Originally created 06/11/04

Georgia's magic man full of tricks



ATHENS, Ga. - Will Startup's clutch pitching is a big reason the Georgia baseball team is on the doorstep of a trip to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.

If the closer, whom coach David Perno calls "Magic Man," can help the Bulldogs continue their magic carpet ride all the way to the CWS championship series, the pinnacle of his athletic career will be part of a momentous day for his family.

Will's older brother, Drew, will marry Lauren Harkins on June 26 at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Startup's hometown of Cartersville, Ga. That's the same day a best-of-three series for college baseball's national championship begins.

Will and his younger brother Nick are supposed to be the best men for the nuptials that 700 people have been invited to attend.

"I guess we'll give up a best man, but they owe me," their mother Allison Startup said. "Our family is so behind UGA. Those coaches are some of the finest people we have ever met. We would do anything to support them."

Georgia still needs to get past Georgia Tech in a Super Regional series that starts today and advance in Omaha for Startup to worry about the possibility of giving up his formal wear for his baseball uniform. If the conflict arises, Will says his brother, a former shortstop at Shorter College, will be in his corner.

"He wants me to go as far as I can, no doubt," Startup said. "It would be very disappointing, but I think my brother would understand."

Don Startup, the boys' father, could be pulled in both directions on what would be special weeks for two sons.

Don is the minister of music at Tabernacle Baptist and will officiate at the wedding.

"Don said if he has to crawl to Omaha he will get there somehow and come back for the wedding," Allison Startup said.

Don and Nick were part of a quintet that sang the national anthem before the Athens Regional. Will was named the regional's most outstanding player after picking up the wins in relief in victories over Clemson on Saturday and Sunday.

The sophomore left-hander's celebrity came in handy on Tuesday, when Startup was pulled over for speeding.

The officer asked Startup for his driver's license before letting him off the hook saying. "Will you slow it down for us? And good luck on Friday night."