Daily Dawg Thread: May 04, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: May 04, 2024

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BSB: Dawgs run rule Vandy to kick off series, 10-0

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

Leighton Finley and Brian Zeldin combined on a three-hit shutout as 18th-ranked Georgia posted a 10-0 run-rule win in seven innings over No. 13 Vanderbilt Friday at Foley Field in front of a crowd of 4,027.

Fast Facts

 

 

 

 

• Redshirt sophomore Charlie Condon smacked his NCAA-leading 31st home run to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first and extended his hitting streak to 16 games. It marked his fifth straight game with a home run. He has 56 career home runs in 101 games.

• Graduate Paul Toetz (3-for-4, 3 RBI) enjoyed a fine night including a three-run home run in the fifth that gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 advantage. Junior Slate Alford smacked a two-run home run to make it 10-0 in the sixth.

• Sophomore right-hander Leighton Finley tossed six shutout innings with 11 strikeouts, both career-highs in earning a victory to improve to 4-1.

 

 

 

 

• Georgia scored at least one run in all six innings it batted.

• The Bulldogs posted their third shutout of the year and first against an SEC opponent. It was the first SEC shutout since Liam Sullivan tossed one to beat Kentucky 3-0 last year in seven innings.

Leighton Finley

Key Quotes

Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Wes Johnson

“We had a really good practice yesterday, the energy was high, and I told our staff that we needed that to carry over today. Vanderbilt is a really good club, they have two national championships under their belt. Tonight was really good. Leighton (Finley) got us off to a good start. He dealt with a little adversity in the first. After that, it was lights out. Charlie (Condon) starting if off there in the first, and you can’t forget the play that Dylan Goldstein made in the top of the first. Paul Toetz had a really good night, and that ball Slate (Alford) hit there late was big too. We struck out only three times and put pressure on there guys on the mound.”

Paul Toetz, LF

“I feel like with this team, we are really, really focused. That’s why we are having such a good year…that approach of taking it one game at a time…We know that teams are going to come in and throw a lot of balls to get us to chase, and we’ve worked a lot on that the whole year and obviously, that’s a game changer.

Leighton Finley, RHP

“My confidence level is definitely going up, I’m starting to get more in tune with my body and really get the pitches going including being able to get ahead in the count and execute.  I was able to execute my slider tonight. I’ve been struggling with that, but it went really well tonight.”

Up Next

Georgia (33-12, 11-11 SEC) returns to SEC action Saturday when it plays host to No. 13 Vanderbilt with first pitch set for 2:02 p.m. ET. The game will be available on SECN+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

Metal Detectors At Foley Field Saturday & Sunday

• Please be advised there will be a product demonstration of metal detectors at Foley Field for fans coming to the remainder of the Vanderbilt series. 

• We encourage fans to arrive early to avoid delays.  We appreciate your understanding.

• This demonstration is being conducted in consultation with UGA Police Department and will showcase new technology at the three primary entry gates.  

• The facility’s clear bag policy will still be in effect, and event staff will be present to help navigate fans where necessary to ensure a smooth entry process into the stadium. 

• This is a continuation of our commitment to maintain a safe and secure game day environment. 

Box Score

Video Highlights


Tennis: Women roll by Alabama State, Men’s season ends vs. Arizona State

Women

The No. 7 Georgia women’s tennis team opened up its 2024 NCAA Tournament campaign in style with a 4-0 first round victory over Alabama State at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on Friday.

Fast Facts

• The win marks Georgia’s seventh sweep in the last eight matches.

• Mell Reasco and Anastasiia Lopata continue their nine-match winning streak in doubles, defending their undefeated record as partners on court three.

• The Dawgs took the first set on all six courts in singles.

• With this win, Georgia now owns an all-time tournament record of 94-34, moving into the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Key Quote

Head Coach Drake Bernstein: “Yeah, we’re expecting a battle like we do every day. For preparations, it’s been the same all year. It’s your ice bath, get your dinner, get a good night’s rest, and be ready to go for another challenge.”

Up Next

Georgia will take the court on Saturday, May 4 at 1 p.m. ET, where it will face off against No. 20 Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament with a spot in the Super Regional up for grabs.

Men

Five Fast Facts

• This marked the final match of legendary head coach Manuel Diaz’s career as he will enter retirement following the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournament which begins on May 20. Diaz ends his career with a 781-206 record, good for the most wins in Southeastern Conference history, going 101-30 in the NCAA Tournament. Associate Head Coach Jamie Hunt will follow Coach Diaz as the third head coach in the modern history of the program.

• Georgia closed out the year winning the doubles point in 12 of the final 13 matches in which the competition was played.

• Ryan Colby and Thomas Paulsell clinched the point in the doubles competition, marking the second time this season they have done so. They cap off the year with an 11-4 record together and were ranked in three ITA doubles polls during April. 

• Filipe Costa won his match against Constantinos Koshis, 6-2, 6-3 on court six, marking his sixth victory of the dual match season, all of which came in straight sets. 

• No. 68 Colby took his match on court two in straight sets over No. 64 Bot Artnak, marking the 10th ranked win of the year for the junior. The Alexandria, Va. native finished with nine in the regular season, which ranked third in the conference. 

Key Quote

“Our team fought so hard,” said Coach Diaz. “We just could not get that last point even though things looked good for most of the competition. Our inexperience was our Achilles heel all year, but I never had one of our kids quit on themselves or the team. Our guys did everything that was asked of them. Our culture is intact. This difficult lesson will serve them well next year and beyond.”

“I can’t wait to watch them next year,” said Coach Diaz. “When you lose five seniors from last year’s team and three of your top players on top of that, you have a big challenge. These boys stepped up to the challenge every time. I am so proud of them.” 

Up Next  

While Georgia’s dual match season has come to an end, three Bulldogs will be competing in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournaments. No. 34 Paulsell, who was named to the All-SEC Second Team, earned an at-large bid into the singles field while No. 22 Freddy Blaydes and Niels Ratiu did so in the doubles field. No. 68 Colby was named the seventh alternate in the singles draw.


GYM: Oleksii Koltakov and Marissa King have been named assistant coaches for Georgia gymnastics

Oleksii Koltakov and Marissa King have been named assistant coaches for Georgia gymnastics, co-head coaches Ryan Roberts and Cecile Canqueteau-Landi announced Friday. 

“When we started this search, we knew the qualities we were looking for in assistant coaches,” Roberts said. “We knew we wanted the absolute best for the team. We also knew we wanted to get the team’s input on what kind of characteristics they were looking for in their future coaches. They mentioned wanting coaches that make them feel valued, heard, and that will help them find joy in the process. They wanted a good vault technician and ‘pump up person’. We found all the qualities the team asked for and more in Marissa King and Oleksii Koltakov. Marissa and Oleksii are the perfect coaches to round out this staff. They are great people, excellent technicians, and passionate about helping their athletes be the best they can be in all spheres of life.”

Koltakov has spent the last two seasons as assistant coach at Nebraska, and previously worked with Roberts at Alabama.  He helped the Huskers to two postseason berths and the 10th-best floor score in school history, tallying a 49.500 on the event, in 2023.  He was also named the WCGA Co-Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 2023.  At Alabama he helped lead the Crimson Tide to the 2021 SEC Championship title and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. In 2022, Koltakov coached Alabama to a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships and the NCAA Finals. 

“I worked with Oleksii when I coached at the University of Alabama, the year we won SECs, and we worked very well together,” Roberts added. “He’s a brilliant technician. When we departed Alabama, I had a feeling that wasn’t the last time we would work together but I didn’t know it would be in such an amazing context as this.”

King, a 2008 Olympian for Great Britain in Beijing, has also spent the last two seasons at Nebraska, first as a volunteer assistant coach and then was promoted to assistant coach for the 2024 season.  One of the most decorated collegiate gymnasts, King competed for the University of Florida (2010-13). She was the national champion on vault in 2011 and finished her career as an 11-time All-American. King led the Gators to three SEC Championships (2010, 2012, 2013) and the program’s first NCAA Championship in 2013. She also earned All-SEC honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

“Marissa is super passionate about what she does,” Roberts continued. “Her enthusiasm is contagious, and even rubs off on me. We’ll lean on her this season for choreography and getting the team ready for beam and floor. She’s the pump up person the team wanted.”

“The future is bright for the University of Georgia GymDogs,” Roberts said. “With this staff and current team of amazing athletes, I am very confident that we have the building blocks for some tremendous growth in the coming years.  I am grateful to Marissa and Oleksii for joining Cecile and I on this journey.”


MBB: RJ Godfrey signs with Georgia

Photo: Georgia Sports Communications

Georgia native RJ Godfrey, a two-time first-team All-State player at North Gwinnett High School in 2021 and 2022, has signed a letter-of-intent to join the Georgia Bulldogs next season, head coach Mike White announced on Friday. Godfrey will be a junior after playing two seasons at Clemson.

A 6-8, 228-pound forward, Godfrey averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 59.4 percent from the field in 36 games played for Clemson last season. After averaging 5.8 ppg in the first 32 games of the season, he contributed 8.3 ppg in the Tigers’ run to the “Elite Eight” of the NCAA Tournament. 

Godfrey notched nine double-digit scoring outputs, led by a career-high 19 points against Queens University, and grabbed a career-most 10 rebounds versus TCU. Godfrey scored 12 points on a 5-of-7 performance from the floor and a 2-of-2 effort at the line in Clemson’s “Elite Eight” matchup with Alabama. As a freshman, Godfrey contributed 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 33 outings with the Tigers.

Godfrey was a standout at North Gwinnett, helping the Bulldogs win three Region championships and reach the quarterfinals of Georgia’s Class 7A state tournament in 2020, 2021 and 2022. He was named first-team All-State by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as both a junior and a senior and was tabbed 2022 Gwinnett Country Player of the Year by the Gwinnett Daily Post. Among North Gwinnett’s career statistical leaders, Godfrey finished his career ranked No. 2 in points, No. 1 in rebounds, No. 1 in blocks, No. 3 in steals and No. 6 in assists.

Godfrey was tabbed as one of the nation’s top-50 small forwards in the Class of 2022 by Rivals.com (No. 38) and ESPN.com (No. 44). 

Godfrey is the son of Georgia football legend Randall Godfrey, one of the greatest linebackers to ever play for the Bulldogs. He was a four-year starter and earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 1992 followed by All-SEC accolades in 1993 and 1994. Godfrey was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft and went on the play 11 seasons with Cowboys (1996-99), Tennessee (2000-02), Seattle (2003), San Diego (2004-06) and Washington (2007). All told, Godfrey started 149 of 170 career games in the NFL and recorded 649 tackles. He was named second-team All-Pro in 2000.

Godfrey is the sixth addition to the Bulldogs’ roster for the 2024-25 season, joining two prep prospects and four players from the transfer portal. 

The high school players are Asa Newell and Somto Cyril. Newell is a 6-10, 215-pound power forward from Destin, Fla., who was ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect in the 247Sports.com composite ledger for Class of 2024 prep prospects. Cyril is a 6-10, 252-pound center originally from Enugu, Nigeria, who has played with the Overtime Elite program in Atlanta for the past two seasons. He is ranked as high as the No. 42 recruit nationally by On3.com.

Georgia has also signed transfers Frank Abson, Dakota Leffew and De’Shayne Montgomery. Abson is a 6-9, 235-pound forward from Pompano Beach, Fla., who was named the 2024 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year after finishing No. 4 nationally in blocked shots last season at Appalachian State. Leffew is a 6-5, 185-pound guard from Jonesboro, Ga., who earned first-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) honors last season as a senior at Mount St. Mary’s. Montgomery, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who won 2024 MAAC Rookie of the Year accolades also playing for Mount St. Mary’s during 2023-24.

The 2024-25 campaign will be the Bulldogs’ third under head coach Mike White. During his first season, Georgia improved its regular-season win total by 10 victories, the second-largest increase of any Power conference program. Last season, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the NIT en route to their first 20-win season since 2016. 

For information on purchasing new season tickets for the Bulldogs click here.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.