ATHENS-----Georgia will play host to North Georgia in a free exhibition at Foley Field this Sunday at 2 p.m.
This year, the NCAA is allowing schools to play two fall games, and the Bulldogs will face the Nighthawks on Sept. 30 and UNC-Asheville on Oct. 14. Both exhibitions at Foley Field will begin at 2 p.m. with free admission.
Seating at Foley Field for the exhibitions will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Restrooms will be open, however the concession stands will be closed. Fans can bring in snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. The games likely will last 14 innings to try and get everyone a bit of playing time. Also, fans will have a chance to catch Georgia t-shirts and beanie babies that the Diamond Darlings will be tossing to the crowd during the exhibition.
Georgia is in its sixth year under Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. Georgia’s fall roster features 39 players including 10 newcomers. The Bulldogs welcome back 25 returning lettermen including seven starting position players and several key components of the pitching staff. The 2018 Bulldogs earned a final top 20 national ranking after going 39-21 including 18-12 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia was a national No. 8 seed and played host to an NCAA Regional where it reached the final to cap its finest year in a decade.
Georgia’s All-American two-way standout Aaron Schunk (3B/RHP), freshman All-Americans C.J. Smith (LHP/OF) and Mason Meadows (C) plus second team All-SEC first baseman Adam Sasser are back. Also, Cam Shepherd returns after setting a school record for fielding percentage by a shortstop (.980). Georgia’s starting pitcher Sunday will be junior right-hander Tony Locey and up to 12 Bulldogs are scheduled to see action on the mound.
“You answer a lot of questions in the fall, and I know we are excited about this fall and the upcoming season,” said Stricklin. “We’re going to make the exhibitions as game-like as possible. We’re able to play more than nine innings so we could have players re-enter during the game too.”
North Georgia is coached Tom Cantrell who is in his 20th season. The Nighthawks posted a 31-22 record last season including 17-13 in the Peach Belt Conference. A couple of top returnees on the mound are sophomores Cade Heil (6-8, 4.45 ERA) and closer Parker Morrison (4-2, 2.01 ERA, 10 Saves). Junior catcher Andres Perez blasted 23 home runs with 68 RBI and a .330 batting average last season to headline the returnees on offense.
Georgia will conclude practice with the annual Fall Red and Black World Series slated for Nov. 1-3. Those three scrimmages will be free and open to the public. The 2019 season begins Feb. 15 with a three-game series against Dayton at Foley Field.