2006 Super Regional: Dawgs turn focus to USC

ATHENS – Five Georgia baseball players were selected in the Major League baseball draft in the last two days. It's another point of pride for the Bulldog program. "Every kid that has come into our program and was drafted before they came here gets drafted higher when they leave here," Georgia coach David Perno said.

"Kids that haven't been drafted get a chance to when they come here and play well. We're real happy with that."

Catcher Jason Jacobs (20th round, New York Mets) and outfielder Bobby Felmy (22nd round, San Francisco) on Wednesday joined pitcher Brooks Brown (first round, Arizona), outfielder Joey Side (sixth round, Arizona) and first baseman Josh Morris (12th round, Atlanta) as future pros. But, before those players start figuring up signing bonuses, there's a little season left.

"We're glad to get the draft out of the way," David Perno said. "I think these kids realize they've got the rest of their life to do the professional thing. They've just got one more shot to go to Omaha."

Omaha, Neb., is the site of the College World Series, where the winner of this weekend's NCAA Super Regional between Georgia (45-20) and South Carolina will go. The teams meet first on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Athens in a best-of-three series. Foley Field is already sold out for all three games.

"These guys deserve that," Perno said. "They've worked for it all year, and it's something they've talked about. They wanted to see people filling up the stands and hanging on the rafters and in right field, and they've earned it."

The first team to win two games will advance to the College World Series on June 17 in Omaha, Neb. There, the winner will join seven other teams for a round-robin tournament that will determine the national champion.

Just as in college basketball, where Final Four participation is how elite teams are measured, in college baseball, it's College World Series appearances. The Bulldogs are attempting to go for their second in three years, but it would be the first trip for starters such as Mickey Westphal, Matthew Dunn and Gordon Beckham.

"You want to make sure every kid that comes through your program, or as many as possible, get an opportunity to experience this," Perno said.

The Gamecocks (40-23) have experienced it three straight times, which makes them the barometer in the league, Perno said.

"They're just a great program," Perno said, "but we've just got to live how we've lived all season. It doesn't matter who or where. It's how we go about it."

That approach has worked well so far for Georgia, the NCAA's No. 7 seed, particularly against South Carolina. The Bulldogs are 4-0 this year against the Gamecocks, with three wins in Foley Field and another in the SEC Tournament, all in May.

Georgia will use the same pitching rotation – Mickey Westphal, followed by Brooks Brown, and, if needed Nathan Moreau – that swept the Gamecocks earlier this season. However, Perno isn't concerned about his team entering the weekend overconfident.

"The thing they are doing well is playing baseball, and they're playing baseball well together," he said. "They've got the opportunity to go out and do it another weekend, and if they play well, they're going to get to do it another weekend, and if they play well that weekend, hopefully they'll get to do it another weekend."

Dawg Post Top Stories