We briefly interrupt your March Madness fun with a few items of interest from around the Bulldog universe.
Only two Bulldogs teams have been in action since we last got up to speed -- baseball and softball -- and Georgia went 1-1 in the last two days.
The Furman Palladins were in Athens Tuesday night for a midweek non-conference game. First, my thanks to leedawg for watching the action for uss and reporting the progress, vel non, of the Diamond Dogs. Follow the length and scroll on down for some fine commentary on the game and the Diamond Dogs, generally. The Bulldogs wasted no time welcoming Furman. The first five Palladins to the plate reached base: (1) walk, (2) single, (3) single, (4) walk, and (5) single. Throw in a wild pitch, and the score was 3-0, Furman, before the first out. In spite of a third walk in the inning, pitcher David Gonzalez managed to escape with no further damage. The Dawgs got two of their own in the botom of the first to make it a one-run game, but the Palladins scored another in the second after their first batter was hit by a pitch and stole second to get into scoring position -- advancing with each of the next two outs to reach home. In spite of two more hits and a wild pitch, the Dawgs held them to just that one run. Both teams were scoreless over the next two and a half innings, but in the top of the fifth, Furman scored three more on three hits and an error, leaving two on base, to make it a 7-2 game. Georgia tried to mount a late rally. In the seventh, the Dawgs scored two on a Nelson Ward single, a Kyle Farmer triple, and a Hunter Cole sac fly; and in the eighth, Georgia added one more run after a Jared Walsh hit a lead-off single and was helped home by a wild pitch and a pair of ground outs, but couldn't overcome the deficit. Dawgs lose 7-5.
Your 8-13 (0-3 SEC) Bulldogs welcome 13-9 (2-1) Bama to Foley Field Friday through Sunday.
Diamond-related news wasn't all bad, though. Georgia's softball team (No. 23 ESPN/Coaches, No. 24 ESPN/USA Softball) hosted Gardner-Webb Wednesday and ran the Runnin' Bulldogs out of Athens 14-0. Georgia pitcher Geri Ann Glasco allowed no hits and struck out four in three innings and her reliever, Chelsea Wilkinson struck out five to close out the win. On the scoring side of the ledger, the Dawgs started fast, scoring five runs in the first on four hits, three of which were home runs, plus a walk. In the second, Georgia scored six more runs with the help of two more homers. Facing Gardner-Webb's third pitcher in the fourth, Georgia plated three more runs when Christine Olney hit a double with the bases loaded, giving us our final 14-run tally. Unable to mount anything resembling to a comeback, the visitors lost in a five-inning match.
The ladies (22-7, 3-0 SEC) return to the conference slate this weekend in a visit from Ole Miss (19-15, 1-5).
Georgia had no midweek matches to report, but Ben Wagland was named SEC Freshman of the Week following his 4-0 weekend. Wagland, who came to Athens from Sydney, has won all his matches three of the last four weekends and is 10-3 on the season in singles, 9-4 doubles. Not only does the future look bright, but Wagland and the other freshman are making critical contributions this season.
TRACK AND FIELD
The Conference office also recognized members of the UGA track and field team. Johnathan Smith was honored as SEC Men's Runner of the Week after clocking the nation's best 100-meter time (10.20) in his first outdoor meet as a Bulldog. Men's Freshman of the Week honors went to Ashinia Miller following his 62-6 shot put throw, which puts him in second place nationally. Morgann Leleux shared Women's Field Athlete of the Week for her NCAA-leading 14-1.25 pole fault. And Briana Vaughn brought home Women's Freshman of the Week honors after her 11.37 time in the 100-meter dash, second best in the nation, and her contributions to the Bulldogs' winning efforts in the "Gainey Special" and 4x200 relays last weekend.
Landers's Ladies start dancing this weekend in Spokane. Georgia, a 4-seed, will face 13-seed Montana Saturday night at 6:30 Athens Time (ESPN2). Mr. Sanchez has your early tournament preview covered.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
The women's NCAA Championships started today in Indianapolis, and as of press time, the Dawgs have made strong showings in the preliminaries as they try to add another team championship to the four in the UGA trophy case.
We make a rare mention of news from Between the Hedges here: as Dawg Haus brought to our attention yesterday, rising senior guard Chris Burnette is one of ten male finalists for the 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award. You may recall that Burnette, from my hometown of LaGrange (but a graduate of rival Troup County High School), was in the running for valedictorian of his high school class, and Coach Richt tried to make arrangements to attend Burnette's graduation but was thwarted by ridiculous recruiting rules. It's good to see that Burnette has continued his scholarly ways at the University, and we congratulate him for the accomplishment. You can tweet your regards @ChrisBurnette68.
As we mentioned Monday, it's another big weekend coming up. Men's tennis is at Vandy tomorrow and at Kentucky Sunday, while the women host the 'Dores and 'Cats. Both golf teams have tournament appearances. The gym squad will be in Arkansas Saturday for the SEC Championships.
That's all I can manage today. Chip in your own bits in the comments below. Until next time,