Dawgs Get Going... Slowly

ATHENS – From the start, things didn't go all that smoothly in the Georgia baseball home opener.

The grounds crew over-watered the area around the mound, causing the game to start 15 minutes late. Relief pitcher John Herman had a pitch roll out of his hands mid-delivery. Jonathan Taylor fell face first running out to the field before the eighth inning.

But the game action itself ended up fine for Georgia, a 6-4 win over Furman, which will take it after the way things have gone lately.

The Bulldogs were coming off a three-game sweep at Stetson to open the season. Following last year's abysmal season (16-37) it wasn't a good way to set a different tone.

The home opener started badly too, with Furman grabbing a 3-1 lead in the third inning. But the Bulldogs answered right away and Levi Hyman's two-run homer gave them the lead in the fourth.

"We all kind of took a step back, took a deep breath and were like, ‘All right, we're OK,'" Hyman said of the team's reaction after falling behind again. "I think I kind of speak for the team when I say we didn't panic. That was kind of the sense we had last year that we had. It was kind of like, ‘Great, they went up three, crap.' This year is different. We kind of took a step back and said, ‘We can handle this.'"

Georgia head coach David Perno said he doesn't want the team becoming too obsessed with its record at this point of the season. But he almost handled it like a big game, using six pitchers, and yanking Cecil Tanner (the assumed bullpen stopper) when he walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

Perno also wasn't happy with two errors and a passed ball, since defense was supposed to be the team's strength. But he was content that the batters performed with runners in scoring position, and the bullpen got some important stops.

"I told them we're not gonna get concerned with our win-loss record. It could overwhelm us with the schedule we play," Perno said. "We want to play quality baseball and that's why we're a little bit disappointed in the errors that showed up and the way we pitched in the seventh inning. Cecil, there's greater expectations for him this year."

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