Diamond Dogs fall to Duke, ending a rebounding season

by Sam Martin
Newnan High School

Despite hosting a regional tournament, Georgia’s surprise season came to an end Monday night in an 8-5 loss to the Duke Blue Devils.

“We had a lot of guys on the team that were on the 2017 team, they experienced a lot of failure, but then towards the end of the year they had some success,” said UGA sports communication director Christopher Lakos.

After finishing 25-32 in 2017  with losses to Auburn, Clemson, and a sweep by Florida, the Dawgs approached the 2018 season eager to get back on top in the SEC standings. Led by returning juniors, Georgia found themselves in 3rd place in the SEC East entering regionals. With series sweeps of South Carolina and Missouri, Georgia was able to prove they were not a fifth place SEC East team, as the preseason coaches poll placed them. Unfortunately for the Diamond Dogs, the season was cut short after the team was unable to come back after giving up three runs in the 7th inning in a regional championship against Duke. In addressing the goals for next year, Lakos addressed how this year’s team has set the pace for next year’s squad.

 

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“The guys saw that ‘Hey we can hang with really good teams, we’re close,’ and so this year they were able build on that knowing that they were as good as these other teams they just have to go out there an do it.”

Last year’s season was littered with bad losses, including some to Rider, Xavier and Kennesaw State. As the end of the season approached, the Dawgs were able to get on the right track with wins against Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and South Carolina. After the season, the team realized they were able to be a top-tier team and had the players and ability to beat high ranking teams.

“We’re going to be expected to be good because a lot of the guys that were on the team this year are going to be back next year.

The loss of juniors Kevin Smith and Michael Curry, as well as senior Keegan McGovern, will likely take a toll on the Dawgs. The bats of McGovern and Curry and the arm of Smith are going to be missed, but incoming signee Cole Wilcox will likely pass on a MLB contract to come to Georgia for the 2019 season, adding a much needed arm to the team. With seven returning starters and many incoming freshmen, Georgia looks to approach next years season with a mentality that they can go all the way.

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