Georgia Bulldogs: Alex Wood

When the Atlanta Braves selected Alex Wood near the end of Tuesday’s second round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, he became the fourth Georgia player or signee picked in the draft’s first 85 picks.

It would be 514 picks before another Bulldog heard his name called -- when Levi Hyams went 599th overall in the 19th round, again to the Braves.

The senior second baseman was the first of two Georgia players or signees who were drafted on Wednesday. Kyle Farmer, who with Hyams formed one of the most consistent double-play combinations in school history, went to the New York Yankees 16 rounds later, 1087th overall.

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Georgia coach David Perno predicted before the draft that baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement would help the Bulldogs keep some of the top talent in their highly touted signing class.

From that perspective, so far, so good.

It was a no-doubter that the Bulldogs would lose signee Byron Buxton, who went second overall to Minnesota. Two more signees, third baseman Joe DeCarlo and outfielder/pitcher Duane Underwood, went early in the second round -- DeCarlo with the 64th overall pick to the Seattle Mariners and Underwood minutes later at No. 67 to the Chicago Cubs.

With 15 rounds complete, the only other UGA player or signee to be picked was All-SEC sophomore pitcher Alex Wood, who went near the end of the second round, 85th overall, to the Atlanta Braves.

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Three Georgia signees or active players came off the board in Tuesday’s second round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Signees Joe DeCarlo and Duane Underwood were both picked early in the second round, while All-SEC pitcher Alex Wood went late in the round.

DeCarlo was the fourth pick of the day -- 64th overall -- when the Seattle Mariners picked him Tuesday. He was followed closely by fellow Bulldogs signee Duane Underwood, a pitcher/outfielder who went 67th overall to the Chicago Cubs.

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Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity eliminated any questions about David Perno’s job status for 2013 last week when he told reporters that Perno will return for a 12th season as the Bulldogs’ baseball coach.

However, Perno said Thursday that this spring’s outcome -- capped by a late-season collapse that caused the Bulldogs to miss the postseason for the second time in three years -- is simply not good enough.

“We’ve got to do our part,” Perno said. “The support staff at UGA is special. They’ve done an unbelievable job since Greg has gotten in there and it’s been great. But golly, we’ve got to win.

“That’s what we were set up to do this year and we just underachieved. I thought last year, 2011, we overachieved. But this year we underachieved, so we’ve got to make certain we do our part next year.”

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HOOVER, Ala. -- Alex Wood walked the tightrope and fell, hopping from one jam to another in Georgia’s opening-round game against Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Meanwhile, the Commodores played a skilled game of trapeze in the field, showing off some slick fielding on their way to a 4-1 win Tuesday night at Regions Park.

Vanderbilt didn’t commit a single error and cut off a key threat in the fifth inning on a diving stop from first baseman Conrad Gregor, who fired the ball home to stop the Georgia baserunner in his tracks. The run would have tied the score and given UGA the momentum heading into the final third of the game. Instead, Vanderbilt continued to make plays and rode a wave of momentum the Bulldogs couldn’t turn back.

The game ended on a spectacular diving catch in left field from Jack Lupo, who had to lay out to haul in the final out.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia is not in exactly as desperate a situation as it was a year ago at the SEC baseball tournament, but the Bulldogs’ NCAA tournament chances could once again hinge on what happens this week in Hoover, Ala.

Needing to finish with a winning record at last year's league tournament to secure a .500 record and become eligible for an NCAA bid, the Bulldogs used a miracle run to the tournament semifinals -- with unlikely consecutive wins against Auburn, eventual national champion South Carolina and eventual national runner-up Florida -- to reach the NCAAs.

Georgia (31-24, 14-15 SEC) slid from the SEC tournament’s No. 5 seed to No. 8 last weekend when it lost two of three games against Alabama, which finished last in the SEC West, so the Bulldogs might need a couple of wins in Hoover to ensure a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

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UGA baseball week in review

May, 20, 2012
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Results: Georgia went 2-2 in the final week of the regular season, dropping two out of three at Alabama after beating East Tennessee State in a midweek game. The Bulldogs dropped to the eighth seed in the SEC tournament, which starts Tuesday in Hoover, Ala. Georgia will open against fifth-seeded Vanderbilt, which took two of three from the Bulldogs during the regular season.

Georgia record: 31-24 (14-15 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Georgia erupted for 14 hits and eight runs in Thursday’s series opener against Alabama and Alex Wood pitched seven dominant innings as the Bulldogs cruised to an 8-4 victory.

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UGA baseball week in review

May, 6, 2012
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Results: Georgia swept Auburn over the weekend to complete its first SEC sweep since last year. The Bulldogs won 5-2 Friday, 6-5 in 11 innings Saturday and 9-3 Sunday.

Georgia record: 28-20 (12-12 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Kyle Farmer drove in Curt Powell with the winning run, following Powell’s RBI on a fielder’s choice, as Georgia scored twice in the bottom of the 11th inning to rally past Auburn in Saturday’s win.

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UGA baseball week in review 

April, 22, 2012
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Results: Georgia went 2-3 this week, dropping two of three at top-ranked Florida after beating Liberty 5-3 and falling 5-4 to Furman at the first of the week. Georgia’s 16-inning, 3-2 loss at Florida on Friday night was the longest game in UGA history at 4 hours, 56 minutes. The Bulldogs rode starting pitcher Michael Palazzone to a 5-3 win on Saturday, but lost Sunday’s rubber game, 6-3.

Georgia record: 24-17 (8-10 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Georgia lost in perhaps the most devastating way possible on Friday, with closer Blake Dieterich recording a strikeout that should have ended the sixth inning. However, the ball slipped away from catcher Brandon Stephens and he threw high to first base, allowing Vickash Ramjit to score the winning run for Florida. But the Bulldogs bounced back from that painful loss on Saturday, with Palazzone pitching eight strong innings and a three-run third inning -- sparked by a two-run Levi Hyams single -- sparking Georgia to a series-tying victory.

UGA baseball week in review

April, 15, 2012
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Results: Georgia bounced back from a recent slump -- the Bulldogs dropped five of their last seven games entering the week -- by winning three out of four games this week. The Bulldogs visited Clemson on Wednesday and won 8-7, then took two of three against No. 19 Ole Miss. The Bulldogs rode starting pitchers Michael Palazzone and Alex Wood to 8-4 and 6-3 wins to open the Ole Miss series before dropping Saturday’s series finale 8-3.

Georgia record: 22-14 (7-8 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Georgia trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth inning of Thursday’s opener against Ole Miss, but the Bulldogs rallied for six runs to take a comfortable lead. The Bulldogs clubbed five hits in the inning, including a three-run double by Kyle Farmer, to earn the comeback win.

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UGA baseball by the numbers 

April, 12, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Fresh off an 8-7 comeback win against Clemson on Wednesday, Georgia (20-13, 5-7 SEC) opens another key SEC series against No. 19 Ole Miss (23-10, 6-6) today at Foley Field.

It’s the only time in this month’s crucial stretch of Georgia’s conference schedule -- also including last weekend’s series at No. 9 Arkansas and upcoming series at No. 4 Florida and No. 7 LSU -- that the Bulldogs will play a home SEC series.

Georgia was 2-7 in its last nine games entering the Clemson game and trailed the Tigers 5-0 early, but the Bulldogs rallied with a rare big inning -- a six-run fifth frame -- en route to a valuable non-conference victory.

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UGA baseball week in review

April, 8, 2012
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Results: The Bulldogs dropped two of three games for the third consecutive SEC series. They beat Arkansas 4-2 Friday to open the series, then lost 8-3 and 8-0 on Saturday and Sunday.

Georgia record: 19-13 (5-7 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Alex Wood pitched a complete-game gem in Friday’s win, allowing seven hits, three walks and two earned runs while striking out 11 Arkansas batters.

Top offensive performer: The Bulldogs collected only 20 hits all weekend, but Kyle Farmer batted .333 (4-for-12) and scored three of Georgia’s seven runs against Arkansas.

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Hard road awaits UGA baseball 

April, 5, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- True to form, Georgia baseball coach David Perno doesn’t pull any punches when asked whether the next month will define his team’s season.

With a treacherous stretch ahead that begins with this weekend’s series at No. 9 Arkansas (22-6, 5-4 SEC), Perno’s 24th-ranked Bulldogs (18-11, 4-5) know they must begin performing with improved consistency to have any chance of meeting their lofty preseason goals.

“It may not equate to a ton of wins, but we at least are going to be forced to establish some sort of identity of who we are and the things we can do well definitely have to show up,” Perno said. “If that happens and we do get some wins this month, we could be in really good shape for the stretch run.

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Dogs, Cats split baseball doubleheader 

March, 31, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 18 Georgia split its Saturday baseball doubleheader with No. 7 Kentucky -- winning 7-6 in the opener before falling 9-8 in Game 2 -- to set up Sunday’s rubber match in the key SEC series.

After Georgia blew a 6-0 lead in the top of the seventh of the opener, Brett DeLoach (3-for-4, two runs, RBI) belted the two-out, go-ahead double in the bottom of the seventh to stake Blake Dieterich to a lead he would protect over the final two scoreless innings.

Georgia staked Game 1 starter Alex Wood to a 6-0 lead before he and reliever Bryan Benzor (4-1) combined to lose the lead. The Wildcats scored four runs in the seventh inning off Wood -- three on a homer by freshman slugger Austin Cousino -- and two more off Benzor to tie the score at 6 by the end of the inning.

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Results: Georgia started the week with a 3-2 win in its final at-bat on Tuesday against Kennesaw State at the Gwinnett Braves’ stadium, but the Bulldogs flopped over the weekend, getting swept 2-0, 7-6, and 7-3 by No. 16 UCLA.

Georgia record: 11-5

Highlight of the week: Kyle Farmer provided the late heroics in Tuesday’s victory against Kennesaw State, lacing a bases-loaded single to bring home Nelson Ward with the winning run.

Top offensive performer: Curt Powell. There weren’t many good options this week as Georgia’s offense largely struggled. Powell went 3-for-10 with a walk and three RBIs in the four games, including an RBI sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout in Sunday’s finale against UCLA.

Top pitching performer: Alex Wood (3-1) took the loss in Friday’s 2-0 opener against UCLA, but he had a solid overall outing. Wood allowed a two-run home run in the fourth inning, but otherwise held the Bruins in check through 6 2/3 innings. He surrendered six hits and one walk while striking out five.

Key statistic: The Bulldogs stranded 23 men on base -- 11 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday -- in the final two games against UCLA.

They said it: “You have to cash in with the opportunities we are getting, and we are just leaving too many runners on base.” -- Georgia coach David Perno

Up next: Georgia will host Alcorn State on Tuesday and Wednesday and then will open SEC play at home against Tennessee starting Friday.

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