0

Bulldogs aim to take care of business

ATHENS - In 2006, when Georgia last went to the College World Series, Ryan Peisel got on the bus leaving the campus as the Bulldogs' starting third baseman with a .310 average.

By the time he got off the bus at Rosenblatt Stadium, he had been reduced to a starry-eyed kid.

Peisel acquitted himself well enough in Omaha, getting three hits in eight at-bats, but Georgia had a short tour, losing two straight to Rice and eventual national champion Oregon State.

This time, the Bulldogs plan to do some damage.

'I got off the bus and wow, there was the statue that I had been seeing on TV, and this was the field the dirt all these guys have been playing on,' Peisel remembered. 'Just the stadium alone, I was completely awestruck. It was like meeting a celebrity for the first time. I had no clue.

'This year is more like a business trip,' he said. 'We want to come back as a champion.'

No. 8 seed Georgia (41-23-1) faces top-seeded Miami (52-9) Saturday at 7 p.m. ESPN will televise the game.

Five members of the 2008 Bulldog team played in the 2006 series. They admit to being a little overwhelmed.

Starting pitcher Trevor Holder (8-4, 4.34 ERA) said the crowd attention made him feel like a rock star.

'There is a mass of people who want to meet you. They treat you like celebrities. They want your autograph. I pitched, and I don't even remember it, I was so wound up in the whole atmosphere,' he said.

'The College World Series is everything it is made out to be,' said shortstop Gordon Beckham (.401, 26 HR, 72 RBI). 'Everybody in Omaha loves you. They treat you like royalty.'

The Bulldogs, of course, are excited to be playing in Omaha, but they have a sense of purpose too.

'I know this team is not just happy to be there,' said coach David Perno, who played on Georgia's 1990 national championship squad.

'Whether we are good enough to win, Miami, Florida State and Stanford have a lot to say about it. All we can do is handle what we do and hope it is good enough for us to stay around and advance where pitching depth comes into play.

'This team gains momentum the longer it hangs around,' he said.

'Coach says you can tell the teams that go out there to win and the ones who want to just be there by the first practice,' said Stephen Dodson, who was on the 2006 squad but did not play in Omaha. 'We are going out there to win. We think we have the team to win.'