2006 CWS: Georgia faces Oregon St.

OMAHA - Josh Kendall breaks down Georgia's game with Oregon State. The Bulldogs must win to avoid being eleminated from the 2006 College World Series. Georgia Tech, Georgia's arch rival, was the first team knocked out today.

Georgia (47-22): The Bulldogs will start senior left-hander Mickey Westphal, Coach David Perno said. "He's a huge part of the reason we're here," Perno said. "Every time we needed a lift he gave us a lift. I'm hoping he can do it one more time." Westphal is 7-2 this year with a 5.08 ERA. He was Georgia's top SEC starter in the second half of the season, but he has slumped of late. Except for a victory against overmatched Sacred Heart, Georgia hasn't won a game Westphal started since May 12. He started the Bulldogs' opening Super Regional game and was shelled by South Carolina, giving up seven runs and seven hits in 12/3 inning.

"I wouldn't worry about that," Perno said. "Mickey's going to be fine." Westphal won't have much room for error.

At the first sign of trouble, Perno will go to one of three freshmen – Jason Leaver, Trevor Holder or Nathan Moreau. Perno has decided to shake up his batting order. He will drop shortstop Gordon Beckham from the No. 3 spot to No. 8 and move normal No. 5 hitter Bobby Felmy to the third spot. Catcher Jason Jacobs will bat fifth; designated hitter Matt Olson or Kyle Keen will bat sixth and third baseman Ryan Peisel will bat seventh. Beckham has had just three hits and two RBIs in the last six games. The Bulldogs held an afternoon workout at Creighton University on Sunday.

Oregon State (44-15): The Beavers are the only team in the field that also was in the 2005 College World Series, and they return 12 starters from that team. They will start junior right-hander Jonah Nickerson. He was a second-team preseason All-American, and he backed that up this year with a 2.50 ERA, 11-4 record and a team-high 112 strikeouts and three complete games. "I know he's their No. 1," Perno said. "He's got the best stuff and the best numbers. We definitely are going to have a tough test, but hopefully we are going to put some pressure on him early."

What's at stake: Both teams are one loss away from going home in the first baseball meeting between the two schools. That sense of urgency may be just what the Bulldogs need. They have won five straight elimination games in this year's NCAA Tournament. "Right now, we just have to stick with our plan, don't change anything up and play the ball we know how to play," Georgia center fielder Joey Side said. In its four previous trips to the CWS, Georgia has gone 0-2 twice. Oregon State went 0-2 last year.


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