Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dawgs and Bama, PING!

Gwinnett Baseball Classic Preview

As of this posting, the weather doesn't look like it will cooperate much Wednesday evening. Hopefully the rain blows through before first pitch. And of course there's also some heavy hearts in and around Athens this week as we all send thoughts and prayers to Jonathan. Sounds like the surgery went well and he will be moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta later this week. 

And it wouldn't be very hospitable of me to not have some sort of preview to this game. So here it is. Hope you make it out if you are able to. It's a great place to watch a game and there's never a bad time to bark like a Dawg!

First, the teams:

Georgia Update

Overall the 2011 season has been disappointing at best. Perno’s squad has limped to a 3-8 mark with inexplicable losses to some smaller programs. However, the weekend series against FSU showed some promise. It may have only produced one win, but it displayed some signs of life in the team after getting blanked by Furman last Wednesday 3-0. The Diamond Dawgs kept each game against the Seminoles close against one of the nation’s top ranked teams.

Chase Davidson leads all Georgia batters with a .350 average, followed closely by Levi Hyams and Zach Cone. Not entirely sure who will start on the mound, but Chase Hawkins started last week's mid week game against the Paladins and did well until getting roughed up in the 5th. We may know more after tonight's game against Mercer. As a whole, the pitching staff should feel pretty good after holding the Seminoles to 15 total runs in the weekend series.

Player  avg gp-gs ab 2b 3b hr rbi tb slg% bb hbp so gdp ob% sf sh sb-att po fld% 
Chase Davidson  .350 11-11 40 14 23 .575 11 .422 1-1 .000 
Levi Hyams  .326 11-10 43 14 20 .465 .383 1-2 16 28 .917 
Zach Cone .316 11-11 38 12 13 .342 .366 2-2 32 1.000 
Curt Powell .294 11-10 34 10 10 .294 .351 0-0 21 1.000 
Jonathan Hester  .275 11-11 40 11 16 .400 .293 0-0 96 .990 
Kyle Farmer  .263 11-11 38 10 14 .368 .333 0-0 13 31 .898 
Johnathan Taylor  .182 11-10 33 .182 .263 1-1 18 1.000 
Peter Verdin  .172 11-9 29 .276 .250 1-1 17 1.000 
Joey Delmonico .333 9-7 21 .381 .318 0-0 32 .944 
Austin Wheeler  .333 2-0 .333 .333 0-0 .000 
Conor Welton  .250 5-0 .250 .400 0-0 1.000 
Brandon Stephens  .214 11-4 14 .286 .250 0-0 39 .978 
Lance Martin  .200 6-0 .200 .333 0-0 1.000 
Colby May .176 6-4 17 .235 .300 0-0 1.000 
Kevin Ruiz .000 2-1 .000 .000 0-0 1.000 
Carson Schilling  .000 2-0 .000 .000 0-0 1.000 
Totals  .269 11-11 368 45 99 17 39 130 .353 24 11 66 .328 6-7 285 115 15 .964 
Opponents  .291 11-11 378 68 110 15 59 140 .370 47 73 .376 22-26 288 115 11 .97

Alabama Update
Bama has a game at home today against Troy before travelling to Gwinnett. They're 7-4 heading into today's matchup after sweeping Northwestern State over the weekend. The good news is we aren't likely to see ace Tucker Hawley after he pitched a complete game shutout Sunday. My guess is we'll see Adam Morgan or Taylor Wolfe, whichever doesn't start tonight's game.

Offensively the Crimson Tide is led by junior Jared Reaves who has a .447 batting average and already has 16 RBIs on the young season. But if you can get around the top of the order the Tide as a whole are only batting marginally better than the Dawg thus far.

Coolray Field
Parking is plentiful, especially for this event. Unless this game is different, the cost to park is usually just a few bucks. Don't go cheap and park at Publix and walk down the highway, unless you're wearing a scripted A on your cap.

Tailgating is permitted, but don't expect to do anything similar to a Saturday in the Fall with your grill.

The dimensions are larger than Foley of course. It's 400 feet to dead center and 350 to right. However, it's only 335 to left here so that is a bit shorter than Foley.

All of the tickets are general admission that I've seen, but don't feel like there's a rush to get there real early. There's not a bad seat in the stadium. So just make sure you're there for first pitch.

Local Fare
When you get to Gwinnett, please spend money. Here’s some ways to do so:

If you’re not planning to chow down on food at the park (where there are plenty of options btw), there’s plenty of dining options for you. You have the standard mall locations just on the other side of I-85 at the Mall of GA (Chili’s, Longhorn’s, Chick-Fil-A, On the Border, etc..). But if you’re looking for something different than those cookie cutter places try Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant just past Coolray Field in the Publix shopping center. Good food, family friendly and very close to the park. Extra bonus in that you don’t have to deal with mall traffic.

If you are in the mood for Italian, I highly recommend Parma. It’s just past the Mall of GA on the left. It’s small (so look for Five Guys and you’ll be close) and the food is excellent. The parmesan fries are sinful and the menu has everything from delicious entrees to pizza and sandwiches. Another bonus, good selection of beers for a small Italian restaurant.

Unfortunately, our Tilted Kilt doesn't open until St. Patty's Day.

If you’re a Bama fan, there’s a decent Burger King across from the mall. When you’re done with your value meal, head north towards Buford until you hot I-985 then take that to Gainesville. The ball park is somewhere around there.

If the lady isn't interested in sitting in a soggy seat, leave her...at the Mall of GA that is. Plenty of stores inside and outside to keep her busy while you watch some baseball. And the mall parking lot is about 4.67 roided up Barry Bonds deep shots from the third base dugout.

I doubt it's much cheaper around these parts, but there's a Quik Trip and a RaceTrac just off the interstate. Why risk an empty tank?

Hope it's a good (dry) game. And I hope everyone, especially Dawg fans, have a great time. Remember to choose a designated driver if necessary. And if you see a guy in a Chance Veazey cap and wearing red....say Hey! You're the guy with the crappy blog!

Go Dawgs!

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