Former Greenbrier High School standout Rich Poythress will play on college baseball's biggest stage this weekend after Georgia toppled North Carolina State in the deciding game of the NCAA super regional in Athens on Sunday.
Georgia plated nine runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 17-8 win.
Poythress did his part. The sophomore was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. The three-hit effort boosted Poythress' season average to .370, which moves him into fifth in the Southeastern Conference in hitting. The four batters ahead of him in the SEC all were drafted last week:
- Sawyer Carroll, .419 (Kentucky) third round by San Diego
- Gordon Beckham, .401 (UGA) first round by Chicago (AL)
- Justin Smoak, .383 (South Carolina) first round by Texas
- Ryan Wilkes, .374 (Kentucky) 23rd round by New York (AL)
Poythress now sits with 15 homers, 19 doubles and 65 RBI for the 41-23-1 Bulldogs. Georgia has won six of its past seven games after losing in the opener of the Athens Regional. In those seven games, the red-hot Poythress was 13-for-28 with three homers and 14 RBI -- all of that while battling through a painful wrist injury.
Hopefully, he can stay hot as he and his teammates prepare to meet the top-ranked Miami Hurricanes in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Hurricanes have spent nearly the entire season at the top of the polls. They advanced to the World Series by beating Arizona in their super regional. The 'Canes are heading to Omaha for an astonishing 23rd time.
The World Series attracts monster crowds. Last season, attendance was about 25,000 fans per game.
Georgia is one of the few teams that have played in front of crowds that big during the season. Nearly 23,000 fans watched the Dogs top Georgia Tech at Turner Field this season.
Among returning SEC players in 2009, here is how Poythress stacks up in key statistical categories:
- Batting average: first
- On-base percentage: second
- Slugging percentage: second
- Home runs: second
- RBI: second
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