Skip to main content

Georgia taking right approach into game three of Super Regional

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/10/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Everything’s on the line tonight as Georgia Baseball takes on NC State in a winner-take-all game three of the Athens Super Regional. Seven of the eight spots in the College World Series have been decided. As things stand, the SEC owns four while the ACC holds three. Will the Bulldogs help the conference break their own record by winning to send five teams to Omaha – and guaranteeing an SEC team makes the championship series – or will it be the Wolfpack that knot things up in the ACC-SEC battle for supremacy? We’ll see tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“It’s why everybody watches sports,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent, a 28-year veteran in Raleigh, said on Sunday about game three. “You may not watch the NBA, but you’re going to watch game seven of the Finals. You may not watch hockey, but you’re going to watch game seven of the Stanley Cup. You may not watch football, but you’re probably going to a Super Bowl party. Right? Everybody’s watching game three.”

Avent and NC State needed game three of the Super Regional at Arkansas in 2021 to advance, taking down the top-seeded Razorbacks in a couple of battles after being blown out in game one. That’s what Georgia is trying to do this time, putting an 18-1 loss behind with an 11-2 bounce back victory, now just one win away from the College World Series.

Of course, Georgia’s Wes Johnson is in his first season as a head coach. He hasn’t been in charge of a couple of these decisive game threes like Avent has, but he still has some experience. As the pitching coach at Arkansas in 2018, his staff helped secure a Super Regional in three games over South Carolina. His message to Georgia players will be the same on Monday as it has been all season: stay in the moment and don’t let it overwhelm you.

“I think that’s why your message all year has to be ‘it’s just baseball.’ You know, emotions can take you the wrong way a lot of times,” Johnson told reporters. “If we can keep our emotions in check – and every day you go to play this game you understand that it’s just that game that  day – then when these games come around, guys don’t get sped up.

“So, my message won’t change tomorrow. It’s the same it’s been for these guys: ‘Hey, it’s another game tomorrow.’ And you better be locked in on both sides of the baseball, be focused-up,” he continued. “If we do that, it’s going to put us in position to have success. It’s not going to guarantee that you will, but it’s going to put you in position to have success. That’ll be our message tomorrow and that’ll be our plan.”

Georgia pitcher Leighton Finley, who threw a career-high 6.2 innings of one-run baseball to help the Bulldogs live to see another day on Sunday, felt confident in his teammates heading into the winner-take-all matchup on Monday. He told ESPN after the win, ‘Don’t let the Dawgs get hot.’ He later explained his thinking in that statement.

“All we had to do was win today and we’re going to get rolling,” Finley said. “Coming into the game today, all we had to do was win one. Now we’re going to get going. We’re going to bring that into tomorrow.”

First pitch between No. 7 Georgia and No. 10 NC State is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. All eyes of the College Baseball world will be on Foley Field with the other seven super regionals wrapping up on Saturday or Sunday.

The Bulldogs and Wolfpack went to a third game back in the 2008 Athens Super Regional, the last time these two programs met, with Georgia advancing to the College World Series. A nine-run first inning helped propel UGA to a 17-8 win – something it’ll be searching for once again, trying to make it to Omaha for the first time since that season.

You may also like