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Georgia Sports Report: Bulldogs Reach Milestones in Track and Tennis, Gym Dogs Triumph at Senior Night While Diamond Dogs Fall in Ninth

For a day that was one hour shorter than normal, Sunday was a long one for the Georgia faithful and for me in particular. Due to obligations in Athens later in the day (about which more anon), I attended the early church service (which, due to the time change, effectively was an hour earlier than ordinarily is the case) and left for the Classic City shortly thereafter, returning in time for my son’s Upward basketball team dinner in the evening. Consequently, I was worn out by the time we got home, which is why this recap is literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short. Here is what went on in Bulldog Nation over the weekend:

A Georgia sophomore captured the Bulldogs’ first NCAA indoor track title: Torrin Lawrence received his second all-America certificate and won the national championship with a first-place time in the 400-meter dash at the NCAA indoor championships on Saturday. Lawrence defeated the Crimson Tide’s Kirani James by four-tenths of a second and posted the second-fastest time in NCAA finals history. The 45.23-second time was the third-best of Lawrence’s career. The Georgia underclassman earlier in the year clocked a 45.03, which was the best in the world for 2010. (Hat tip: kleph.)

The No. 9 men’s tennis team placed Manuel Diaz in select company: The Georgia men’s tennis team justified its top ten ranking by winning its seventh consecutive match. The victory extended the Bulldogs’ home winning streak to 71 and made coach Manuel Diaz the sixth Georgia coach in any sport to reach 500 career wins. Half of the Bulldog skippers to have reached that milestone did so on the tennis court, as Dan Magill accomplished that feat in men’s tennis (and went on to card 706 career victories) and Jeff Wallace did likewise in women’s tennis.

Gymnastics - Georgia Bulldogs 196.8, N.C. State Wolfpack 193.9: On senior night at Stegeman Coliseum, the Gym Dogs clinched their 24th straight home victory over N.C. State, the only unranked opponent Georgia faced this season. The Wolfpack were ranked 25th last week before falling out of the poll.

Courtney McCool, Marcia Newby, and Grace Taylor were among the five gymnasts competing in their final regular-season meet and they went out in style with their 100th career win. Georgia claimed the top scorer in all four events, with Kat Ding leading the way both on the bars (9.975) and on the vault (9.925), Hilary Mauro and Christa Tanella tying for the top spot on the beam at 9.85, and McCool finishing first in the floor exercise with a 9.975.

Baseball - Siena Saints 10, Georgia Bulldogs 9: The Diamond Dogs ended their weekend on a down note by dropping the final outing of their three-game set on Sunday afternoon. Jeff Walters surrendered six hits and five runs in the visitors’ half of the first frame before settling down and holding the Saints to five hits and two runs in the next four innings. Walters struck out six and walked only one.

The Red and Black responded with four runs in the first canto and two more in the second, aided by a Robert Shipman blast to straightaway center field. Colby May also went yard at the start of the sixth stanza and Cecil Tanner pitched Georgia out of a jam in a Nuke LaLoosh-style performance that saw him record three strikeouts while throwing well over the batter’s head more than once, but Siena designated hitter Gary DerHagopian’s three-run blast in the top of the ninth frame made the difference and allowed the Saints to avoid the sweep.

It was a good game in spite of the loss (and in spite of the cold) because we made a family outing of the afternoon. My wife, our son, our daughter, and I traveled to Athens to take in the game at Foley Field with my sister-in-law, her husband, and their two sons. While we were waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, my son asked several questions about Spud Chandler, Frank Foley, and Big Jim Whatley, whose legacies are commemorated with plaques and a statue outside the stadium. (Thomas also spotted a Volkswagen Beetle at the corner of Pinecrest Drive and Rutherford Street, at which point he socked me in the arm and said, "There’s a yellow one." Darn you, Super Bowl ad starring Stevie Wonder!)

We were behind the visitors’ dugout on the third-base side. I picked up a cap for a $20.00 contribution to the Prayers for Chance Fund. We learned that, for the low low price of $14.00, you can get a bucket of popcorn in a commemorative tub approximately large enough to use for bathing a baby. My kids not only attended their first college baseball game but also made it through nine full innings. A good time was had by all. If you’ve never been to a game at Foley Field, go.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Siena 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 10 15 1
Georgia 4 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 9 11 0

Go ‘Dawgs!