June 16, 2004
(Athens-AP) -- David Perno's game plan for guiding Georgia through the College World Series begins with a very simple objective: Get Will Startup into every game.
Startup, Georgia's All-Southeastern Conference closer, has seven wins and 10 saves in 30 appearances, including two saves in the Bulldogs' super regional win over Georgia Tech and two wins in the preceding NCAA regional in Athens.
Startup is hot, and Georgia's coach doesn't want to stray from a winning formula now that the Bulldogs are one of eight teams still playing for a national championship. Perno said "He's been in there 30 times, and over half he's either won or gotten the save. With that stat, if he's in there we're going to have a chance to win the game. If things go our way, Startup could appear in every single game."
Georgia (43-21) plays Arizona (35-25-1) Friday at 2:00 in its first game in the double-elimination College World Series.
There is little concern of Startup tiring in Omaha. While some closers are used only in the ninth inning, Startup pitches two, three or more innings at a time. In his 30 appearances, all in relief, the 6-foot-1 sophomore has pitched 73 innings and allowed only 49 hits.
In Georgia's decisive game of its regional in Athens, Startup beat Clemson with three-and-two-thirds shutout innings and was named MVP of the regional. Overall, Startup is 7-2 with ten saves in 13 tries and a 2.34 earned run average.
Due to the sophomore's mastery of hitters and endurance this season, Perno calls Startup "Magic Man." Perno adds "He's been on it all year; it's just a matter of us getting him in the situation."
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