*Georgia begins year three of the Scott Stricklin era on Friday as the 2016 season opens at Foley Field against Georgia Southern (0-0) at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs swept a three-game set from Eastern Illinois in Athens to begin the 2015 season and finished 26-28. Back in 2014, the season opener in Athens was delayed a day due to snow and ice, and Georgia split a doubleheader with Ga. Southern. The Eagles claimed the series with a Sunday win.
Game one of the GSU-UGA series will be at 5 p.m. First pitch on Saturday and Sunday will be at 1 p.m. Friday and Sunday’s game will be available on SEC Network +. There is no television for Saturday.
Overall, the Bulldogs lead the series with the Eagles 47-34-1 as it dates back to 1972. However, GSU swept Georgia last year in Statesboro, winning three one-run games (4-3, 1-0 and 4-3).
*Georgia’s rotation for the opening series with the Eagles will feature junior RHP Robert Tyler on Friday and senior RHP Heath Holder on Saturday with Sunday’s starter TBA. Tyler is a preseason All-American according to Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America (BA). Also, BA rated Tyler No. 10 on its College Top 100 Draft Prospects list for 2016. In his UGA career, Tyler is 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 games including 18 starts. Holder will be making his first career start. A fifth-year senior, Holder began his career as a position player in 2012. He missed 2015 while recovering from elbow surgery. He has made 19 relief appearances and is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA in 20.2 innings.
GSU, under the direction of Rodney Hennon, will start junior LHP Evan Challenger (5-3, 2.03 ERA in 2015) on Friday. In games two and three, the Eagles will go with freshmen right-handers in Chase Cohen and Brian Eichorn.
*Georgia junior center fielder Stephen Wrenn has been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America (BA) and D1 Baseball.com. Also, BA ranked Wrenn No. 28 on its College Top 100 Draft Prospects list for 2016. Wrenn earned the Gordon Beckham MVP Award for the Bulldogs last year after pacing the team offensively at .324-8-28 plus ranked among the SEC leaders in stolen bases with 28. He has started 109 games in his career. However, Wrenn will miss the 2016 opening series due to an injury. He is slated to return later this month.
*For the first time in the modern era of Georgia Baseball, the Bulldogs have elected not to have team captains. Instead, the entire 34-man roster will share the responsibility of being captains.
*Georgia’s projected starting lineup for the GSU series will feature four freshmen. Michael Curry will handle the catching duties, freshman infielder LJ Talley likely will occupy second base,Logan Moody will patrol center field while first base will be a platoon between freshmen Patrick Sullivan and Adam Sasser.
It would mark the most Bulldog freshmen in an Opening Day Lineup since 2009 when UGA had five (Jonathan Taylor-LF; Colby May-3B, Chase Davidson-RF, Zach Cone-CF; Levi Hyams-2B) in a 15-2 win over Youngstown State.
The rest of the probable 2016 Opening Day lineup will be senior Nick King (SS), sophomore Mitchell Webb (3B), sophomore Keegan McGovern (LF), junior Skyler Weber (RF) and senior Daniel Nichols (DH).
*A gift from UGA swimming letterman and Atlanta philanthropist Tom Cousins has permanently endowed the UGA head baseball coaching position. The position now bears the name of Cousins’ father, Ike, a three-sport athlete, including baseball, at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. It is the first endowed head coaching position at UGA and will be known as the Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach.
*Baseball is the oldest varsity sport on the UGA campus dating back to 1886. The baseball team will begin its 129th season Friday. Georgia did not field a team during 1944 or 1945 due to World War II. Overall, Georgia sports a record of 2,169-1,676-24.
TV: SEC Network +: (Friday: Matt Stewart/Jason Jacobs; Sat.: None; Sunday: Jeff Dantzler/David Johnston)
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 GSU Series (Feb. 19-21)
Friday at 5 pm ET on SEC Network+
Sun. at 1 pm ET on SEC Network+
Note: Live streams of all the WatchESPN Networks are available at no additional cost to fans who receive ESPN as part of their TV subscription through participating TV providers.
To start watching: Download the WatchESPN app.; Select your TV provider when prompted; Enter your TV subscription username and password. For more information on What is Watch ESPN, click below: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/about
Foley Field Ticket Information
Gates open @ 3 pm. on Friday; @ 11 am on Saturday & Sunday
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
Friday, Feb. 19
*Free Opening Day t-shirt to the first 750 fans; Free Schedule Magnet to the first 1,000 fans
*UGA Students Run The Bases after the game
Sunday, Feb. 21
*Anthem Buddies: Kids can stand with the players during the National Anthem.
*Kids Run The Bases after the game
*Post-Game Autographs/Meet The Bulldogs
For more information on the Georgia Baseball, follow the team on:
Facebook: Georgia Baseball