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Post Can the 2008 Dawgs get it done against Stanford?

Monday June 16, 2008

When Georgia meets Stanford this evening in the College World Series (7:00, ESPN2), it will be a rematch of sorts of one of the biggest battles along the way during Georgia’s 1990 national title run. Georgia will technically be favored against the unseeded Cardinal tonight, but it was Georgia’s underdog performance against top-seeded Stanford that put them into the national title game.

While Stan Payne’s 2-1 victory over Oklahoma State clinched the 1990 national title for Georgia, the Bulldogs’ shot at the championship was set up by three battles over six days with top-seeded Stanford. Georgia crushed Stanford in the first meeting sending the Cardinal to the loser’s bracket. The favorites worked back through the bracket and topped Georgia to force a winner-take-all rematch.

Stanford turned to ace and future MLB star Mike Mussina who had been roughed up by Georgia in the first meeting. The Bulldogs countered again with senior Mike Rebhan. Though fatigued, Rebhan pitched a complete game as the Bulldogs eliminated the Cardinal 5-1.

There’s a great account of this 1990 meeting over on UGASports.com. The transformation of Mussina from a dominant pitcher to someone throwing batting practice turned the first meeting. Stanford struck back with a freshman beating Bulldog All-American Dave Fleming. Rebhan turned the tables in the final showdown, and teammate Bruce Chick reflected on how important that performance was. "He had two children and he knew he wasn’t moving on," says Chick. "Mike pitched the game of his life and it wound up being the last game he ever pitched."

Tonight another relatively unknown Bulldog pitcher will step on the Rosenblatt Stadium field with a chance to make his own splash against Stanford. Nick Montgomery wasn’t one of Georgia’s three weekend starters during the regular season, but since his outing against Georgia Tech at Turner Field Montgomery has been one of the most consistent and outstanding Bulldog starters. He already has wins over Georgia Tech and N.C. State in this NCAA Tournament, and the Bulldogs are counting on him to move them one win away from their first trip to the championship round since 1990.

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