ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
67°
Partly Cloudy
H 89° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    67°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 89° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 89° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    84°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 89° L 66°

Entertainment Headlines

    Country music star Travis Tritt was “really shaken” after witnessing a head-on fatal crash on Highway 22 in South Carolina early Saturday morning.  Tritt and his crew were leaving Myrtle Beach when the accident happened. “Thank God we are all okay,” he wrote. “I feel so bad for those who died needlessly tonight. I’m really shaken up by what I witnessed. God bless those who died.” >> See the tweet here Tritt, who lives in Hiram, Georgia, said he was told the accident was caused by a wrong-way driver who “was obviously driving drunk or impaired.”  He said his tour bus was sideswiped and sustained minor damage “as we tried to avoid the crash site in front of us.” >> Read more trending news  According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash occurred about 3 a.m. Saturday when a Jeep driving the wrong way on Highway 22 westbound struck a Dodge pickup truck, the Greenville News reported. The Jeep's driver and a truck passenger died in the wreck, authorities said. The truck's driver was treated at a nearby hospital. >> See the tweet here “I beg everyone to please, please, please drive sober,” Tritt tweeted. “Know when to admit that you are too impaired to drive.” Tritt and The Cadillac Three were scheduled to perform Saturday night at Anderson Music Hall in Hiawassee, Georgia. Read more here. – The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • Sammy Shore, an actor and standup comedian who co-founded the Comedy Store, died Saturday. He was 92. Through a spokeswoman, Shore's family said he died at his Las Vegas home surrounded by family. He was the father of actor-comedian Pauly Shore. Shore's nearly seven-decade career stretched from the 'Borscht Belt' summer resorts of New York's Catskill Mountains to Las Vegas to the studios of Hollywood. Shore began his career doing standup with Shecky Greene. Elvis Presley chose Shore as the opening act for his comeback tour, and the comedian opened for many others, including Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Ann-Margret, Connie Stevens, Bobby Darin, and Glen Campbell. In 1972, Shore, his first wife Mitzi and writing partner Rudy Deluca founded the world-famous Los Angeles comedy club, the Comedy Store. Pauly Shore, with whom he toured during the past 20 years, paid tribute Saturday to his father on Twitter. 'Dad, you lived an amazing life and I'm so proud to say that you are my father,' he wrote. 'When you're in heaven I'll be killing the crowds night after night and carrying on your legacy. Love you Dad. Rest in peace.' The elder Shore also appeared in a number of films, including 'The Bellboy' with Jerry Lewis and Mel Brooks' 'Life Stinks' and 'History of the World Part 1.' He also appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and was a guest on the Tony Orlando and Pointer Sisters' TV shows, as well as Redd Foxx's 'Sanford and Son.' Shore was also an author and recorded several albums. He also leaves behind his wife of 29 years, Suzanne.
  • The Latest on the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest (all times local): 2:00 a.m. The Netherlands is the winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Duncan Laurence's doleful piano ballad 'Arcade' was tapped as an early front-runner before Saturday's Grand Final. But it had to rely on the fan vote to secure the country's fifth win in the competition. Italy finished second, followed by Russia, Switzerland and Norway. Some 200 million people around the world were expected to watch the annual campy contest with 26 nations battling to be crowned Europe's best pop act. ___ 12:55 a.m. Europe's ultimate pop extravaganza is hosting the Queen of Pop. Madonna was the special guest Saturday at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv where 26 nations were battling to be crowned Europe's best pop act. Some 200 million people around the world are expected to be watching the annual campy contest. Israel earned the right to host the show after Netta Barzilai carried off last year's prize with her spunky pop anthem 'Toy.' Madonna had faced calls to boycott the event by a Palestinian-led campaign. But she rejected them, saying she will 'never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda.' Madonna performed her hit song, 'Like a Prayer,' marking 30 years to its release, and a new song 'Future' from her forthcoming album 'Madame X.' ___ 12:05 a.m. The 26 contestants in the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest have finished their acts. Now the voting gets underway. To maximize onscreen tension, performers are picked Saturday by a mix of fan votes and professional juries from the participating countries. Spectators cannot vote for their own country, but like-minded countries tend to fall into blocs that back their regional favorites. Israel earned the right to host the show after Netta Barzilai won last year with her spunky pop anthem 'Toy.' The Netherlands has been tapped as an early front-runner for Duncan Laurence's doleful piano ballad 'Arcade.' Other favorites include Switzerland's energetic 'She Got Me,' sung by Luca Hänni, Sweden's soulful 'Too Late for Love,' sung by John Lundvik, and Australia's breathy act, 'Zero Gravity,' by Kate Miller-Heidke. ___ 23:30 p.m. Iceland's controversial steampunk band Hatari has concluded their live performance without incident. The band had drawn attention in Israel by initially vowing to stay out, saying it would be 'absurd' to participate in Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians. Later, they vowed to use the Eurovision spotlight to expose the 'face of the occupation.' But at a press conference after the semifinal, Hatari offered a purely positive message. 'We need to unite and remember to love,' it said, in the wake of 'hate that's on the rise in Europe.' In Saturday's final they belted out their grinding metal rock to cheers from the audience. They are not a favorite to win. Calls for performers to boycott the show have failed to generate much momentum. ___ 23:20 Israel's prime minister has called the country's Eurovision representative to wish him luck in the contest. Benjamin Netanyahu's office says he spoke to Kobi Marimi Saturday night to tell him the 'the entire nation is supporting you.' Marimi, with his song 'Home,' is considered a long shot to win. He has a tough act to follow after Netta Barzilai won it all for Israel last year with her spunky pop anthem 'Toy.' Israel has won the Eurovision four previous times and it has provided the country with some cultural touchstones. 'Hallelujah' became the country's unofficial national song after Milk and Honey won the contest Israel hosted in the late 1970s, and Dana International became a national hero and global transgender icon when she won with 'Diva' in 1998. ___ 22:00 The Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest is under way. Europe's annual music extravaganza will crown one of 26 entries with dreams of following in the footsteps of past winners such as Swedish pop icons ABBA and Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland. The show is taking place at Tel Aviv's Expo Center, starting at 10 p.m. Saturday (1900 GMT.) Some 200 million people around the world are expected to be watching. Israel earned the right to host the show after Netta Barzilai carried off last year's prize with her spunky pop anthem 'Toy.' The show of European unity brings together acts from 41 countries, including those with little connection to Europe, such as Australia. The final round's winner will be influenced by TV viewers casting votes via text message.
  • Country music star Travis Tritt was “really shaken” after witnessing a head-on fatal crash on Highway 22 early Saturday morning.  Tritt and his crew were leaving Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when the accident happened. “Thank God we are all okay,” he wrote. “I feel so bad for those who died needlessly tonight. I’m really shaken up by what I witnessed. God bless those who died.” Tritt, a Georgia native who lives in Hiram, said he was told the accident was caused by a wrong-way driver who “was obviously driving drunk or impaired.”  » These are the most famous folks from Cobb County He said his tour bus was sideswiped and sustained minor damage “as we tried to avoid the crash site in front of us.” Horry County emergency crews responded to the wreck around 3 a.m. A Jeep traveling in the wrong direction crashed into a Chevrolet truck head-on, said Cpl. Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Charlotte Observer reported. The driver of the Jeep and a passenger in the truck were killed in the crash, Collins said. The driver of the truck went to the hospital. “I beg everyone to please, please, please drive sober,” Tritt tweeted. “Know when to admit that your are too impaired to drive.” Tritt and The Cadillac Three are scheduled to perform tonight at Anderson Music Hall in Hiawassee. 
  • The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv Saturday, with Duncan Laurence's doleful piano ballad 'Arcade' crowned champion of Europe's annual music extravaganza. The 25-year-old was tapped as an early front-runner before the Grand Final but was only ranked third after the vote of professional juries from the 41 participating countries, trailing Sweden and North Macedonia. He surged ahead thanks to the fan vote, securing The Netherlands its fifth win ever in the competition. Italy finished second, followed by Russia, Switzerland and Norway. 'This is to dreaming big. This is to music first, always,' Laurence said, as he was handed the trophy from last year's winner, Israel's Netta Barzilai. Some 200 million people around the world were believed to have watched the annual campy contest with 26 nations battling in the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision. Madonna was the star attraction, performing her hit staple, 'Like a Prayer,' marking 30 years since its release, and a new song 'Future' from her forthcoming album 'Madame X.' She took the stage after participants wrapped up their performances shortly after midnight when the elaborate voting process got underway across Europe. To maximize onscreen tension, performers are ranked by a mix of fan votes and professional juries. Spectators could not vote for their own country, but like-minded nations tend to fall into blocs that back their regional favorites, with politics meshing into art. The Eurovision debuted in the wake of World War II to heal a divided continent. Over the years, the earnest show of European unity has ballooned into an over-the-top, gay-friendly spectacle that brings together acts from across the continent, including those with little or no connection to Europe, such as Australia. Israel earned the right to host the show after Barzilai won last year's competition with her catchy pop anthem 'Toy.' The ostensibly non-political affair has tried to avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has largely succeeded, despite swirling threats of controversy. Calls for performers to boycott the show over Israeli policies toward Palestinians failed to generate much momentum. A small protest took place outside Tel Aviv's Expo Center before the show, following another one from musicians in Gaza earlier in the week. A recent round of rocket fire toward Israel from there also failed to temper excitement. Madonna herself had faced calls from a Palestinian-led campaign to avoid performing at the event in Israel. But the Queen of Pop rejected the boycott motions, saying she will 'never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda.' Still, two of her embracing dancers sported the flags of Israel and the Palestinians on their backs. All eyes were on Iceland's controversial steampunk band Hatari, which had drawn attention for initially saying it would be 'absurd' to participate in Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians. They had vowed to use the Eurovision spotlight to expose the 'face of the occupation,' but their live performance of grinding metal rock passed without incident. Only at the end of the broadcast, when their final vote tally was announced, did they whip out a Palestinian flag, to sounds of boos from the audience. For Israel, the mega event offered a much-anticipated opportunity to put its good face forward and project an image of normalcy to the world. Israel-themed promotional clips featuring each of the participants dancing in various scenic locations across the country streamed before each performance to a TV audience expected to be larger than that of the Super Bowl. The event itself was being hosted by a quartet of Israeli celebrities, including top model Bar Refaeli. Israel's own Wonder Woman Gal Gadot also made a cameo video appearance. The Tel Aviv hall was packed with thousands of screaming fans, while tens of thousands gathered to watch the final at the city-sponsored Eurovision village in Tel Aviv and at public screenings elsewhere. As the reigning champion, Israel swept straight through to the finals — along with the five European countries who most heavily funded the event. The other 20 participants qualified through a pair of semifinal rounds. Sweden's soulful 'Too Late for Love,' sung by John Lundvik, topped the professional jury vote and seemed to be on its way to carrying forward Sweden's successful Eurovision track record 45 years after Swedish icons ABBA won with 'Waterloo.' Israel has won the Eurovision four previous times and it has provided the country with some of its cultural touchstones. 'Hallelujah' became the country's unofficial national song after Milk and Honey won the contest for Israel when it hosted the event in the late 1970s, and Dana International became a national hero and global transgender icon when she won with 'Diva' in 1998. Barzilai became a role model for plus-size women after her win last year. She has been unapologetic about her weight, the loud colors she wears, and the funky chicken moves and sounds that have become her trademark. All of Israel's former winners took part in Saturday's event with Barzilai and Dana International ceremoniously getting it underway. ____ Follow Heller at www.twitter.con/aronhellerap
  • Ahead of Saturday's premiere of an Argentine documentary on abortion, dozens of women demonstrated for abortion rights on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Women, including the filmmakers and activists seen in the film, waved green handkerchiefs and carried a large banner while walking the Cannes carpet at the premiere of Argentine director Juan Solanas' 'Let It Be Law.' The documentary depicts Argentina's battle to legalize abortion. Argentina's Senate last year rejected a bill to legalize abortion, prompting protests in Buenos Aires streets. Green handkerchiefs have come to be symbol of the movement. A modified version of the bill is to be presented to Congress on May 28. The film's debut comes as abortion rights are also being fiercely contested in the U.S. On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, including those involving pregnancies from rape or incest. Many in the movie industry in Cannes have followed the developments in the U.S. with concern. 'What's happening in Alabama is so important in the world,' Eva Longoria, who produced the Netflix documentary 'Reversing Roe,' said Friday at a 'Women in Motion' event in Cannes. 'It's going to affect everybody if we don't pay attention.
  • Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was assaulted during a public appearance in South Africa on Saturday, but the 71-year-old quickly recovered and said, 'I'm just glad the idiot didn't interrupt my Snapchat.' Video shows the former California governor standing and filming children at a sporting event in Johannesburg when a man makes a flying kick into his back. Schwarzenegger stumbles forward. The man is quickly grabbed by security. Off camera a man shouts several times 'Help me!' The video shortly afterward shows Schwarzenegger smiling and shaking hands with bystanders before walking out ringed by security. Schwarzenegger later posted on Twitter: 'Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about. I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you. I'm just glad the idiot didn't interrupt my Snapchat.' Schwarzenegger also tweeted a second video of the incident 'without whatever he was yelling so he doesn't get the spotlight.' 'By the way...' he joked, 'block or charge?' Schwarzenegger had been attending his Arnold Classic Africa event, which features dozens of sports and fitness activities. In a separate Twitter post, the event blamed a 'crazed fan' for the assault. The statement cited organizer Wayne Price as saying the assailant was 'known to the police for orchestrating similar incidents in the past' and that Schwarzenegger was 'fine and still in good spirits.' The actor confirmed he had no intention of pursuing charges and would continue with another appearance on Sunday as planned, the statement said. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • The Smithsonian's initiative on documenting Asians in America started humbly enough two decades ago, with a borrowed exhibit in a borrowed museum wing and a tiny staff. There was a National Museum of the American Indian attached to the Smithsonian, and progress was being made toward a museum on the National Mall celebrating African Americans' history. But Asian Americans in the 1990s remained a largely invisible population, with few people represented in entertainment, politics, sports or business. Those years were tough, said Franklin Odo, director at the time of the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American program. 'Whenever we needed to do a public lecture or exhibit, I had to go beg one of these other institutions to lend a space,' Odo said. 'We had to really convince our colleagues that this was a field, this was a demographic ... that needed to be recognized and needed to be held with some respect.' On Saturday, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center launches a $25 million fundraising drive for permanent gallery space on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with a glitzy party in Los Angeles full of celebrities and politicians. Several actors from the hit film 'Crazy Rich Asians' are expected to attend, along with Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Doris Matsui, both Democrats representing California. If successful, an Asian American gallery could join museums and galleries dedicated to other historically underrepresented groups that have staked out space in a national park that is quintessentially American. Millions of people visit the National Mall every year to tour the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the treasures of the Smithsonian. 'The ability to have that visibility and recognition is so important,' said Lisa Sasaki, the center's director. Despite temporary exhibits along the mall, she said, 'there has never been a dedicated space where the public could consistently visit and find out about the history and culture of Asian Americans.' Asian Americans are the nation's fastest-growing minority and number about 20 million, or roughly 6% of the population. They come from more than 20 countries, with the largest populations from China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea and Japan. They range from recent immigrants to descendants of laborers who migrated in the 19th century to build the Transcontinental Railroad and work sugar cane fields in Hawaii. Museum presence is huge, says Laura Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. 'Museums preserve what's important to society. They tell our stories, give historical context to contemporary issues and help us imagine a better future,' she said. Odo, the former director, said he had one part-time staffer and no exhibits of his own when the program began in 1997, so he borrowed one from a Los Angeles museum for the program's first installation, about the evolution of field lunches of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. He says the Asian American community has evolved enough as an identity to support a permanent gallery dedicated to their shared experience in America. 'I don't know that we have an Oprah,' Odo said, referring to Oprah Winfrey's charitable foundation, which donated $21 million for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. But 'we have lots of people with immense means, so there's no question in my mind we can do it.' It's too early to say how large a gallery would be or when it might be secured, but Sasaki says they are looking at several locations along the mall. The 4,500-square-foot (418-square-meter) Molina Family Latino Gallery is scheduled to open in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 2021. Sasaki says $25 million is a fundraising goal for phase one of the project. Congressional approval is not required for a gallery within existing space, unlike the stand-alone 400,000-square-foot (37,160-square-meter) National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016 . The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is conscious of showing not just how Asians came to America, but how they have shaped American history. An example is a pin marking a successful 1960s grape boycott led by Mexican American and Filipino American laborers, who chose to band together. 'It tells a richer story about California history,' said Theodore Gonzalves, a Smithsonian curator. At Saturday's party, the iconic blue dress worn by Constance Wu's character in 'Crazy Rich Asians' will be presented as a donation from Marchesa to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The 2018 Hollywood film was the first in 25 years to feature an all Asian and Asian American cast. Organizers will also honor people and organizations at the gala, including hip-hop artist Jay Park and R&B jazz band Hiroshima. Helene An and her family will receive the 'Pioneer Award in Culinary Arts' for their role in introducing Vietnamese cuisine to mainstream Americans. An was a war refugee who landed in San Francisco in 1975, where her mother-in-law had bought an Italian diner and turned it into what they say was the city's first Vietnamese restaurant. An early menu lists 85-cent bowls of pho, the noodle soup that's become a dining staple in some U.S. cities. The diner became Thanh Long, a San Francisco best-of renowned for its signature roast crab and savory-sweet garlic noodles. The two dishes are so coveted they are prepared in a secret kitchen within the main kitchen. The House of AN, of which Helene is master chef, has grown to include several restaurants in California, a catering service and a cookbook. Chief executive Elizabeth An, 51, says her mother and family are honored to receive the award. 'My mother and grandmother cooked out of love but also as a necessity to survive, to give my sisters and me the best life possible,' she said. 'In doing so, we also shared our heritage and gave a voice to the Asian American immigrants in this country.' ___ Janie Har is a member of the AP's race and ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter @janiehar
  • Actor Matthew McConaughey has finally received his high school diploma, more than 30 years after graduating. McConaughey was given his original diploma Friday night when he returned to his Texas alma mater to address the class of 2019. A Longview High School spokeswoman told the Longview News-Journal that graduates normally receive diploma holders during commencement ceremonies and that the actual diplomas must be picked up later. She said McConaughey never got his. The 49-year-old graduated from Longview in 1988. He responded to receiving his diploma with one word: 'proof.' McConaughey lives in Austin. He won an Oscar for his performance in 'Dallas Buyers Club.' He told the new graduates that he'd succeeded because he followed his heart, and that they should guard and follow theirs.
  • Thirty-nine years later, Jack is still not a dull boy. In a new pristine restoration, Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening. It was the second straight year that a Kubrick movie landed on the Croisette, following last year when Christopher Nolan brought what he termed an 'unrestored' cut of '2001: A Space Odyssey.' This time around, Alfonso Cuaron introduced the film, alongside Kubrick's daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and Leon Vitali, Kubrick's longtime assistant. Vitali was himself profiled in the 2017 documentary 'Filmworker,' also a Cannes entry. 'If anybody hasn't seen it on the screen before, it's a different experience completely,' Vitali told the crowd. 'Don't worry, you'll all come out of here alive.' Cuaron's presence in Cannes was notable. His film 'Roma' was set to premiere at the French festival last year. But when Netflix and the festival couldn't agree on distribution terms for the streaming giant's films, Netflix pulled out of Cannes and 'Roma' headed instead to the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion prize. Cuaron didn't oversee 'The Shining' restoration. That role went to Steven Spielberg, whose 2018 sci-fi thriller 'Ready Player One' included a lengthy homage to 'The Shining.' But Cuaron lavished praise on 'The Shining' while playfully prodding conspiracy theorists that dig into the film for hidden meanings. 'Actually, tonight, we're going to watch it backwards, because backwards, we'll see it with the message Kubrick (intended),' joked Cuaron. The 2012 documentary 'Room 237' chronicled some of those theories, including that 'The Shining' is really about the moon landing or about the treatment of Native Americans. Katharina Kubrick used an expletive to describe the guessing games around 'The Shining.' 'This is a seriously cool ghost movie. Don't believe any of the conspiracy theories because it's all s---,' she said. 'I only said that because I've had some champagne.' Cuaron agreed. 'Kubrick would have really gotten a laugh out of all of these conspiracy theories,' said the director. 'By all reports, he believed in films not to be explained but to be experienced. A little bit like music, he used to say.' 'The Shining' restoration will be released on home video Oct. 1. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Local News

  • President Jimmy Carter will not teach Sunday school in Plains as he originally planned.  The Carter Center released a statement Saturday saying that the former president 'underestimated the time he would need to recover' from his recent hip replacement surgery.  Carter, the oldest living president at 94, broke his hip Monday when he fell at his home in Plains. The surgery took place at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus. He was released from the hospital Thursday. We'll be LIVE in Plains where the former president is recovering. We'll have the latest on Carter's recovery, on Channel 2 Action News Sunday AM. TRENDING STORIES: Celebrity chef offers to hire lunch lady fired after giving lunch to student who couldn't pay Woman poses as sheriff, releases boyfriend from jail Plumbing fails hours before Preakness Stakes Carter still teaches Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church when he is able and planned to teach this weekend. 'He and his wife, Rosalynn, appreciate everyone's support and prayers and apologize for any inconvenience to those who traveled to hear his lesson,' The Carter Center wrote.  Carter's niece, Kim Fuller, will teach the lesson instead. 
  • Country music star Travis Tritt was “really shaken” after witnessing a head-on fatal crash on Highway 22 early Saturday morning.  Tritt and his crew were leaving Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when the accident happened. “Thank God we are all okay,” he wrote. “I feel so bad for those who died needlessly tonight. I’m really shaken up by what I witnessed. God bless those who died.” Tritt, a Georgia native who lives in Hiram, said he was told the accident was caused by a wrong-way driver who “was obviously driving drunk or impaired.”  » These are the most famous folks from Cobb County He said his tour bus was sideswiped and sustained minor damage “as we tried to avoid the crash site in front of us.” Horry County emergency crews responded to the wreck around 3 a.m. A Jeep traveling in the wrong direction crashed into a Chevrolet truck head-on, said Cpl. Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Charlotte Observer reported. The driver of the Jeep and a passenger in the truck were killed in the crash, Collins said. The driver of the truck went to the hospital. “I beg everyone to please, please, please drive sober,” Tritt tweeted. “Know when to admit that your are too impaired to drive.” Tritt and The Cadillac Three are scheduled to perform tonight at Anderson Music Hall in Hiawassee. 
  •  Athens wins a national water quality contest. From the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office... Athens-Clarke County was named one of five national winners in the 8th Annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. As part of the challenge, residents pledged to reduce their water use by 73.2 million gallons of water over the next year and to undertake behaviors ranging from fixing home leaks to reducing harmful runoff into local rivers and streams. The annual month-long public awareness campaign to improve drought resiliency and water quality was promoted by the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office and ended on April 30 with mayors from 35 states vying to see whose city could be the nation’s most 'water wise.' 'The challenge is about reminding people across the country that we all need to work together to manage our water resources,' said marine life artist Wyland, who founded the Wyland Foundation in 1993. 'The campaign shows that there are many ways to do that, but it all starts with simple actions that most of us can do every day that make a big difference over time.' Residents from winning cities will now be entered into a drawing for thousands of dollars in water-saving or eco-friendly prizes, including $3,000 toward their annual home utility bill, 'Greening Your Home' cleaning kits from Earth Friendly Products (ECOS), home irrigation equipment from The Toro Company, and a water fixture makeover for a local school from Ecosystems LLC. A $500 home improvement store shopping spree will also be chosen from among the entire pool of U.S. participants. Additionally, participating residents were asked to nominate a deserving charity in their community to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Residents from Athens-Clarke County also pledged to reduce their use of 202,756 single-use plastic water bottles and eliminate 4,340 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, residents pledged to send 1.9 million fewer pounds of waste to area landfills. Potential savings of 550,000 gallons of oil, 315 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 4.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and $941,655 in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results. In addition to reducing water use, Athens-Clarke County collected more pledges than Gainesville, FL to win a friendly wager between the two cities, thus ensuring ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz would not have to don orange and blue while doing the 'Gator Chomp' during a future Mayor and Commission meeting. Instead, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe will wear red and black while 'Calling the Dawgs' at an upcoming Gainsville City Commission meeting. Athens-Clarke County won in the population category of 100,000 to 299,999. Other winners were Rexburg, ID (5,000-29,999); Palm Coast, FL (30,000-99,999); Tucson, AZ (300,000-599,999); and Columbus, OH (600,000+). For more information on the challenge, visit www.mywaterpledge.com. The challenge, presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Earth Friendly Products – maker of ECOS, Ecosystems, LLC, and Conserva Irrigation, addresses the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they use water.
  • Georgia softball will make its 18th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this week as the Bulldogs travel to Minneapolis for regional action. #14 Georgia will open tournament play Friday against #25 Drake at 7 p.m., ET.    National seed #7 Minnesota hosts the regional that also features North Dakota State. The Minneapolis Regional is the only regional in the field that features three teams ranked in the most recent USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and all four teams to have 40 or more wins.   Follow the Bulldogs » The Minneapolis Regional will air nationally on the networks of ESPN. Courtney Lyle and Amanda Scarborough will be on the call from Minneapolis.  » All games will be streamed live via Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.  » Live stats will be available for the Minneapolis Regional. Live stat links can be found on the softball schedule at GeorgiaDogs.com. » Live Twitter updates will be available at the official Twitter page of Georgia softball, @UGAsoftball.   BULLDOGS BULLETIN Series Histories Minnesota » Georgia leads the all-time series 4-2 » The Bulldogs and Gophers first met in North Carolina in 1998. The teams have met five times since, all in Athens (2010, 2012, 2016) » Minnesota won the first-ever meeting as well as the most recent  » The Bulldogs and Gophers have never met in the postseason  Drake  » Georgia leads the all-time series 2-0  » The only meetings came back on Mar. 25, 1998 in Athens; Georgia won 2-0, 1-0 North Dakota State » Georgia leads the all-time series 2-1 » All three meetings have been in Athens, first in 2011 then twice in 2013 » North Dakota State won the last meeting, 3-0   NCAA Tournament Tidbits » Georgia softball will make its 18th-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance this weekend  » Georgia is 67-37 all-time in NCAA Tournament action, advancing to 10 Super Regionals and four Women's College World Series. The 2009 and 2010 seasons saw the Bulldogs advance to the Final Four » In regional action alone, Georgia is 48-17 » In regionals away from Athens, Georgia is 21-11 all-time. Georgia has swept regionals on the road twice, 2008 and 2009  » Georgia will appear in Minneapolis for the NCAA Tournament for the first time » In 17 Regional appearances, Georgia has been on the road eight times. Three of those eight saw the Bulldogs emerge to go on and play in a Super Regional (2008, 09, 14). Only once has Georgia opened on the road in regional play and advance to a Women's College World Series (2009)    A Look Back Georgia trekked to College Station, Texas for the SEC Tournament last week. The Bulldogs opened play against Arkansas on Thursday. Georgia defeated the Razorbacks 4-1 for its first SEC Tournament win since 2015. The Bulldogs had to turn around to play that evening against top-seeded Alabama. The eight-inning game saw the Tide walk off, 2-1, ending Georgia's six-game winning streak.    Georgia in the Polls The Bulldogs dropped a spot to #14 in the week 14 USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll while jumping a spot to #16 in the USA Softball/ESPN.com Poll.    DiCarlo a Top 10 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Senior Alyssa DiCarlo has been named a top-10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. She becomes only the second Bulldog to earn a top-10 finalist spot. The 2019 season is the seventh season Georgia has placed a student-athlete in the top 25. Alisa Goler (2009) is Georgia's only other top-10 finalist in the history of the award. DiCarlo is one of four from the Southeastern Conference to appear on the list. The Top 3 Finalists will be announced on May 22. The 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 28.    Three Bulldogs Earn All-SEC Honors Senior Alyssa DiCarlo was chosen by the league's head coaches as a First Team All-SEC performer. Junior Ciara Bryan earned Second Team All-SEC accolades while rookie Lacey Fincher gained a spot on the Freshman All-SEC Team. DiCarlo, a native of Glendale, Arizona, concludes her career as a four-time All-SEC performer, this is her third time on the First Team, earning Second Team as a sophomore in 2017. Bryan makes her debut on an all-conference team in 2019. A native of Covington, Georgia, Bryan has been Georgia's top hitter in league play, hitting a team-best .310 while slugging .521 against conference opponents. In the field, Fincher began the season starting as the designated player before taking over duties at first base in early March. She's made appearances at short, behind the plate, and in the outfield throughout the season.   Avant Lands on SEC Community Service Team Junior Mary Wilson Avant was named to the 2019 SEC Softball Community Service Team. Avant, a pitcher from Macon, Georgia, has participated in such community service events such as the Special Olympics of Northeast Georgia including the Hometown Rivals baseball game, UGA HEROs where she has fundraised and served as a committee member with the purpose of improving the quality of life for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and Shop With A Bulldog where she has served as a mentor and raised funds to assist in providing clothing and personal supplies for underprivileged children.   Congrats, Grads!  Four Georgia softball student-athletes including Kylie Bass (Human Development and Family Science), Kendall Burton (Communication Studies), Cortni Emanuel (Masters in Sport Management), and Brittany Gray (Communication Studies) all earned their degrees at Commencement services Friday, May 10.    Thank you, Seniors!  Georgia honored the careers of two seniors who played their finals regular season games at Jack Turner Stadium: Kylie Bass and Alyssa DiCarlo. The two will go down among the best to wear the Red & Black. Bass will finish among career top-10 performers in ERA, wins, appearances, opponent batting average, and strikeouts. In her senior campaign, DiCarlo has broken Georgia's career records for home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, and total bases while raking among the top-10 in batting average, hits, at bats, runs, doubles, slugging, on-base percentage, walks, sacrifice flies, and assists. 
  • LaKeisha Gantt has been chosen as the president of the Clarke County Board of Education. The Board met in a special called session Thursday to vote on a replacement for departing School Board president Jared Bybee, who is leaving Athens for a job in California. Gantt won her seat on the Clarke County School Board in last year’s elections, defeating former incumbent Carol Williams to claim the District 7 seat. She has worked as a behavioral specialist in school districts and is now a counselor at the University of Georgia. 

Bulldog News

  • CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The symmetry appears uncanny on the surface, but Lawrence Cager’s football journey has been filled with twists and turns. Ultimately, Cager believes, fate has brought him to where he belongs and needs to be. Cager  hosted Georgia receiver J.J. Holloman when Holloman visited Miami as a prospect in November of 2016. A little more than two years later, Holloman was Cager’s host in Athens, Ga., for the Hurricane receiver’s visit last February. The two hit it off so well that they’re going to be roommates when Cager arrives in Athens on May 28 with business degree in hand and a national championship on his mind. “J.J. is like family to me,” Cager told DawgNation last weekend. “Out of high school, I wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog from the jump.” Cager has impact player written all over him, ready for a break-out season after a career-high 21 catches for 374 yards last season. Smart said more than once he’s concerned about the Georgia receiver position after four of the top five pass catchers from last season moved on. Cager is already on NFL radar, his 6-foot-5, 218-pound frame and impressive jumping ability leading to a team-high six TDs in 2018 at Miami. RELATED: Cager among four UGA players on Senior Bowl early radar It’s fair to assume Cager will be in the Red Zone mix at Georgia. Cager was recruited to Miami by current Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley, choosing the Hurricanes over Alabama and playing the 2015 season with Coley as his coordinator. “God works in mysterious ways,” Cager said. “I’m here now with the coach I loved at Miami (Coley), and the coach I loved at Alabama (Kirby Smart), so I couldn’t ask to be in a better position.”   Play ball! Growing up in baseball-crazy Baltimore, Cager fancied himself a future major leaguer and didn’t take football serious entering into his freshman year at Calvert Hall College High School in Maryland. Former five-time all-star Tori Hunter came to watch Cager hit when he was in eighth grade, and Lawrence’s high school coach was a regional scout for the Detroit Tigers. All signs pointed to baseball. Until they didn’t. Cager played football as a freshman “just to have fun” when coach Devin Redd, the CEO and co-founder of Baltimore’s Next Level Nation, altered Cager’s life with his observation. “Devin Redd said I could play on Sundays,” Cager said. “He told me ’you have something people don’t have; you move like a 5-foot-11 guy but you’re 6-5.” Cager scored 15 touchdowns and had more than 1,000 yards receiving as a freshman before moving up to varsity as a sophomore, a three-sport athlete also playing basketball and baseball. “Lawrence’s ascent began when he came into high school,” Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. “He wasn’t sure what direction he would go in; he dabbled in baseball, at one point thought about soccer, and he was a very good at baseball.” Then Cager decided to go out for track his junior year, and he ended up at the Penn Relays and Nationals, clearing 6-foot-11. By then, however, Cager had decided on football. “I knew football would take me where I needed to go,” Cager said, “when I got my first offers from Oregon State and Toledo my sophomore year.” Silent commit A strong showing at a Nike Camp in New Jersey led Cager to receive an invite to The Opening in 2014. Future Georgia receiver Terry Godwin was also there. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer invited Cager to the Buckeyes’ famed “Friday Night Lights” recruiting event, and Cager and his family were so impressed that he made a silent commitment on July 25, 2014. Cager already had an Alabama offer in hand, and then Michigan State offered, along with Notre Dame, Miami, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Nebraska. Cager found himself intrigued and wanted to take visits, particularly to the Top 5 Mississippi State-Alabama matchup in 2014. “The fact I wanted to visit there told me I didn’t need to be committed,” Cager said. “I wanted to see other schools before I could know.” Cager’s parents were pushing for Wake Forest because of the academics there, so the Deacons got the first official visit followed by Virginia Tech, and then Cager’s visit to the Michigan-Ohio State game. Cager headed to the U.S. Army All-American Game thinking he wanted to go to Alabama, while his parents were still encouraging him to go to Wake Forest. Shower commit Cager told the CBS team at the U.S. Army All-American Game he was going to commit to Alabama, live at halftime, during the Jan. 3 broadcast. But behind the scenes Cager’s parents were telling hm to re-think it; there was uncertainty over whether offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin would be returning to the staff the next season. “It was a tough phone call to Nick Saban,” Cager said of the days leading up to the game. Once game day arrived, Cager had an issue on his hands: A spot on CBS to commit before a live national audience, but uncertainty as to which school that would be. “During warm-ups before the game, I was trying to figure out which school I’m going to commit to,” Cager said. “So while everyone else is on the field getting ready to play, I was in the shower room calling schools … some were answering, but they said they’d already had a commitment or were full at the position.” That included Georgia when Cager reached out to Mark Richt. “They told me they were full, because Jayson Stanley had committed,” Cager said. “Coach Coley was the only one at a school I liked who would take my commit. “He said, ‘Change the game!’’ “ Cager’s coach told then-Miami head coach AL Golden that it was a TV commit. Cager was scheduled to visit Alabama the following Saturday, and then he’d visit Miami. “So I committed on TV to Miami without ever being in Miami in my life,” Cager said, laughing at the naivety of his youth. “It’s funny how God works, because that’s how he put Coach Coley in my life.” Until he wasn’t. Lawrence Cager’s upside has him on NFL radar. Rob Floyd/ Getty Images The Richt Years The score was 58-0 on Oct. 25, 2015, Clemson handing Miami the worst loss in the Hurricanes’ 90-year football history. “I know it isn’t far from outhouse to penthouse,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said, according ESPN. “I don’t celebrate anything from Miami’s bad day. I feel for him. I hate it, man.  Hurricanes’ coach Al Golden hated it even more when he was fired the next day, making way for Larry Scott to assume interim duties. Miami won the remained of the regular season games, but the Hurricanes elected to go with suddenly available Richt, a school alum who had parted ways with Georgia. RELATED: Mark Richt praised by rivals Saban, Fulmer, Spurrier Cager couldn’t wait to build off his freshman season, but then things took a turn for the worst — specifically, his knee. “I tore my ACL on the last play, on the last day of the last week of 7on -7 drills before camp, back in July of 2016 going into my sophomore season,” Cager said. “I was determined to come back quicker than they projected, so I was in the training room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until I could walk.” Cager was running in two weeks and running in three months, ready for spring drills, but Richt held him out as a precaution. The 2017 season, however, was at best “up and down” Cager said. “You think you won’t think about it (surgically repaired knee), but it’s in the back of your head, that what if I do this, or I do that, and I might hurt it again,” Cager said. Finally recovered, Cager was ready for a big redshirt junior season in 2018, but the Hurricanes’ offense struggled. The quarterback position was a revolving door, and the lack of consistency under center translated to a hot-and-cold passing game. Richt stepped down after the season, and Cager decided to exercise his eligibility as a graduate transfer. Georgia, with Coley recently promoted to offensive coordinator, was the first to call. “Kirby was like, ‘I’m not going to lose you this time, right?’ “ Cager said. “ ‘You’re going to come home now.’ “My mind went to Athens as soon as I made a decision to be a Bulldog, I felt right at home.” DawgNation in South Florida Kenny McIntosh draws comparisons to Sony Michel, Jordan Scarlett Lawrence Cager eager for Georgia touch down ’The Blueprint,’ championship plans for South Florida star Lawrence Cager with DawgNation   The post The fascinating story of how Lawrence Cager ended up at Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Kirby Smart has no intentions of leaving his post as Georgia football coach any time in the near future — or ever, for that matter. “Why would I leave home?” Smart said Thursday night in his hometown of Bainbridge, Ga., during a question and answer session,  according The Post Searchlight. “I have more passion and energy in my heart for the University of Georgia than you’ll ever realize,” Smart said. “Because it did more for me than anything I’ve been to in my life.” Smart was an All-SEC safety at Georgia and four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (1995-98), graduating from UGA’s celebrated Terry College of Business. Smart began his coaching career with the Bulldogs as an administrative assistant on Jim Donnan’s staff in 1999. He returned in 2005 to serve as an assistant to former coach Mark Richt. RELATED: Brandon Adams podcast discusses Kirby Smart as Georgia ‘coach for life’ Smart’s 32-10 record as Georgia’s head coach marks the highest winning percentage (.762) in UGA history. The Bulldogs recently had seven players selected in the 2019 NFL draft and are poised to break the program record next year as Smart enters his fourth season at the helm. RELATED: Kirby Smart’s 2020 draft class will set record Only 43 years old, Smart has already delivered an SEC Championship. UGA was seconds away from the College Football Playoff Championship in 2017 and narrowly missed a second College Football Playoff appearance in 2018. Smart has been paid appropriately for his success. He draws a $7 million per year salary as part of the seven-year, $49 million contract extension he signed last year. Still, there has been speculation that the NFL or Alabama might one day lure Smart away from his alma mater, as it has many other great coaches. Florida’s Steve Spurrier is a prime example. Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy winner for the Gators who came back to coach his alma mater for 12 years (1990-2001) before leaving for the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Spurrier ultimately returned to college coaching, but he did so at South Carolina, where he coached another 11 years. Smart could be different in the sense that he grew up and played his high school football in Georgia, whereas Spurrier was raised in Tennessee. RELATED: AJC columnist Mark Bradley asks, could Smart coach UGA for life? Smart’s appearance at the Bainbridge football fundraiser at the Bainbridge Country Club on Thursday night served as evidence of his loyal nature. “I get asked to speak a lot, but I asked to speak at this event,” Smart said, according to his hometown newspaper. “You got me now because you put Bainbridge back on the map, put it where it’s supposed to be.” Bainbridge, where Smart starred before choosing Georgia, beat Warner Robins 47-41 in triple overtime of the Class AAAAA State Championship Game last season. Smart shared how Bainbridge is what led him to the national level of success he’s enjoying at Georgia. “I had the great fortune of going (to Georgia),” Smart said. “Probably would have never gotten there without some of the great people in this room. “I assure you, it was what drove me to success.” Smart has been proactive designing future success for Georgia as well. It is Smart who is spearheading UGA’s aggressive scheduling model and seeking a facilities blueprint aimed at keeping the Bulldogs an annual title contender. RELATED: Smart shares visionary side of Georgia scheduling plan The Bulldogs recently scheduled a future home-and-home series with Oklahoma in 2023 (away) and 2031 (Athens). Smart’s comments this week make it clear he plans to be on the sideline for both, in Norman, and between the hedges in his “home.” More Kirby Smart DawgNation coverage • Kirby Smart takes playful jab at Florida • WATCH: Kirby Smart shares two most meaningful Georgia wins, bucket list • MORE: Kirby Smart ‘no regrets’ on Justin Fields’ situation • Kirby Smart says ‘We want to talk with our helmets’ • Kirby Smart makes key point defending Jake Fromm The post Kirby Smart plans to coach Georgia infinitely: ‘Why would I leave home’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Having presided every one of what is now 33 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for Georgia, women’s tennis coach Jeff Wallace was asked if heading to Orlando this week to compete in the championship rounds seemed like old hat for him. Without missing a beat, Wallace pointed to the wide-brimmed, black sun hat atop his head – power G on the front — and deadpanned, “this is a new hat.” Georgia’s No. 2 doubles team of Elena Christofi and Vivian Wolff is undefeated this season at 16-0. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA Athletics) Wallace is representative of his top-seeded and No. 2-ranked squad as it prepares for its Elite Eight matchup with Vanderbilt (19-7) on Friday. The Bulldogs (26-1) are upbeat, loose and confident as they make yet another run at a national championship. Wallace’s latest team might be his best one. It stood undefeated before finally blinking against a very good South Carolina team in the SEC Tournament finals. Since the calendar flipped to spring the Bulldogs have logged 12 4-0 victories. “Every year’s different; it’s hard to do comparisons,” Wallace said of how this group stacks up against his all-time best teams. “This has been a special year, when you win a national indoor title and you go undefeated in the regular season and win the SEC. But our goal all year has been to play our best tennis this coming weekend and that’s what we’re striving for.” Next in the pathway is Vanderbilt, a team Georgia already has beaten twice. The latest was a 4-1 drubbing in the final regular-season match. But the Commodores pushed them to 4-3 in the National Indoor semifinals back in early February in Seattle. The Bulldogs were ranked 5 to Vandy’s No. 2 at the time. “I think it’s a good thing,” junior Elena Christofi said of having to play Vandy a third time. “They know us but we also know them. We have an idea about what to expect and can share strategies with our teammates about who they face. We know what’s worked and we can do it again.” In an epic comeback, Christofi rallied from an 0-5 third-set deficit and fought off two match points to defeat Emily Smith 7-5 for Georgia to clinch that match. She is 15-2 on Court 5 this season. Christofi and sophomore Vivian Wolff are undefeated (16-0) at No. 2 doubles for the Bulldogs. Not coincidentally, Georgia has won 21 of 26 doubles points this season. From top to bottom the Bulldogs are a well-balanced squad of youthful talent and grizzled experience. No. 2-ranked Katarina Jokic leads the at No. 1 singles. Freshmen Lourdes Carle (23-6) and Meg Kowalski (23-1) have come in and dominated the competition at Nos. 3 and 6, respectively. Christofi and fellow junior Marta Gonzalez (ranked 19th in singles and playing No. 2) provide leadership. All but the two freshmen were around last year when the Bulldogs were bounced at this point. They lost to Stanford, the eventual NCAA champion. “The vibe is really, really positive,” Christofi said. “All of us are super pumped and excited to go to Orlando. Being in the Elite 8 is what we’ve worked for. Now we have an opportunity to show our work.” Just to add to the positivity, the Bulldogs added another team member this week. Head coach Drake Bernstein and his wife Cassidy had their first child Monday night, Brody, a boy. So it was with great optimism that Georgia boarded its flight for Orlando Tuesday. But this will be new territory. The Bulldogs, like many other teams, are making their first visit to the expansive USTA National Training Center in Lake Nona. The 100-court facility was thought to be a factor in the NCAA’s decision to skip over Athens as an NCAA Championship site when bids were accepted through 2022. “It’s going to be a new experience for me and for all of us,” Wallace said. “I’ll tell you what I think when I get back. I’m very, very biased. There’s no better place than ours and we’d love to get the NCAA Tournament back here and that’s our goal and hope.” The post No. 1 Georgia tennis heads to Orlando intent on returning with another NCAA championship appeared first on DawgNation.
  • University of Georgia sophomore right-hander Emerson Hancock has been named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, USA Baseball announced Wednesday. Hancock, who owns a 7-2 record and 1.31 Earned Run Average (ERA) this year is one of 25 semifinalists. The Golden Spikes Award annually goes to the top amateur baseball player in the country and USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the award since 2013. The finalists will be announced on May 29, and the winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.   A 6-4, 215-pound native of Cairo, Ga., Hancock is the fourth Bulldog in school history to be named a semifinalist, joining shortstop Gordon Beckham (a finalist in 2008), pitcher Joshua Fields (2008) and first baseman Rich Poythress (2009). Hancock leads the nation in Fewest Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (4.4) and WHIP (0.73) {Walks Plus Hits Per Innings Pitched} and is fifth in ERA (1.31). He has made 11 starts, tallying 75.2 innings with 81 strikeouts and only 18 walks. He has been one of the aces for the Bulldogs who are ranked No. 7 nationally with a 39-14 record including 18-9 in the SEC. Hancock is slated to pitch game three of the Alabama series at Foley Field on Saturday at 2 p.m.  “The twenty-five student-athletes honored as Golden Spikes Award semifinalists this year highlight the depth of elite amateur baseball talent in the United States,” said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. “Each and every one of these athletes have excelled on the field this season and we are honored to continue our partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to recognize their contributions to their teams and schools.”  The list of semifinalists spans 20 different colleges and universities, one high school and nine NCAA conferences. The list also features 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn (California). Along with Vaughn, recent winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008). Seventh-ranked Georgia plays host to Alabama at Foley Field starting Thursday at 7 p.m. with the entire SEC series sold out.    Students who present a valid UGA ID will still be admitted free via the 3rd base gate. Student admissions are first come, first serve until their held block has been exhausted. Game two of the series will be Friday at 7 p.m. and game three will be Saturday at 2 p.m. Georgia will honor its seniors before Saturday’s. game. The entire series will be available on SEC Network+ and broadcast on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.    Georgia (39-14, 18-9 SEC) closes out the regular season looking to secure a top four seed and a bye for next week’s SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are two games behind second-ranked Vanderbilt (20-7 SEC) in the overall SEC race while fourth-ranked Arkansas leads the West with a 19-8 league mark. Georgia and fifth-ranked Mississippi State have identical 18-9 SEC marks with MSU holding the tiebreaker over Georgia. The Bulldogs need only to win one game or have Ole Miss or LSU, both 15-12 in the SEC, lose a game for Georgia to be a top four seed. Georgia is 25-3 at home this season. Also, the Bulldogs have a chance to become only the third team in school history to register 40 wins in the regular season. The two that have done it were the 2001 SEC Champions (40-16) and the 1990 National Champions (44-15).   The Bulldogs lead the nation in Fewest Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings at 6.1 and are seventh nationally in ERA at 3.21. Georgia’s record for lowest ERA in a season is 2.97 by the 1958 club and the next best is 3.26 by the 1967 squad. Opponents are hitting only .195 against the Bulldogs this year and that’s on pace to be a school record. The Bulldog rotation will feature freshman Cole Wilcox (2-1, 4.12 ERA) on Thursday, junior Tony Locey (9-1, 2.63 ERA) on Friday and sophomore Emerson Hancock (7-2, 1.31 ERA) on Saturday. Alabama has a 4.00 ERA and opponents are hitting .246 against them.   Alabama (30-23, 7-20 SEC) defeated Samford Tuesday and now are vying for the 12th and final spot in the SEC Tournament. Currently, they are tied with Kentucky and South Carolina. The Wildcats play host to the Commodores while the Gamecocks face MSU in Starkville. Alabama is 9-10 on the road this year. The all-time series with Alabama is tied 72-72-2. Last year, Georgia won a series in Tuscaloosa 2-1.   Georgia is batting .267 with a .421 slugging percentage and a .980 fielding percentage. The Bulldogs have a trio of .300 hitters in junior Aaron Schunk (.339-9-37), senior LJ Talley (.335-8-38) and redshirt sophomore Riley King (.307-7-40). Alabama is hitting .266 with a .397 slugging percentage and a .978 fielding percentage. Alabama’s leading hitters are junior Morgan McCullough (.323-3-29) and sophomore Tyler Gentry (.305-11-40).   On Senior Day Saturday, the Bulldogs will honor Talley, pitcher Adam Goodman and graduate John Cable plus managers Sam Carey and Travis Tindall. Manager Greg Bundrage graduated last week and already has begun an internship with the Arizona Diamondbacks in video operations.   GEORGIA vs. ALABAMA PITCHING MATCHUPS Thurs: Freshman RHP Cole Wilcox (2-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. Freshman RHP Tyler Ras (1-2, 3.41 ERA) Fri.: Junior RHP Tony Locey (9-1, 2.63 ERA) vs. Junior RHP Brock Love (5-4, 4.31 ERA) Sat.: Junior RHP Emerson Hancock (7-2, 1.31 ERA) vs. Senior RHP Sam Finnerty (6-7, 4.18 ERA)     Television/Radio Thurs. SECN+ Streaming Link with 1st pitch at 7:02 pm: http://www.gado.gs/2np Fri. SECN+ Streaming Link with 1st pitch at 7:02 pm: http://www.gado.gs/2nr Sat: SECN+, Streaming Link with 1st pitch at 2:02 pm Link: http://www.gado.gs/2nt   Radio (Entire series): Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College (David Johnston & Jeff Dantzler) Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), also via the Georgia Bulldogs app and TuneIn app. Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA   Tickets:  -StubHub: http://www.gado.gs/2nv
  • ATHENS – The Georgia Bulldogs – and Davis Thompson in particular – picked a good time to get hot. Thompson won medalist honors to pace the No. 16-ranked Bulldogs to a dominating victory in the NCAA Athens Regional tournament. Thompson shot 8-under par over three rounds to win individual honors and Georgia shot 8-under as a team to stay ahead of No. 9 Duke (-1) and No. 4 Vanderbilt (+1) to claim the tournament victory. Davis Thompson brought a new Ping driver into play for this week’s regional and that move paid dividends. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA Athletics) By finishing among the top five teams in the 13-team field, Georgia advances to the NCAA Golf Championships in Arkansas next week. To do so coming off a win makes it all the better. “Anytime you can win, it just gives you the confidence to know that you can win,” said Chris Haack, who notched his 63rd tournament victory as Georgia’s coach. “To do it on a big stage like the NCAA Regionals gives you even more confidence.” SMU (+16) and Liberty (+18) also advanced. Tennessee (+21) missed the final spot by three strokes. But the talk of the day was about Thompson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore from St. Simons by way of Auburn, Ala. The son of former Georgia golfer Todd Thompson, Davis has been knocking on the door all year with third- and fourth-place finishes in the Bulldogs’ last two tournaments and five top 10s in his career. “It’s big,” Thompson said shortly after birdieing his final hole of the tournament at the UGA Golf Course. “I’ve been close before, so it just feels nice. A big sigh of relief.” Said Haack: “To see him finally validate his play was pretty special. These guys work so hard and get over the hump. That was his first college win, so to do it on a stage like this in front of lot of fans is pretty special. I think the best is yet to come from him.” The best news is Georgia knows it can play better. Freshman Trent Phillips was the only other Bulldog to break par Wednesday – he shot 69 to finish 10th individually — and Trevor Phillips (+13) and Will Kohlstorf (+11) carded uncharacteristically high rounds. Junior Spencer Ralston was his steady self as usual, finishing third at 4-under par after carding a 71 Wednesday. “It was good to see us jell a little bit and finish it off in style,” Haack said. The post Davis Thompson leads Georgia men’s golf to run-away win in NCAA Regional appeared first on DawgNation.