As the worst baseball season in Georgia history limps to its sorry conclusion, we find ourselves in a position to count down to the end of the spring. Just seven games remain in the 2010 campaign, and the year’s last midweek contest will take place at Foley Field on Tuesday night.
The good news is that the game is against Georgia State. The bad news is that the Panthers are better than you think they are. GSU gave the Red and Black all they could handle a year ago, and this year’s edition of the Atlanta ball club has put up some impressive offensive numbers.
Through May 2, the Panthers ranked first in Division I in batting average (.373) and runs per game (11.7), second in hits (621) and runs (527), and fifth in home runs (77). That bodes well for Georgia State heading into a showdown with a Georgia pitching staff that ranked 249th in hits allowed per nine innings (12.48), 275th in walks allowed per nine innings (5.43), and 279th in earned run average (8.57) at the same juncture. That juncture, it should be noted, antedated the Classic City Canines’ recent misadventures of the 28-hit, 25-run and 15-hit, 14-run varieties.
The Bulldogs have shown particular susceptibility to the stolen base this season. Through yesterday, the Athenians had allowed 85 steals in 99 attempts without so much as a single successful pickoff. Every stolen base attempted against Cooper Moseley, Justin Earls, Malcolm Clapsaddle, Ben Cornwell, Zach Laughlin, and Patrick Boling has succeeded, while the rest of the staff has allowed steals at least as often as not. Only two of 20 tries against Justin Grimm, one of 19 against Michael Palazzone, three of ten against Chase Hawkins, one of nine against Alex McRee, three of six against Jeff Walters, two of six against Blake Dieterich, one of three against Eric Swegman, and one of two against Alex Wood have failed.
The Panthers opened the season by being swept in Tallahassee, where Florida State outscored Georgia State by a 37-12 margin over three games. After dropping a 3-2 decision at Kennesaw State, the Panthers beat the Owls by ten runs in Panthersville a week later. In a clash of Atlanta-based outfits, Georgia Tech beat Georgia State 14-3 on March 30. The last common opponent Georgia shares with GSU is Auburn, a team that delivered a 22-7 drubbing to the Panthers on the Plains in early April.