UGA baseball team prepares to put opening series behind as it hosts Kennesaw State

The Georgia baseball team reverted back to some bad habits as it came out of the starting gate last week.

UGA baseball team prepares to put opening series behind as it hosts Kennesaw State
Roger Clarkson

The Bulldogs hope to put the bad beginning behind them as they open their home schedule today.

“It was definitely a down weekend,” Georgia third baseman Curt Powell said. “But you try not to think about it too much about it. We’ve got a lot of you guys and we’ve got a lot of older guys. We’ve still got to knock some cobwebs off. But we’re going to practice hard this week and get back on the grind.”

Georgia (1-2) will play Kennesaw State (3-0) at 5 p.m. today in the home opener at Foley Field. Georgia comes off of losing two of three at Georgia Southern over the weekend. Georgia will most likely start freshman right-hander David Gonzalez (0-0). Kennesaw State’s starter has yet to be determined.

“It was just opening-weekend jitters,” Georgia second baseman Nelson Ward said. “Friday we went out energetic and ready to play, and we had a big win then. Now we have to climb down and know our roles and try to get us a win.”

Georgia’s offense might have been the biggest disappointment of the opening series. The Bulldogs scored five runs in the second inning of the first game and five more runs the rest of the three-game series.

“I think we were a little too excited and we tried to do to much,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “To their [Georgia Southern’s] credit, they threw a lot of strikes, and they threw balls when we they knew we were going to swing. I think everybody’s really frustrated because we got out of what we’ve been doing. We tried to do too much instead of taking what we’re given.”

Georgia’s biggest sins of the weekend came with swings and misses. The team struck out 28 times in 27 innings against Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs drew four walks, so patience at the plate wasn’t something Georgia demonstrated in the opening series.

“The only thing that really frustrated me offensively is the amount of strikeouts to the amount of walks,” Perno said. “That’s not a good ratio, and that’s something we much more prepared for than we performed, especially against left-handers. We were passive in situations we should have been aggressive. We just got to two strikes way too much. We were in bad positions offensively because we tried to do too much. We were always behind in the count and we just didn’t have the approach that we needed to have in those two-strike situations and we were there too much.”

Ward had a solid start at leadoff as he batted .500 with one RBI and two runs scored in the first weekend. But he also struck out a team-high four times and walked once.

“We might have just gotten too hyped up,” Ward said. “We weren’t playing within ourselves. We got outside of ourselves and didn’t play the way we were supposed to. That could be one thing. But we have to climb down and play like we know how to.”

TODAY’S GAME

Kennesaw State at Georgia

When: 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Where: Foley Field.

Radio: WRFC 960-AM.

Online: Premium portion of georgiadogs.com.

Records: Georgia is 1-2, Kennesaw State is 3-0.

Rankings: Georgia is unranked; Kennesaw State is unranked.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Georgia: David Gonzalez, 0-0, 0.00 ERA; Kennasaw State: TBA.

Players to Watch: Kennesaw State: Jacob Bruce and Bo Way are both batting .417 with one home run. Bruce has five RBIs and Way has three RBIs. … Kal Simmons is batting .364 with five RBIs and has scored three runs. Georgia: Nelson Ward is batting a team-high .500 with two runs scored. … Daniel Nichols has a team-high two RBIs. … Jared Walsh struck out the side to pick up the save in Georgia’s opener against Georgia Southern.

Series record: Georgia leads 7-4 in games since 1950.

Last meeting: Georgia won 3-2 in 2012 in Lawrenceville’s Coolray Field.

Season at a glance: Georgia dropped two of three at Georgia Southern last weekend. Kennesaw State swept Jacksonville State last weekend.

Noteworthy: Kennesaw State has beaten Georgia twice in since 2010. … Jared Walsh hit a home run and had a save in the Georgia Southern series. … Freshman David Gonzalez will make his Georgia debut today. … Georgia freshmen Daniel Nichols and Zack Bowers each hit home runs against Georgia Southern. …Georgia allowed nine first-inning runs in three games against Georgia Southern. … Kennesaw State has two players from Winder-Barrow — starting catcher Max Pentecost and infielder Dylan Ivey. … Kennesaw State drew nine walks and only struck out 10 times in three games last weekend.

Follow marcweiszer

marcweiszer

RT @chris_starrs: UGA’s Christian Payne saw his first playing time last week against Arkansas. http://t.co/eFBPVIEFWV

3 hours ago