LAWRENCEVILLE, GA -- After a one-year hiatus, college baseball is making a return to Coolray Field this spring. The home of the Gwinnett Braves will host the cross-town rivalry game between the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University on Tuesday, April 22 at 7 PM. Tickets for the contest will go on sale at the Coolray Field Ticket Office on Tuesday, March 18.
The late-season, non-conference meeting between the Bulldogs and the Owls is the first collegiate game to be played at Coolray Field since 2012. Georgia and KSU also met there in 2012, while in 2011, the Bulldogs and the University of Alabama met for a weekday game. UGA came away with victories in both games, downing the Owls 3-2 and the Crimson Tide 6-3.
"We are excited to host UGA baseball for the third time in four years and to have Kennesaw State baseball return for their second time," said Gwinnett Braves General Manager North Johnson. "It's another great opportunity to showcase Coolray Field and give these amateur athletes a chance to play on the best field surface in Triple-A baseball."
The April 22 game will be the second time the teams have squared off in 2014. On February 18, the Owls took a bite out of the Bulldogs, beating them 10-7 at Foley Field in Athens, GA. The Bulldogs got off to a good start, building an early lead and scoring three runs in the second inning, but the Owls took a 5-3 lead in the fifth behind a three-run home run off the bat of Chris McGowan. Georgia answered in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs on an RBI double by Zack Bowers. However, the Owls scored five runs in the last two innings and held off a late charge by the Bulldogs to take the victory.
"Playing a game at Coolray Field this season is beneficial because it helps spread the word about University of Georgia baseball in Gwinnett County, and it lets our kids experience playing at a Triple-A facility," said Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin. "We played Kennesaw State at Foley Field in Athens earlier this season, and it was a close game with both teams having a lead at one point. We're looking forward to playing them again at the home of the Gwinnett Braves."
Despite that early-season loss, the Bulldogs still lead the all-time series with KSU, 8-6. After starting the season 2-6, Georgia reeled off 11-straight victories and now holds a 13-8 mark. Outfielder Hunter Cole has paced the offensive attack, batting .366 (30-for-82) with eight doubles, one home run and 12 RBIs. The junior is rated the 78th-best draft eligible collegiate prospect by Baseball America.
Kennesaw State will counter with one of their highly-touted prospects in catcher Max Pentecost. The junior backstop is familiar with Gwinnett County, having played his high school baseball at Winder Barrow. Pentecost has led the Owls to a 12-11 record, batting .313 (30-for-96) with seven doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs. Baseball America rates him the 18th-best draft eligible prospect in the upcoming 2014 First Year Player Draft class. In 2011, he was drafted in the seventh round (234th overall) by the Texas Rangers, but opted to attend KSU.
"This is a great opportunity for two teams in the state to play in a tremendous atmosphere for baseball," said Kennesaw State head coach Mike Sansing. "We're very appreciative of the opportunity to play in the facility and it should bring out a terrific fan base."
Tickets go on sale on March 18. Online purchasing will be available for a fixed adult rate of $10, while student and youth tickets can be purchased at the Gwinnett Braves Ticket Office for $5. For more information about the event or how to purchase tickets, contact the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340.
The Gwinnett Braves will begin their sixth season of play on Thursday, April 3 at Durham. The G-Braves' 2014 home opener at Coolray Field will take place on Friday, April 11 against the Durham Bulls. Tickets for all 72 home games are now on sale by calling the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 and by visiting gwinnettbraves.com.
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COUNTDOWN TO THE 2014 HOME OPENER (Friday, April 11, 7:05 PM vs. Durham): 24 Days