Dawgs set to host Athens Regional

ATHENS – Some people may have been surprised to see Georgia's name among the eight national seeds for the NCAA baseball tournament, but David Perno wasn't one of them. "Not at all," the Bulldogs' fifth-year coach said. "I thought we played as well as anybody down the stretch, and we did it in the best conference in the country."

Georgia, the No. 7 seed, has won 17 of its last 20 games to come back from a 7-11 start in the SEC. (The NCAA seeds only the top eight teams for baseball and those teams are guaranteed to host Regionals and Super Regionals.)

"It's a tribute to these kids; they hung in there and stayed the course and just believed," Perno said. "Now we have to keep going that direction, and hopefully we'll have a postseason to remember."

Georgia (41-19) will play Sacred Heart today at 7 p.m. in the second game of the day in Foley Field. Florida State, the No. 2 seed in Athens Regional, will play Jacksonville at 4 p.m.

Perno doesn't want his team looking ahead to the Seminoles, but he clearly isn't too worried about 26-28 Sacred Heart.

"We should be in good shape," Perno said.

The winners of today's games will play Saturday in the double-elimination format, which may not be decided until Monday. If the Bulldogs advance from this weekend, they will host a Super Regional next weekend at Foley Field.

After that, it would be a second trip to the College World Series in three seasons for the Bulldogs.

Georgia's pitching rotation is set just how Perno wants it, with senior lefthander Mickey Westphal (6-1, 4.96 ERA) pitching tonight, junior righthander Brooks Brown (7-3, 3.86) for the second game and freshman lefthander Nathan Moreau (7-1, 4.90) for the third game.

That trio was deadly for the Bulldogs during the start of their winning streak, but fizzled some down the stretch, leaving the offense to pick up the slack. Georgia has given up 7.5 runs per game in its last nine outings.

"It's been a little tough the last couple weeks to hang in there," Perno said.

The Bulldogs' postseason experience from two years ago gives Perno faith his team can handle the pressures of this weekend.

"It's in the players hands, and I definitely trust them," Penro said. "I wouldn't trade them for anybody."

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