As I noted earlier, I was rooting for the Bulldogs to beat the Braves in an exhibition baseball game on Wednesday afternoon, but, alas, it was not to be.
The Atlanta National League professional baseball franchise defeated the Diamond 'Dawgs by a 10-1 margin in the Sunshine State, although the day was not altogether without promising signs for the Red and Black.
Iain Sebastian, a freshman taking the mound for the first time in a Georgia uniform, faced the daunting task of pitching against a major league squad that boasts a string of division crowns dating back to 1991. (Actually, that claim is rendered somewhat dubious by the fact that the Braves were not leading their division when the players' strike cut short the 1994 season, but reasonable sports fans may differ over how many wins in a row a dominant team may claim against its inferiors.)
Sebastian recorded three strikeouts in two innings of work, including one of Chipper Jones. When Sebastian left the game, the two teams were tied with one run apiece.
Although Atlanta pulled away from the collegiate squad with a five-run sixth inning, the Diamond 'Dawgs took a 1-0 lead in the first when a sacrifice fly by junior Joey Side turned senior Kyle Keen's leadoff double into the game's first run. (By the way, you wouldn't want to be the guy stuck with the responsibility for introducing me to Kyle Keen.)
The moral victory of a first-inning lead reminded me of the 1992 Georgia-Georgia Southern game, when, with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first quarter, G.S.U. signal-caller Charles Bostick scampered 40 yards on an option play, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead between the hedges.
54 seconds later, a 75-yard run by Garrison Hearst tied the score at a touchdown apiece and the rout was underway. The Bulldogs won the game by a 34-7 final margin . . . but Georgia Southern fans got to brag that they held a lead on Georgia in Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs' baseball exhibition against the Atlanta Braves produced a similar result. The contest was not close, but the Red and Black struck first, which ought to provide the Diamond 'Dawgs with a confidence boost heading into the meat of one of the toughest schedules in the N.C.A.A.