Wildcats are 13-8 at home this year including 6-5 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are coached by Scott Stricklin while the Wildcats are led by Gary Henderson.
Georgia’s probable rotation for the UK series will feature junior RHP David Sosebee (3-2, 2.38 ERA) on Friday, junior LHP Ryan Lawlor (4-6, 3.29 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore RHP Robert Tyler (1-0, 3.94 ERA) on Sunday. UK likely will counter with sophomore RHP Zack Brown (4-5, 3.75 ERA), junior RHP Dustin Beggs (7-2, 2.88 ERA) and junior RHP Kyle Cody (3-4, 6.18 ERA).
Three current Bulldogs are graduating Friday, however they will be with the baseball team as they get set to face UK. Pitcher Taylor Hicks(Sport Management), catcher Brandon Stephens (Communication Studies) and pitcher Zach Waters (Agribusiness) have earned their degrees. Georgia’s other two seniors, pitchers Jared Cheek and Jared Walsh are on track to graduate next year.
Following the Bulldogs During The UK Series
TV: SEC Network+ (Friday & Saturday); SEC Network (Sunday: Mike Morgan, Landon Powell)
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;
Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA
Video Links For UK Series (May 8-10)
Fri. at 6:30 pm ET only on SEC Network+
Saturday at 2 pm ET only on SEC Network+
Sunday at Noon ET on SEC Network TV
On Deck: Spring Baseball Classic For Kids, May 12
For the 13th consecutive year, Georgia battles Ga. Tech at Turner Field in downtown Atlanta on May 12 for the Kauffman Tire Spring Baseball Classic for Kids. Fox Sports South will televise the game live at 7 p.m.
Georgia holds an 8-4 edge in the all-time series at Turner Field. Tech is the home team this year. Last year, Tech won 2-0 in front of a crowd of 21,310. All proceeds benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. More than 20,000 tickets are sold annually to this game at Turner Field making it one of the nation’s largest college baseball games each year. The record attendance for the Kauffman Tire Spring Baseball Classic for Kids is 28,836, and it was set May 11, 2004.
Tickets: General admission individual tickets are $12 and will be available only through Ticketmaster. Call 800-745-3000.