The number of fans at Foley Field may be limited this spring, but that fact won’t change that the annual rite of spring...or pre-spring starts this weekend with the Diamond Dawgs taking the field.
Georgia, ranked as high as 12th in preseason rankings, welcomes Evansville this weekend for a four-game set, starting Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
One of many downsides of last season being cut short was that Georgia’s Omaha-caliber pitching staff, led by high draft picks Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox, never got a chance to try and lead Georgia back to Omaha.
If Georgia’s pitching staff carries it to Omaha this year, it’ll be a young crop doing so.
As the season starts, senior All-American selections Ryan Webb and Johnathan Cannon will be sidelined with injury, opening the door to some freshmen to show what they can do. Further creating a chance for the freshmen arms is the fact that Will Childers and Garrett Brown are out for the year.
This weekend’s starting rotation is expected to be senior CJ Smith, true freshmen Jaden Woods and Luke Wagner, and redshirt freshman Charlie Goldstein. Liam Sullivan and Ben Harris have also gotten looks at starting slots, so they’d likely figure in for weekend duty or mid-week spots as the season goes along.
As young as Georgia’s pitching staff is entering the year, the batting order carries its share of experience. Last year’s leading hitter, Ben Anderson, is back, having hit .414 in last year’s shortened season. Also back will be catcher Mason Meadows and infielder/outfielder Riley King, both of whom also have experienced overall as they’ve already earned their degree.
With Garrett Blaylock, second on the team in homers last year back, there’s a case to be made that this team could be as hitting-heavy as it has been pitching-heavy the last few years.