CWS Day Three: Opinions & Observations

OMAHA – Read Dean Legge's opinions and observations from the NCAA's 2006 College World Series. Legge also talks about Georgia's trip to Omaha and their play as well as the goings on in and around Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Bulldogs spent Friday touring Offutt Air Force, which is Georgia's local sponsor. The trip was quite different than a normal tourist trip to Omaha. The team ate dinner with airmen from Georgia stationed out here. Starting pitcher Brooks Brown was allowed to shoot a high-power Air Force gun, but that was just the start of the fun. Third baseman Ryan Peisel dressed up in a full-body safety suit and allowed Air Force attack dogs to have their way with him during the trip. All members of the team and traveling squad were allowed to fly the fight simulator, where they batted about .500 in landing the plane successfully.

The local Omaha newspaper, the World-Leader asked center fielder Joey Side several questions two of which stood out to me. When asked which song he would sing on Fox's American Idol Side said: AC/DC's Back in Black. When asked which college mascot annoys him most side said, "The yellow jacket." Oregon State outfielder Cole Gillespie's response is a popular one amongst Georgia fans, too. Which mascot annoys Gillespie most? "That stupid Gator."

The reaction of the Georgia players following the loss to Rice was in contrast to that of Georgia Tech's. The Bulldogs, having been in an elimination situation nearly all of the post-season, seemed understanding of their situation in Omaha, while the Yellow Jackets seemed very disgusted with their outcome. Some of that attitude might have something with the way both teams lost, too. Georgia Tech allowed eight runs in the eighth inning in their 8-4 loss to top seed Clemson.

The consensus in the press box was that the winner of the Georgia-Rice game would be the one that would wind up in the championship series next weekend. Rice is now the team in the driver's seat with regard to the Dawgs' side of the draw. They play Miami tomorrow. Georgia's long road back to the championship weekend would have to include a win over Oregon State tomorrow, then a win over the loser of Monday's Miami-Rice game and then two wins over the winner of the Miami-Rice game.

Only once before, in 2001, did Georgia drop its first game of the CWS. That season the Bulldogs were swept out of the CWS by Southern Cal and then Tennessee.

Head Coach David Perno did not know after the game if the Bulldogs would practice on Sunday or not. He decided late Saturday night that they would practice. The Bulldogs will do so at Omaha's Creighton University.

The Bulldogs are now 35-21 in all NCAA Tournament Games. The last time a team lost their first CWS game and came back to win the championship was in 1998. Southern Cal lost to LSU, and then beat Florida, Mississippi State and LSU twice before beating Arizona State 21-14 in the championship game.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We should have spit on them, and taken the walks." – Centerfielder Joey Side talking about Rice starter Eddie Degerman's curveballs. Degerman is an All-American pitcher for the Owls, but he had trouble locating pitches at times against the Bulldogs. Georgia had the bases loaded twice during the game, but stranded seven runners. That means the Dawgs have stranded 86 runners in nine NCAA Tournament games.


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