2003 - no postseason
2004 - College World Series participant
2005 - no postseason
2006 - College World Series participant
2007 - no postseason
On paper, the Dawgs have the ability to get back to Omaha and uphold the trend, but the schedule is rough. The strength of the team is a veteran weekend pitching rotation of Stephen Dodson, Nathan Moreau, and Trevor Holder. All three have SEC starting experience and have shown they can pitch in the league. Jason Leaver and Nick Montgomery, if healthy, should provide quality depth. Both can start and both can relieve.
The big hammer for the Georgia staff is Joshua Fields. After a dazzling 2006, Fields took a serious step back last year, blowing six saves. He pitched well at times, but was not the consistent lights out closer of 2006 and 2005. Look for Fields to be back to his usual dominant form this season. Baseball America named Fields to their preseason All-American team, even if it was the third team. Plus, it sounds like Fields will get some at bats as a designated hitter this season.
The offense will be anchored by shortstop Gordon Beckham, a first-team preseason All-American. Beckham hit for power and average last year, belting 13 home runs, 19 doubles, and knocking in 51 runs. The steady Ryan Peisel and outfielder Matt Olson will back up Beckham at the plate.
There is also a mystery to keep your eye on this year, too. Texas transfer Michael Demperio will start at second base for the Dawgs. Demperio was a high school phenom who spurned a host of schools to sign with the Horns. His first season was a struggle though and he is now back home in Georgia. He was a heralded hitter in high school, but Demperio is also a great defensive player. He and Beckham should be fun to watch and make up one of the league's best defensive middle infields. The question is can he hit college pitching?
The schedule is a beast, especially early. This weekend, the Dawgs open at Foley Field against preseason #2 Arizona. Then, they play the Braves next week. Then they go to two-time defending national champion and preseason #7 Oregon State the next weekend. If we can come out of those two weekend series at 3-3, we'll be looking fine. Other nonconference games of note include Clemson and the Georgia Tech games. This is all before the SEC schedule which features conference preseason favorite Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Ole Miss.
The Dawgs have the players to make it to the postseason. Our baseball team has been inconsistent for sure, but there are abundant promising signs at Foley Field. Rivals.com says we shouldn't stink too bad and our early signing period recruiting class was awesome. Like basketball, there is no reason that we can't be a consistent conference power, if not national power. Unlike basketball, though, the baseball team should make it to the postseason this year.