Dawgs' Outfield the Anchor

******************************** Don't Miss the Best Coverage of Georgia at the CWS on Dawg Post.com ******************************** ATHENS – It didn't surprise David Perno late Monday night when he looked to his left and saw his starting outfielders sitting there beside him.

The Bulldogs had just earned a berth in the College World Series thanks to a seven-run, seventh inning in an 11-6 victory over South Carolina.

All seven RBIs in that inning belonged to the three players sitting next to Perno that night as he addressed the media – left fielder Jonathan Wyatt, center fielder Joey Side and right fielder Bobby Felmy.

"They've been our strength from Day 1," Perno said. "The coaches said it, the players said it, everybody said it. Our outfielders are our guys."

As a group, the starters are hitting .338 with 25 home runs, 142 RBI and 27 stolen bases this season.

"We just believe in each other," said Felmy, a senior. "We're all a unit, but us outfielders are kind of our little thing."

Individually, Side is the star. He has set the Bulldogs' single-season record for hits this year (110), and he leads the team in doubles (20) and triples (9). He's second in batting average (.359), home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.611).

Wyatt, a junior who leads the team with a .362 average, has hit .391 since moving to the leadoff spot, and the Bulldogs are 23-6 in that stretch.

"He's the best leadoff hitter I've seen here," Felmy said. "He just battles and battles and battles. He'll go 0-2 (in the count) just so we can see some pitches. He understands his role in the leadoff spot."

Felmy is the team's emotional catalyst and has upped his production at the plate when it counted the most. He's had two home runs and five RBIs in the last two games, both of which were elimination games against South Carolina.

"Gosh, it's amazing," Perno said. "Those guys are so good."

They're not bad in the field, either. All three have fielding percentages better than 94 percent, and they seemingly get to every ball that stays on their side of the fence in Foley Field's cavernous outfield.

"Those guys track down balls," sophomore pitcher Joshua Fields said. "It's unbelievable the jumps that they get, how they get to balls that, once they are hit, you know they are going to drop in. Then, all of a sudden, someone will come in and make a diving catch."

Perno added, "Our outfielders have made more plays than any outfield in the country."

Perno gives volunteer assistant coach Jason Eller credit for the development of Georgia's starting outfielders. Eller works with the outfield on everything from defensive positioning to hitting.

"He has been with me through thick and thin," Perno said. "I am just so happy for him because that's been his group. That's been his core guys for three years now."

In two of those seasons, the Bulldogs have been to the College World Series. All the while, with the outfielders right beside their coach.


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