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Mar 26
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Georgia Sports News

  • ATLANTA (AP) - Cincinnati right-hander Tanner Roark was roughed up for five quick runs in his final start before the regular season, and the Atlanta Braves defeated the Reds 8-5 in an exhibition game Monday night. Roark, acquired from the Washington Nationals as part of a major offseason overhaul, allowed three hits and hurt his cause by walking two, hitting another batter with a pitch and throwing a ball away at the plate. He finished a largely impressive spring at 2-2 with a 4.22 ERA in seven starts. Eugenio Suarez and Derek Dietrich homered for the Reds, while Atlanta's Dansby Swanson also went deep. Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, the Braves' big acquisition of the offseason, doubled off the base of the wall to drive home a run in the five-run second that chased Roark. After breezing through the opening frame, the Reds starter walked the first two hitters of the second. Ozzie Albies followed with a run-scoring single before Tyler Flowers was plunked with a pitch to load the bases. Matt Joyce grounded into a forceout to bring home another run, hustling down the line to beat a double play as he attempts to earn a spot on the Braves' bench. That turned out to make a difference when Dansby Swanson hit a dribbler back to the mound, which Roark barehanded and zipped home in an attempt to get Albies. The throw was terrible, actually striking Swanson's discarded bat in front of the plate and deflecting past catcher Tucker Barnhart. Ender Inciarte had a sacrifice fly before Donaldson's drive just below the 385-foot marker made it 5-0 and finished Roark after 1 2/3 innings. The game began in rainy weather that produced a dazzling rainbow above the left-field stands. Max Fried (1-1), who will begin the season as Atlanta's fifth starter, pitched two hitless innings with one walk and two strikeouts. Yasiel Puig was thrown out at third base to end the third, not even bothering to slide as he was tagged by Donaldson. Of course, given some of Puig's basepath mishaps and this being merely an exhibition, that was probably a wise decision. TRAINER'S ROOM Reds: LHP Alex Wood is continuing his rehabilitation from a lower back injury at Cincinnati's spring training complex in Arizona. He still has to go through a rehab assignment but could be ready to rejoin the team on a West Coast trip in mid-April. Braves: Two starting pitchers will begin the season on the injured list. Kevin Gausman (shoulder) expects to rejoin the roster for an April 5 start against Miami. Mike Foltynewicz, coming off an All-Star season and projected as the team's top starter, is set to make a rehab start at Triple-A Gwinnett next week and return to the big leagues around the third week of April after battling elbow issues. The bullpen also will be short-handed on opening day: relievers A.J. Minter (shoulder) and Darren O'Day (hamstring) are going on the injured list, as well. UP NEXT The teams meet again Tuesday afternoon at SunTrust Park in their final warmup for the regular season. Braves rookie Kyle Wright (1-2, 7.11 ERA) will be prepping for the first start of his big league career Sunday night at Philadelphia. Cincinnati counters with Anthony DeSclafani (1-0, 3.66), the No. 4 starter who is set to go next Monday against Milwaukee. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Baseball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Falcons owner Arthur Blank has sold a 10 percent share of the team to two current limited partners and one new limited partner, a team spokesman confirmed. The NFL owners, who are gathered in Phoenix for the annual spring league meeting, approved the transaction Monday. The deal is estimated to be worth $300 million of the franchise’s worth, which is projected at $3 billion. The NFL Finance Committee and full ownership has approved the private transaction that transfers a minority percentage of the Falcons’ ownership to one new limited partner, Alan Kestenbaum, and to two existing limited partners: Doug Hertz and Ron Canakaris.  The other limited partners include Warrick Dunn, Derek Smith, Ed Mendel and Brian Barker. Blank remains the team’s principal owner and retains a clear majority of ownership. “It’s a relatively minor transaction,” the spokesman said.  John A. Williams, a seminal Georgia developer who was a limited partner of the franchise since 2008, died suddenly in April 2018. The three limited partners are purchasing all of Williams’ former shares in the team.  Williams, 75, founded an iconic Atlanta company, Post Properties, in 1970. It had more than 30,000 apartments. He took Post Properties public as an REIT in 1993 and left the company in 2003. Blank bought the Falcons in 2002 for $545 million.  In April 2018, Forbes valued the team at $2.6 billion. The Falcons’ valuation increased with the opening of the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the 2019 Super Bowl. The Falcons’ local NFL revenue was up 70 percent.  The team’s low concession prices have been a hit with fans, some of whom had to purchase personal seat licenses — for as high as $45,000 — for the right just to buy tickets. Since Blank acquired the Falcons, the team has made the playoffs eight times in 17 seasons.  Three years before Blank purchased the Falcons, the club averaged about 37,000 season ticket holders per year. Since 2002, the Falcons have never sold fewer than 50,000 season tickets in any year. Additionally, during the same period, the club sold out 110 of 112 regular season games and closed out the former Georgia Dome with a streak of eight consecutive sellout seasons. However, the Falcons announced average attendance of 72,898 at their eight regular-season home games last season, but actually drew almost 9,000 fewer per game to the stadium — an average of 64,022. Three times during a disappointing season, the Falcons’ real attendance was more than 11,000 below the announced figure. For the home finale, the crowd was 15,614 fewer than announced. The team announces tickets distributed verses an actual turnstile count of fans in the building.  
  • ATHENS  — Twenty-one and three. That’s the win-loss record Georgia’s baseball team will take to Georgia Tech (16-8) on Tuesday. It’s impressive on its own, without any context. But when one takes into account the rash of injuries the Bulldogs have dealt with to this point, it borders on miraculous. Georgia added another name to its long list of sidelined players on Sunday when Mason Meadows fouled off a pitch into his own face during an at-bat against LSU. The Bulldogs’ starting catcher suffered facial fractures as a result and is out indefinitely. He’ll undergo surgery in the coming days “The eye itself is OK, and that’s what my concern was,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said on Monday. “I’ve had players whose careers were ended because of an injury like this and that’s not the case here. … So when our trainer told us what the injury was I took it as really good news. The injury’s bad but it could’ve been a lot worse.” Meadows, a redshirt sophomore from Roswell, had started 17 games and played in 20 at catcher this season. He was hitting just .231 but had distinguished himself as the Bulldogs’ best defender behind the plate and a real weapon with runners on base. He’d thrown out eight of 16 runners trying to steal a base. Stricklin remains hopeful that Meadows might be able to return at some point late in the season, but is not making any predictions. In the meantime , the Bulldogs will turn to junior Austin Biggar to catch. The junior from Lilburn has came through in a big way this past weekend against LSU, getting the game-winning hit Saturday and hitting a game-sealing two-run homer in the bottom of eighth in Sunday’s 9-7 series-clinching victory. Meadows’ name is now on an injured list that already included starting left fielder Tucker Bradley (shoulder), starting first baseman Patrick Sullivan (concussion) and pitchers Ryan Webb and Will Proctor, each of whom had to be shut down this month due to arm soreness. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs extended themselves to the limit physically and mentally in taking two of three games from No. 10 LSU this past weekend. Georgia’s bullpen — most notably, NCAA save leader Aaron Schunk — is suffering from overuse and that will have to be factored in for Tuesday’s game against Georgia Tech. Stricklin said he has no plans regardless of situation to turn to Schunk, who pitched three innings and recorded two more saves against LSU to bring his nation-leading total to nine for the season. “It’s been tough; little by little it’s trickled in,” Stricklin said of the mounting injuries. “For us to be 5-1 (in the SEC) right now as beat up as we are, I’m certainly pleased. But I’m looking forward to getting healthier.” It’s hard to imagine Georgia playing much better. The Bulldogs are off to their best start since 2009 when that club had an identical record after 24 games. However, this year’s squad is 5-1 in the SEC, which is tied with Arkansas and Texas A&M for the best record in the league. In the meantime, Georgia moved up to No. 4 in D1Baseball.com’s Top 25 poll. It’s the highest ranking for the Bulldogs since checking in at No. 1 for five weeks during the 2009 season. Georgia is now No. 6 in Baseball America’s rankings, also its highest since 2009. The Bulldogs are playing well in all three phases of the game, batting .290 with a .406 on base percentage, a 2.54 ERA and a .982 fielding percentage (which is tied for fourth nationally). Georgia Tech is also playing well. The Yellow Jackets won a road series against No. 4 Louisville this past weekend. Game 2 of the annual three-game series with Tech will be April 9 in Athens and the final game will be at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park on April 23 to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Starting next year, however, Tech and Georgia will switch to a three-game weekend series format. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution learned Monday that the schools recently entered into a two-year agreement to play on one campus on Friday, on the other campus on Saturday and Sunday at SunTrust Park. “It’s a great rivalry and playing on the weekend will allow more of our fans to see the games,” Stricklin said. “Thanks to the Atlanta Braves and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their cooperation.” As it is now, neither team is able to offer up its best pitching in the long-played rivalry. Tomorrow night, Georgia will start junior right-hander Tim Elliott (3-1, 0.39) against Tech right-hander Amos Willingham (3-0, 3.38). Expect liberal substitutions throughout as both teams will keep their focus on conference play. The Bulldogs head back out on the road this weekend to face Kentucky. “We’ll see how guys are feeling when we get to the field,” Stricklin said. “We’re a little beat-up, yeah, but this time of year everybody is. Tech’s got a couple of guys out, too. But it’s a rivalry game, it’s going to be a challenge and we’re going to need some people to step up.” Georgia has been coming though on that front all season. The post No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs (21-3) refuse to let injuries derail best season in a decade appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 909 (March 25, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about a recap of some top recruits weekend visit to UGA. Georgia football podcast: UGA hosts another crop of impressive recruiting visitors Beginning of the show: Georgia hosted a number of top recruits over the weekend. I’ll explain on today’s show why the 2020 recruiting cycle looks to be heating up for UGA. 10-minute mark: I’ll talk about national reaction to UGA’s non-conference schedule. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s Chip Towers joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… Thoughts on UGA freshman defensive back Tyrique Stevenson’s arrest ***NOTE: This conversation occurred before new details came to light regarding wide receiver Tyler Simmons’ involvement*** Reaction to UGA coach Kirby Smart’s comments from last week regarding how UGA’s offense could be different under new coordinator James Coley An opinion regarding Smart’s challenge to his defense to wreak more “havoc” this season And a look back at a thrilling series win for the Diamond Dawgs vs. LSU 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including LSU getting a commitment from 4-star defensive end Demon Clowney, Alabama adding 3-star offensive lineman Seth McGlauglen to its 2020 class, a comparison between Alabama’s success with former defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and UGA’s upcoming crop of talented prospects and an update on Auburn’s quarterback competiton. 35-minute mark: I share audio of SEC Network analyst Ben McDonald’s thoughts on the Diamond Dawgs, provide a brief followup to my piece on Jonathan Ledbetter’s comments on UGA’s defense and update our DawgNation Daily bracket contest. End of show: I share some brief thoughts on the passing of Georgia Tech defensive lineman Brandon Adams. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA hosts another crop of impressive recruiting visitors appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —  The easy thing to do would be to climb up on top of my soap box and express my outrage over two Georgia football players getting arrested for allegedly fighting in a bar. I’m not going to do that. Football players fighting in bars has been going on since there has been football and bars. But I’m also not going to give the Bulldogs a pass for whatever happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning at The Cloud Bar. It shouldn’t have happened and can’t happen again. Coach Kirby Smart has a problem on his hands, and he needs to get in front of it quickly. I have no idea what he said to his players after they completed their first full-contact practice of the spring Saturday afternoon on Woodruff Practice Fields, but either he didn’t tell them “be careful tonight, stay out of the bars and stay out of trouble,” or he did and they ignored him. Either scenario is not good. The facts are what they are. Georgia, which is expected to be a Top 5 team when the 2019 season opens in five months, has had the more player arrests so far (four) than it has had spring practices (three). And that’s assuming that there are no more arrests as a result of Saturday night’s incident. Athens-Clarke County detectives are continuing their investigation by interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage of what they described as a “chaotic scene” at this popular downtown Athens bar. As it is, the current rate would give the Bulldogs 16 arrests by December. So, clearly, something has to give. Fans have already done a good bit of scoffing about one of those arrests. Jaden Hunter, a redshirt sophomore linebacker, was hauled off to jail because he had a revoked/suspended license and was “illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle.” And I can certainly see why people would be incredulous about that. In fact, I think I can publicly confess to have illegally stopped or parked a vehicle before. Thankfully, I managed to avoid arrest and prosecution! But having a valid license, registration and insurance is all a part of being a good citizen in this country. Meanwhile, state law requires that one be taken to jail if he can’t produce all that during a traffic stop. For whatever reason, Hunter couldn’t. Georgia fans will surely recall not so long ago when the Bulldogs had to launch an internal team initiative to ensure that every player on the team who had transportation on campus had the proper credentials to drive it and that said vehicle was permitted to be on the roads. Lord knows UGA football has enough support personnel these days to assign someone to the task of being transportation czar. But these latest infractions aren’t the kind at which we should scoff. Believe me, I grew up in a “boys will be boys” time, but we don’t live in a “boys will be boys” world anymore. These last three arrests — nobody has been convicted of anything, mind you — fall into the physical violence category. Nothing good can ever come from that. Latavious Brini, a sophomore from Miami, is alleged to have slapped a man in the face “unprovoked” in another incident that started in another downtown Athens bar on Feb. 23. DawgNation actually never reported all the allegations stemming from that arrest, but you can read them HERE. If there’s any truth to any of it, that’s troubling. Smart told us that he’d “handle it internally,” and I’m sure he did. How and in what way, we don’t know. Smart told us the same thing about Hunter’s situation. Either way, I’m assuming they will be handled by local law enforcement and the court system. Whatever Smart did in those other two cases, it didn’t deter another incident. I guess we’ll eventually find out more about whatever led to a confrontation between Georgia football players Tyler Simmons and Tyrique Stevenson and “employees at The Cloud Bar.” I can’t imagine there not being body-camera video from police, not to mention cell phone video or pictures like there always is these days. But the actual incident itself is not the most troubling part for me. For me, the issue starts with the fact that Simmons, a senior receiver and potential offensive captain for the Bulldogs, was at a 21-and-over drinking establishment with a freshman. As an early enrollee, Stevenson otherwise would be in high school back home on Miami. I don’t know Stevenson’s actual age because it’s not listed anywhere in his bio, but he couldn’t be much older than 17. Suffice it to say, Stevenson shouldn’t have been there, and certainly not with a senior who is a member of the Bulldogs’ “Leadership Committee” that Smart puts so much stock in. There was a time not so long ago that UGA football made all of downtown Athens and the bars and restaurants therein off limits to the entire team. Apparently that’s no longer the case, but maybe that’s where we’re headed again. I always thought that overly restrictive in a free and open society. I mean, if you’re signed to a full scholarship to play football for a high-profile program like Georgia, with all the perks and benefits — and, yes, responsibilities and commitments — that come with that, you should be trusted to go downtown and hang out without getting in any trouble. Right? Maybe not. Maybe that’s why Smart declined to anoint leaders at his spring practice news conference not a week ago now. He hasn’t found any yet. So I’m not going to stand up here today and point to Georgia as an out of control program that lacks leadership. Smart’s dealing with what appears to be a couple of rough-housing misdemeanors and some irresponsible citizenry at the moment. But it’s only March, and there’s a long way to go to get until that Aug. 31st opener. I suspect the Bulldogs’ coach is about ready the kibosh on the jail-log trend for 2019. I know I am. Internally or externally, this needs to get handled. The post Georgia coach Kirby Smart needs to cut off team behavior issues at the pass appeared first on DawgNation.