March 31, 2009
(Image: Baseball America)
In a performance worthy of folklore, Rich Poythress led the Diamond Dawgs to a clean sweep in Knoxville this past weekend. Poythress went 6-for-10 over the series with 4 HRs and 10 RBIs. It was quite a hitting display. For his efforts, Poythress was named both the SEC Player of the Week and the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week. The Dawgs are now 22-3 with seven straight SEC wins and are still No. 1 in most polls.
This week, however, will reveal some answers about UGA baseball. We've been consistent winners this year, but our schedule, to this point, has been mild. Only Mississippi State was a Top 25 team when we played them and none of our opponents are in the top 25 now. That will change tonight when Clemson comes to town for the first game of a midweek home-and-home series. The Tigers are hovering in the teens in most polls and have a solid team. Then, this weekend, another set of Tigers, the Cajun variety, come to Foley Field for an absolutely huge weekend series. LSU is in the top 5 in the national polls and have performed up to their storied history in the past couple of years. This is prime time for the Diamond Dawgs.
Despite the sweep in Knoxville, normally a place where UGA baseball teams go to fail, there is some significant room for improvement. Lefties Matt Cerione, Lyle Allen and Chase Davidson struggled against UT pitching. Those guys must be locked in this weekend since LSU has a complete staff of excellent right handed starters in Anthony Ranaudo, Louis Coleman, and Austin Ross. All of those guys have ERAs under 3.10. We'll need some production out of those big lefty bats.
Alex McRee has had two mediocre starts since returning from mono. In Saturday's game, he gave up only a single hit, but walked six over four and a third innings. He also had 5 Ks, but you can't keep pitching out of jams against good teams. Eventually a clutch hitter is going to burn you. McRee has to tighten up his control because his stuff is still there.
Three of five this week would be great, especially if two are against LSU. Get out to Foley Field tonight and this weekend.