High marks

first_imgBy Terry Marie HastingsUniversity of Georgia University of Georgia research funding reached a record high last year with UGA researchers receiving more than $173 million from external sources. “This is a very welcome indication that our efforts to enhance UGA research are paying off,” said Vice President for Research David Lee. “Through the efforts of many across campus, we have worked to build interdisciplinary themes, leverage our strengths and recruit outstanding faculty. In current times, academic research is extraordinarily competitive, so that if you’re not moving forward, you’re inevitably slipping behind. We’d rather move forward.”The previous peak, $150.6 million, was reached in fiscal year 2005. UGA is among the top 100 public and private research universities for federal research and development expenditures. The National Science Foundation ranks UGA 94th in nation among all universities, based on 2007 rankings, the most recent available. Sponsored research funding stems from contracts and grants awarded to the university primarily by federal, state or local government agencies; state, national or international private foundations; or individual donors from Georgia and elsewhere. “The funding success achieved by UGA faculty researchers this year is a reflection of their scientific contributions in areas of important state and national need, such as health, sustainable energy, human development and the environment,” Lee said. “It is work they will continue to build on in the future.”In addition, Lee said, “the funding UGA researchers bring in, mostly from the federal government, benefits the local and state economy.” By conservative estimates, every research dollar UGA researchers earn generates almost $2 that is spent in Georgia on services, equipment and support personnel, according to Jeff Humphreys of the Selig Center for Economic Growth, UGA Terry College of Business. In 2009, federal agencies awarded grants and contracts to UGA researchers totaling $100.6 million, or almost 60 percent of the total. Funding agencies include NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Education, Defense and Commerce. UGA researchers also received sponsored research funding from the state and local governments, international agencies and foundations and private companies developing new technologies.UGA’s total external funding—which includes research, instruction, public service and outreach—also rose, ending the year at $246.7 million, according to Regina A. Smith, associate vice president for research. Declines in instruction and public service awards were offset by increases in Cooperative Extension and research awards. A sample of 2009 research awards include: $1.7 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Faculty of Engineering Outreach to improve air quality by retrofitting diesel vehicles in Athens-Clarke and Washington counties. $18.7 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases to research ways to reduce morbidity from schistosomiasis in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. $2.4 million from the National Science Foundation to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to understand how to genetically engineer better soybeans; $1.7 million to from the USDA to advance the blueberry industry in the Southeast, $1 million from the Georgia Peanut Commission to improve peanuts, and $1.75 million to reduce risk to tomatoes and peppers from thrips and tomato spotted wilt virus in the southeastern U.S. $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health to the College of Veterinary Medicine to “bring biology to life” for high school students using 3-D models and animation. $149,999 from the National Science Foundation to the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, to explore the link between creativity and solutions for complex human and environmental systems. $648,000 from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to the University of Georgia Press to support “Early American Places,” a new scholarly book series devoted to early North American history.Complete information on award data can be found in the Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Report, Office of the Vice President for Research, http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/communications/facts/reports/2009/.last_img read more

April 3, 1996: When Brian Mazurek nearly hit for the cycle in one inning of a 71-1 rout

first_imgMazurek was the first baseman for St. Francis of Illinois, an NAIA powerhouse, and his Fighting Saints were in the midst of an inning nobody had ever seen before. In that inning, against Robert Morris (of Chicago), the Saints sent 30 players to the plate and 26 of them scored. You read those numbers correctly. The final score — in just four innings — was 71-1. Again, accurate. MORE: 25 Ks: The day Brett Gray pitched the best game you’ve never heard ofIn his first three at-bats of the first inning, Mazurek had doubled, tripled and homered. He needed only a single to complete the cycle — IN THE FIRST INNING — but instead, he walked.“Nobody knew that was going on. Nobody paid any attention,” Mazurek said with a laugh in a phone interview Thursday. “Obviously, if I could have swung at anything instead of walking, then ran and hugged first base, that probably would be something in the record books nobody’s ever touched, at any level.”Mazurek did finish his cycle in the game, just not in that inning. Strange to think somehow a cycle — a rare accomplishment at any level — could be even remotely disappointing. “That’s one thing that’s always stuck with me,” he said. “If I would have only known that I needed a single, I would have never walked, let’s put it that way. I would have struck out before I walked.” That game still holds a special place in NCAA baseball history. Here are a some marks that still hold. 10 — Triples in a game11 — Bases on balls in an inning26 — Runs in an inning44 — Hits in a game53 — RBI in a game70 — largest margin of victoryOh, and Mazurek? He set the record for most RBIs in an inning, with nine. Mike Palermo, the team’s freshman shortstop, tied an NAIA record with seven hits in the game. I asked Mazurek what the team was thinking as that marathon first inning was going on.“Just, ‘This is not right.’ We weren’t celebrating, like it was the Super Bowl or another good team,” he said. “It was kind of like, ‘Why is this team out there?’ Even at our age, this wasn’t fair to them. They weren’t ready. They didn’t belong here. It doesn’t mean they didn’t have heart or weren’t playing hard. It’s just that other teams had scouted high school players and this and that, and they were basically trying to field a team, let alone put together a team. It was bizarre.”It was a lopsided matchup, for sure. Robert Morris was only in its second season as a baseball program. The team went 1-31 in 1995, and was 0-7 heading into that game. “I remember it was 52-1 or something in the second inning, and we asked if they wanted to call the game,” Mazurek said. “They were like, ‘No, no. We want to keep going. We came to play. We’re here to play.’ We weren’t trying to rub it to anyone. On the other side, their coach was like, ‘Look, these are part of our growing pains. This is part of being a new team. We’re going to keep playing.’” St. Francis, on the other hand, made the NAIA national tournament in 1995 — finishing fifth in the country — and won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1996, finishing with a 36-28 record. Several of the seniors on that 1996 team, including Mazurek, were freshmen when St. Francis turned in the best season in program history. “In 1993, we started out — which was probably a bigger feat than (the Robert Morris game) — on our spring trip with a 3-13-3,” Mazurek said. “Then we won the national title. We ended up being 46-16-3 on the year. To think that we started like that and then roll through and win the national championship was a pretty amazing feat.”It remains the only national title in St. Francis history, though the program has remained strong. The Fighting Saints have finished under .500 exactly three times since 1977. Robert Morris turned things around quickly. The team went winless in 1996, but with a school commitment to resources — yes, fueled by that one lopsided result — a new coach and an influx of transfers, the 1997 season was a different story. The same teams met again in 1997, and this time Robert Morris won, by a score of 2-1. That was the beginning of a new program. “Some years later, I caught a headline that Robert Morris had won their division,” Mazurek said. “So thinking back from that game to where they went to 15 or 20 years later, they went from this brand-new program to actually winning a conference championship sounded pretty amazing.”MORE: Three reactions to rumored 2020 MLB season planAs for Mazurek, he finished with a .358 career average at St. Francis, and still holds the school mark for most career home runs (41). He was drafted in the 31st round by the Cardinals in 1996 and hit .310 in his first year as a pro, for Class A New Jersey in the NY-Penn League. His second year, rooming with future ALCS MVP Adam Kennedy, he hit .281 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 97 games. But despite two-year totals of 95 RBIs, 11 homers and a .294 average in 166 games, Mazurek was released by the Cardinals after the 1997 season. “Very simple,” he said when asked what happened. “If you’re not a top-10 pick or a top-5 pick or a top-3 pick, you didn’t matter. It was inevitable.”  Mazurek played two years of independent baseball, then did a little coaching and started his own business, which he still runs. At one point, he even dipped his toes in reality TV. “I was on ‘Married by America.’ Uh-huh,” he said with a laugh. “Then I tried ‘Blind Date.’ That was an interesting one. Remember that, with the pop-ups? For that one, you filled out this application and they picked someone the complete opposite to create good drama for television. They give you this whole itinerary for what’s going to happen, and then it all changes. Our first stop was at the Jerry Springer show, if that helps you out any. That was interesting. That whole date was. Lots of memories.”Memories, not just in reality TV. That one game on this day in 1996 stands out, too. When Brian Mazurek stepped to the plate for the fourth time on April 3, 1996, he had an opportunity to do something that has almost certainly never been done, at any level of baseball in the history of the sport. The thing was, he had no idea, for good reason. The game was a bit chaotic at that point. last_img read more