Bulldog Invitational Preview!

After a long trip to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the Bulldogs will be hosting the Bulldog Invitational this weekend. Besides the Bulldogs, Radford, Indiana State, and North Dakota State will also be participating in the annual tournament. Georgia was originally slated to play five games, but since the weather two weeks ago forced the girls to miss two games, Georgia will play an extra game on Sunday against Radford. Georgia will get to know Radford very well this weekend as the two teams square off three times! Georgia will face Indiana State and North Dakota State once apiece. I am extremely eager to see how well the girls respond to what has been a relatively slow start on the season thus far. I have a lot of faith in this team, and if they can pick up six wins this weekend and bring their record to 13-6, I like their chances of turning the season around!

The North Dakota State Lady Bison enter the season with a 4-6 record after dropping two games last weekend to North Carolina and George Washington. Despite the average record, this team has possessed a lot of talent in the past–facing teams such as Arizona and Oklahoma in both the Regionals and Super Regionals in years past. Senior pitcher, Whitney Johnson, leads the Bison in the circle with an impressive 1.60 ERA, while Presley Glaser leads them at the plate with a .333 clip. I would expect this game to be anything but a walk in the park, especially if Johnson is in the circle for the Bison. I have always enjoyed watching the fight that many NDSU teams in the past have had, and I am sure the game between the Bison and the Bulldogs will be an exciting one!

Whitney Johnson is the standout ace of the North Dakota State pitching rotation. (Courtesy NDSU Athletics)

The Radford Highlander’s softball team makes their way into the Bulldog Invitational with little game experience under their belt. Radford has played only four games so far this season, amassing a 1-3 record along the way. The Highlanders lost two games to North Carolina, lost a game to SEC neighbor, South Carolina, and beat Wagner. In the past, Radford was quite the familiar face in Athens, as it seemed they would play in an Athens tournament each and every year. I was always impressed with the hitting that the Highlanders had, but I have to admit I cannot remember much about their pitching rotations. Georgia has played a whopping nine games more than Radford, and you have to think that will affect the outcome of the game, but you never know. Radford gets three shots at the Bulldogs, and if we are not on our A-game the entire three games, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this young Radford team give us a surprise! Radford is led at the plate by Jessie Hutchens, who is batting a modest .333 clip with one RBI and six total bases collected. In the circle, the ERAs are a bit high for the two main Radford pitchers, partially due to only playing 4 games thus far.

I would like to preface my preview of the Indiana State softball program by asking one question: What the heck is a Sycamore? I realize that a Sycamore is a type of tree, but on the Indiana State website it appears that their mascot is some type of fox-looking critter. Help, anyone? Just wondering. Either way, the Lady Sycamores enter Athens with a 7-7 record. Although the Sycamores have played 14 games, the only true test they have faced thus far is one of Georgia’s many SEC rivals, the Auburn Tigers. Auburn defeated Indiana State by a final score of 7-1 in an Auburn-hosted tournament two weekends ago. Indiana State is led at the plate by a trio of talented hitters in Shelby Wilson (.419, 2HR), Morgan Allee (.381), and Megan Stone (.375, 3HR). In the circle, the Sycamores are led by sophomore Ashli Scott, who has tallied a 3-1 record and a 3.08 ERA. By the looks of the ISU stat sheet, the Sycamores can hit! If I remember correctly, ISU played Auburn very closely until the very end of the game. This should be another great game! Now, if only I knew what a Sycamore was?

Georgia fans: Come out and support the Dawgs this weekend! The admission is ALWAYS free and you get to see some great softball being played! The Dawgs need our support as they fight their way back to glory after a rather slow first three weeks of play. I truly believe that the season will be turned around before we know it, although I hope we get to see the girls develop one game at a time and still learn some valuable lessons when needed. SEC play begins in a little over two weeks, and in less than two weeks the girls will make the haul to Atlanta where they will face a very good Georgia Tech squad.

As always, Go Dawgs! (Info from GeorgiaDogs.com is listed below for game times, etc.)

Tournament Schedule

Friday, March 1
• Indiana State vs. North Dakota State – 10 a.m.
• Indiana State vs. Radford – 12:30 p.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. North Dakota State – 3 p.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. Radford – 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 2
• North Dakota State vs. Radford – 10 a.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. Indiana State- 12:30 p.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. North Dakota State – 3 p.m.
• Radford vs. Indiana State – 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 3
• Indiana State vs. North Dakota State – 10 a.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. Radford- 12:30 p.m.
• No. 23/24 Georgia vs. Radford – 3 p.m.

Other Information
• Live stats will be available at http://www.georgiadogs.com
• Free audio broadcast will be available through GTV
• Saturday’s and the first game on Sunday will be broadcast locally on 90.5fm WUOG

Rookie catcher, Katie Browne, is pumped up after hitting a double to the wall in an early 2013 game.

Rookie catcher, Katie Browne, is pumped up after hitting a double to the wall in an early 2013 game. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com)

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