College Baseball

A Near Strike Out

By: Colin Lacy news services

In a series opening game in May at Founders Park in Columbia, Georgia Baseball opened a three-game series against the then Number 13 South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Dawgs chased the Gamecock’s starter Roman Kimball after scoring four in the top of the 1st inning, then the second inning saw Charlie Condon launch a Ty Good first pitch past the left field wall to go back-to-back with teammate Corey Collins. That blast was his 34th of the season to maintain the national homerun lead.

Condon not only led the nation in homers, but also led the country with an average over .450 and had driven in 72 runs at that point for the Diamond Dawgs. He’s having a historic year for Georgia, but it’s almost a career that never came to fruition.

Near the end of his career at The Walker School in Marietta (North Metro Atlanta area), Condon had no Division I offers to play baseball.

The two offers on the table were from D III Rhodes College in Memphis and University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn to play both baseball and also play quarterback for the football programs.

Condon did have a potential preferred walk-on opportunity for the Tennessee Volunteers, but a late pull from Vols Head Coach Tony Vitello took that opportunity off the table.

Scott Stricklin, former Georgia Head Coach from 2014 thru 2023, got a phone call from a friend telling him about Charlie, and was told that Condon may be a potential target.

Stricklin and staff got some video of Condon’s skills and thought he would be able to be a factor for the Dawgs down the road.

So how did everyone miss on someone that potentially could be the number one overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft?

Well, it may be a full storm of factors. First off, Condon was a late bloomer. While the last few years in high school were impressive, he wasn’t on the top travel ball team, he wasn’t the measurable masterpiece.

All of that along with COVID-19 was affecting the sports world still while his recruiting process. High school schedules were affected, College coaches weren’t out on the road and able as many players as they normally would, so late bloomers, and players that were under the radar didn’t get a look.

If there needed to be another factor, the MLB Draft was shortened from 40 rounds to 20, so there weren’t many scholarships to go around.

Condon turned into the perfect fit for the Bulldogs before even taking an at-bat. Condon was exceptional student and was able to be accepted to the University of Georgia and didn’t need a scholarship to come to school.

As a pure walk-on, Condon didn’t see action as a freshman. Scott Stricklin told Condon that the plan was for him to redshirt and really hit the weight room in 2022 to grow into the player that Stricklin thought Condon could be.

While that is the plan, Stricklin saw that Condon was special and had told other college coaches that possibly the best hitter on his roster was a redshirt.

Condon took the redshirt in stride and gained 15-20 pounds of muscle, and seeing college pitching made it click at the plate.

If Condon wasn’t special enough, or as one scout called him “a unicorn,” he had to deal with another bit of adversity after 2023 when Stricklin (the coach that took a chance on him) was let go from UGA.

In the new age of college sports of NIL and transfer portal, Condon proved he’s a “unicorn” off the field too with an incredibly infrequent take on the portal opportunity.

“It was never a real possibility that I wanted to get in the portal and go anywhere else,” Condon told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

“Whether it was this coaching staff or not, the university was the only place that gave me a chance out of high school. It was the university that had given me all the time and resources and put so much into my development. I couldn’t turn my back on that.”

No matter if you’re a fan of the Dawgs, or just of college baseball, you can’t help but root for Charlie Condon, and marvel at the historic season.

As great as his on-the-field presence is, the off-the field factor helps Condon’s draft stock just as much.

Who Is On First?

By: Jeb Watkins news services

Who is Charlie Condon?

Maybe you’ve heard the name. He’s at the top of almost every MLB mock draft, and is currently leading the NCAA in batting average(.482) HR’s(26) and Slugging(1.109).

He is only two homers shy of breaking the University of Georgia’s single season and career home run record, which for the moment is held by former MLB player Gordon Beckham set back in 2006 and 2008.

Condon, a native of Atlanta, didn’t generate a lot of attention coming out of Walker high school in Marietta Georgia, due to his size at the time but he managed to land a preferred walk on spot with the Dawgs 2021 class.

A year and several pounds of muscle later, Charlie Condon began his redshirt freshman season. In that 2023 season he won his team’s triple crown with his .386 average 26 homers with 67 runs batted in.

He also racked up a ton of hardware last season being named National freshman hitter of the year, freshman all American, and SEC freshman of the year and even set a new SEC freshman home run record.

This guy is a natural hitter, a team leader, and versatile in the field.

Condon is listed as a 1st baseman but he can also play 3rd and in the outfield. I’m not sure if there is anything this guy can’t do.

I expect every bottom dwelling team in the MLB is just itching to draft this kid and why not?

He has powered himself and his team to success. The Diamond Dawgs are currently ranked 24th in the nation with a record of 27-9 and have about 15 games left in the regular season. They still have the SEC tournament starting on May 21st, which should be a great chance to catch Condon’s skill set in action.


By: Kipp Branch news services

One of the underrated sporting events in the country starts today and ends on June 27th.

It is the College World Series. The field looks balanced this year with no clear favorite after Tennessee, the self-proclaimed greatest team of all-time, choked at home in the Super Regionals losing to Notre Dame in grand fashion.

The field includes four SEC teams and two others, Oklahoma and Texas, who will be joining the SEC by 2025.

The SEC is dominant in most sports these days. The College World Series is played annually in Omaha, Nebraska. There should be plenty of SEC chants going on over the next 10 days. The CWS is a double-elimination tournament.



All Times Eastern


Friday, June 17

Oklahoma vs #5 Texas A&M 2 pm ESPN: A match-up of two SEC teams. One current and one in future in Oklahoma.

This was a huge rivalry when A&M was in the Big 12 so these programs are familiar with each other.

In his first year at Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle has reached the College World Series. He took TCU to Omaha five times in his 18 years at TCU. The Aggies are hot currently, so give me Texas A&M in this contest.

Notre Dame vs #9 Texas 7 pm ESPN: This should be a great contest. Texas lost game one in the Supers at East Carolina. Then come back and walked off with a win in game two and blew ECU out in game three to earn a trip to Omaha.

The Longhorns hit the long-ball frequently and will be a tough out in the CWS. Notre Dame, like I mentioned earlier, is riding high after beating Tennessee in Knoxville to earn a berth.

This is a tough gritty team that is dangerous in an environment like Omaha.

Give me Texas in this contest because the Longhorns have made the CWS field 38 times since the inception of the CWS.

The 2022 tournament marks the 75th playing of the CWS. Texas has been there more than half of the time. No other program has more than 25 appearances. Give me Texas in this match-up.


Saturday, June 18

Arkansas vs #2 Stanford 2 pm ESPN: Stanford always has good pitching, and this year is no exception. Arkansas was the Top overall seed in 2021 and did not make the CWS but went to Chapel Hill and beat a tough North Carolina team in three games to earn a spot in 2022.

Arkansas is peaking at the right time. Watch out for the Hogs. Give me Arkansas in this game.

Ole Miss vs #14 Auburn 7 pm ESPN2: Ole Miss may be the hottest team in college baseball right now. They were Preseason #1 that slumped badly in the middle of the season, only to get hot at tourney time.

The Rebels were the one of the last teams (probably last) selected to the field of 64 and have gone on a run and won a Super in Hattiesburg by sweeping Southern Miss and not giving up a run.

Auburn got sent to Corvallis, Oregon for a Super Regional and beat Oregon State.

Auburn has been a major surprise in 2022. The Tigers have a good power packed line-up. The SEC goes head-to-head in this one. Give me Ole Miss in this contest.

Teams with deep pitching staffs will rise to the top during the tourney. When it is all said and done, here is how I see it playing out:


Bracket One:

Notre Dame



Texas A&M


Winner: Texas


Bracket Two:



Ole Miss



Winner: Arkansas


College WS Final:

Arkansas vs Texas

Winner: Arkansas


Arkansas is your 2022 National Baseball Champions.

The Jimmies and The Joes

By: Robert Craft news services

I have always believed that stars matter when it comes to college football recruiting. Old time coaches used to say that “it’s not about the X’s and O’s, but the Jimmies and Joes.” Some sayings never go out of style.

With the annual “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” just around the corner, let’s breakdown the roster team talent composite rankings.

Since Kirby Smart arrived at Georgia, he has pulled in recruiting classes no lower than number 6. Georgia has signed the nation’s number 6, 3, 1 and 2 recruiting classes.

Georgia’s current roster is loaded. The Bulldogs are number 3 in team composite ranking (Alabama 1 & Ohio State 2). Georgia has 14 Five-Star players, the most in college football.

The Bulldogs have a composite score of 960.16.

Georgia also leads the nation in dollars spent legally on recruiting, The Bulldogs spent $2,626,622.00 in 2019, the most in college sports.

Take a look at where Georgia’s opponents rank:

Vanderbilt 53,

Arkansas 102,

Notre Dame 14,

Tennessee 15,

South Carolina 21,

Kentucky 34,,

Missouri 39,

Auburn 13,

Texas A&M 12,

Georgia Tech 45,

and Florida 15 .

Moving onto my Florida Gators, Dan Mullen in his second year at Florida has signed the number 14th and 9th classes the past two years.

The Gators have zero Five Stars players and a team composite score of 835.68.

Florida is ranked 14th in dollars spend in recruiting. The Gators spent $1,155,802.00 last year in recruiting.

Take a look at where Florida opponents rank:

Miami 18,

Kentucky 34,

Tennessee 15,

Auburn 13,

LSU 5 ,

South Carolina 21,

Georgia 3,

Vanderbilt 53,

Missouri 39,

and Florida State 6.

If you just go by the team composite ranking, this should not be much of contest. There is a 134.48- difference between the teams. Georgia should be a two touchdown favorite on November 2nd.

Now to the X’s and O’s, Kirby Smart versus Dan Mullen.

Kirby Smart is in his 5th season as the Bulldogs head coach with a record of 38-11 and 2-2 in bowl games.

Kirby’s biggest win to date is the come from behind win against Oklahoma in the 2017 Rose Bowl. Kirby has upgraded Georgia’s roster to an elite level.

However, there are questions about Kirby’s performance in big games, especially with national interest, such as National Championship game against Alabama, SEC Championship game against Alabama, 2018 blow out lost to LSU, and 2019 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas.

Dan Mullen is in his 2nd season as the Gator head coach with a record of 17-4 and 1-0 in bowl games. Mullen is known as a quarterback whisperer. He is the all time winningest coach at Mississippi State. Taking Mississippi State to a school record eight straight bowl appearances.

Mullen’s strength is X’s and O’s and development of players. Mullen has a track record of taking 3-Stars players and turning them into quality NFL prospects.

Jimmies and Joes will always determine the outcome. There is a definite talent difference in this game. Can coaching and game planning beat pure athleticism?

Gators vs Bulldogs, the winner of this is in the driver’s seat for the SEC EAST.

November 2nd, Jacksonville, Florida, Jimmies and Joes vs. X’s and O’s.

Diamond Dawgs

By: Kipp Branch news services

As I sat at the campsite on beautiful Lake Oconee last Sunday evening, I got on my phone and watched UGA fall to a hot hitting FSU squad in the finals of the Athens regional and it was obvious that this UGA baseball program is on the right track. Even Captain Obvious would be in agreement with me on the subject of UGA baseball.

The 2019 Bulldogs finished the season with a 46-17 record after reaching the NCAA Athens Regional final.

The 46 wins is top 5 in school history and the 21 SEC wins is the most ever in a season for the baseball Dawgs. Georgia earned a National Seed two straight years and played host to an NCAA Regional in back-to-back seasons.

Yeah, The Dawgs lost to Duke and FSU at home over the last two seasons as a regional host, but baseball may be the greatest game on the planet. If a team gets hot at the right time and just goes on a tear, they are tough. That is what has happened to UGA over the last two baseball seasons.

I laugh at people who say this team choked without doing the research on how this baseball program has evolved.

As a fan of the program you hate to see your favorite team lose to anyone, but realize that prior to hiring of Scott Stricklin the Bulldogs had gone 42-72 the previous 4 years in SEC play and had conference records of 5-23 in 2011, and 7-20 in 2013. When Stricklin was hired the program was a dumpster fire.

It takes time to build a quality baseball program and when Strickin was hired in 2014 the rebuild was put into motion.

It took four tough years to start seeing results, and those results came in 2018 when UGA went 39-21 and 18-12 in the SEC. Anyone who follows UGA athletics can see that the program is rising to being one of the elite baseball programs in the conference.

The 21 SEC wins this season show that the program is on a solid foundation. I personally believe that a baseball rebuild is much harder than a football or basketball rebuild job.

Give credit to Greg McGarity, the UGA AD, for giving Stricklin the opportunity to put his stamp on the program. The results are starting to come in. Look at the Dawgs drafted in this week’s MLB draft.

Georgia’s draft picks were junior third baseman Aaron Schunk (2nd Round, Colorado), junior pitcher Tony Locey (3rd Round, St. Louis), junior pitcher Tim Elliott (4th Round, Seattle), senior second baseman LJ Talley (7th Round, Toronto), junior pitcher Zac Kristofak (14th Round, L.A. Angels), junior shortstop Cam Shepherd (20th Round, Tampa Bay), junior outfielder Tucker Maxwell (22nd Round, Philadelphia) and redshirt sophomore outfielder/infielder Riley King (26th Round, Atlanta).

When you have 8 players drafted from your current program things are clicking. Georgia has great pitching coming back in 2020, young talents like Randon Jernigan, and 12-13 new players coming in the 2020 recruiting class.

This team isn’t going anywhere folks except a Super Regional or a College World Series in the near future.

Scott Stricklin deserves a raise for the job he is doing in Athens. 85-38 overall and 39-21 in the SEC over the past two seasons. The rebuild has turned into reload mode now.

Georgia baseball is firmly on the right track.

Swinging For Omaha

By: Kipp Branch news services

College Baseball National Top Sixteen Seeds came out this week and they are listed below for the NCAA Baseball Tourney.

The top 16 seeds host a regional and then the winners of the regionals go to the Super Regionals the following week with the 8 winners advancing to the College World Series in Omaha on June 15th.

Sixty-four teams are chosen for the NCAA baseball tourney. Top 16 Seeds:

  1. UCLA (47-8) 2. Vanderbilt (49-10) 3. Georgia Tech (41-17) 4. Georgia (44-15) 5. Arkansas (41-17) 6. Mississippi St. (46-13) 7. Louisville (43-15) 8. Texas Tech (39-17) 9. Oklahoma St. (36-18)
  2. East Carolina (43-15) 11. Stanford (41-11) 12. Ole Miss (37-25) 13. LSU (37-24)
  3. North Carolina (42-17) 15. West Virginia (37-20) 16. Oregon St. (36-18-1)

Regional Winners:

UCLA: Top ranked Bruins look very good in 2019. Baylor could pose a problem but look for UCLA to advance to the Supers.

Vanderbilt: Vandy should coast through the Nashville regional.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets have Coastal Carolina and Auburn in the Atlanta regional. This one could get interesting. Give me GT to move on the Super Regional.

Georgia: The Dawgs have a future major league rotation playing currently in college. FSU in Mike Martin’s last year could cause some issues. Mercer playing in the Athens regional has nothing to lose. What if the UGA/Mercer game comes down to a Randon Jernigan vs Will Bowdoin matchup of former Glynn Academy Red Terrors teammates? Dawgs move on to host a Super Regional.

Arkansas: Are the Hogs on a mission in 2019? They were a foul ball catch away from being National Champs in 2018. Hogs win the Fayetteville Regional.

Miami: The Canes upset Mississippi State in the Starkville regional. State will choke at home.

North Carolina State: The Wolfpack beat East Carolina on their home turf to win the regional. This is a sleeper team folks and not a huge upset in the Greenville Regional.

Stanford: The Cardinal get a scare from UC Santa Barbara but move on.

Clemson: The Tigers win the Oxford regional over Ole Miss who have no business hosting a regional with 25 regular season losses.

Arizona State: Call me crazy but I think ASU beats LSU in the Baton Rouge regional.

Tennessee: The Vols shock the Tar Heels in the Chapel Hill regional and move to the Supers.

Louisville: The Cardinals coast through the regional they host.

Oklahoma State: Solid baseball program that will win their home regional and move on.

Oregon State: The Beavers have a great baseball program and will have no problem at home.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are solid, but the committee sent Florida to Lubbock. Texas Tech advances.

Texas A&M: The Aggies win the Morgantown Regional and send West Virginia packing. Solid pitching for A&M

Super Regionals Best 2 of 3:

Vanderbilt hosts Texas A&M: SEC Matchup. The Commodores are thinking Omaha and National Championship. Vandy in 2

NC State at Louisville: Wolfpack wins in 3

Miami at Stanford: Canes have to travel too far and get swept in 2.

Tennessee at GT: Going to be a great Super. Give me the Jackets in 3.

Oregon State at UCLA: Pac-12 matchup. UCLA in 2.

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech: Big-12 matchup. Give me Oklahoma State in 3 in an upset.

Clemson at Arkansas: The Hogs beat Clemson in 2, and roll into Omaha.

Arizona State at Georgia: Dawgs pitching gets by the Sun Devils in 2.

College World Series Teams:


NC State


Georgia Tech


Oklahoma State



Your 2019 National Champions: Vanderbilt. College baseball is a great game to watch.

Diamond Dominance

By: JJ Lanier news services

When it comes to sports in this country football is the top dog. The NFL is the most popular league and the only thing more fanatical than a college football fan is a southerner when asked “Ford or Chevy?”

Next in line is basketball. Even if you don’t watch any NBA regular season games, I imagine you’ve tuned into at least one playoff game this year, if not more. And is there a sporting event anywhere here that garners more attention and attraction from random people than March Madness?

After football and basketball comes baseball, of course. Major League Baseball may have seen a decline in overall ratings as it becomes a more “regional” sport, so they say, but I still watch every October regardless of who is playing.

Which leads me to college baseball; the one sport that is oftentimes ignored- especially compared to all the others I just mentioned- but where the SEC and ACC have seen even more success than, dare I say, football and basketball, respectively.

Over the past ten years an ACC or SEC school has won the College World Series six times. Ok, full disclosure, that’s a little misleading because five of those championships belong to the SEC. Over that same 10 year span, a team from either conference has made it to the finals in 9 of those years. The one time neither did was in 2015, when Coastal Carolina won the whole thing.

The dominance between both conferences is no different this year. Out of the 64 teams that made the regionals, 16 of those teams are from the ACC or SEC.

Out of the 16 site hosts for those regionals, half of them have been hosted by a team from either conference. (The split between the number of teams hosting their regional is actually four and four, just so you know that both conferences are carrying their weight equally.)

It probably goes without saying, but just in case you’re wondering, all eight of those teams finished the regular season in the Top 10. We haven’t seen this type of dominance since Joey Chestnut was introduced to hotdogs.

There are some great storylines among these teams, too. Can Florida, the overall number one seed, repeat as CWS champions for the first time since South Carolina repeated in 2010 and 2011?

You have Georgia, trying to get back to the CWS for the first time in a decade. And how about North Carolina, who is tied with Northern Colorado for the most World Series appearances (10) without a championship. Will this finally be the year?

Then there’s Duke, who hadn’t won a College World Series playoff game since what felt like the invention of baseball, until they defeated Campbell.

That doesn’t include teams like South Carolina or LSU, who have a long history of success.

Look, I get it; with all the other things going on in our daily lives it’s nearly impossible to keep up with every single sporting taking place. Up until a couple of days ago I couldn’t have told you anything about college baseball this year, not even the name of a single player on a single team. I wouldn’t have even known the playoffs had begun if someone hadn’t told me.

And shame on me, because as much as I love watching football and basketball, there may not be a sport our area dominates more than NCAA baseball. I mean, when was the last time a Coastal Carolina won a championship in either football or basketball.

The Streak

By: JJ Lanier news services

Let’s just go ahead and get this out in the open; I know next to nothing about college baseball and I am perfectly fine with that.

I don’t watch any games during the regular season. I don’t follow it at all during the tournament. I’m not even sure I could name a current player or coach. I’m about as knowledgeable about college baseball as and member of Metallica is about playing the piccolo.

So, why in the hell would someone who has absolutely no interest in a particular sport spend his time writing about it? Because, even I can appreciate when something extraordinary is happening.

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