Sic’ Em Softball Poll #1

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Georgia at Arkansas Preview:

The Georgia Softball team is on the road this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas as they will attempt to improve upon their polished 6-0  conference record, but more importantly to keep alive their current 16-game winning streak. The SEC series with Arkansas is always one that has been intriguing to say the least. There is always one or two match-ups between the two that are very close, such as last year’s first two games of the contest. Arkansas is not known for having stellar pitching, but Mike Larabee has always seemed to have it figured out how and what to throw to Georgia Bulldog hitters. With such a diverse offense this year, I hope we are able to smack the ball hard against the Arkansas rotation to help make the work for our pitchers that much easier.

Georgia leads the all-time series between the Dawgs and the Hogs by a 29-14 margin, despite only taking two of three from them last season. This year, these early conference wins for the Bulldogs are going to be what puts the most pressure on some of the more dominant teams in the conference: Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M to name a few. With a good enough lead in the Win-Loss department, Georgia could really make it tough for Missouri, Tennessee, and Florida to steal away the SEC East. I really like the way our pitching strategy worked last night against Georgia Southern, and combine that with the flaming hot bats, and I think we have this whole winning thing figured out for now…hopefully! 😀

Mike Larabee’s Razorbacks have amassed a 22-13 record on the season and are 0-6 in conference play after being swept by the likes of Texas A&M and Florida–two very strong SEC programs! Arkansas did not look like an 0-6 SEC team by any means against these two SEC foes either, playing three of the six games in incredibly close fashion. In their most recent SEC outing, Arkansas lost a heartbreaker to Florida 1-0 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh by Kelsey Horton. No doubt about it, after losing in such close fashion and after stealing a game from the Dawgs last year, Arkansas is going to enter the game with a cut-throat mentality! We are going to have to play great ball, not only because we are the only undefeated team in conference play, but because these wins are going to be what gives our girls confidence in the coming weeks!

At the dish, the Arkansas hitters are batting a .305 clip with 38 home runs, nine of which belong to sophomore slugger and 2012 SEC Rookie of the Year, Devon Wallace. Wallace plays first baseman for the Hogs, but is known predominantly for her power numbers and average at the plate. Last year, Wallace hit a pair of blasts off of us in Athens, she hit two long balls off of California’s Jolene Henderson in the NCAA tournament, and overall made pitchers look bad all season long. Despite being in a hitting slump of sorts (Wallace was 0-10 in the Florida series), we cannot take that for granted and assume that this talented hitter is going to do the same against us. But dang, it sure would be nice to look at film from the Florida series to see what to throw this girl, haha! Wallace is second on the team in average (.410) and has 19 RBI off 9 long balls. The leading hitter for Mike Larabee’s team is rookie slapper, Stephanie Canfield. Canfield is batting a .481 clip with one home run and 14 RBI. At the top of the order, if not held in check, Wallace and Canfield will wreck havoc on opposing defenses!

Devon Wallace connects for a home run in a game against Tennessee in 2012.

Devon Wallace connects for a home run in a game against Tennessee in 2012. (Courtesy Arkansas Athletics)

In the circle, Arkansas has relied on a variety of pitchers, although Chelsea Cohen and Kimmy Beasley have been the go-to hurlers as of late. Cohen enters the three-game series with Georgia with a 10-6 record, a modest 2.57 ERA, and has fanned 110 batters in only 92.2 innings pitched. On the other hand, Arkansas sophomore hurler Kimmy Beasley has amassed a 4-5 record to go along with a 2.77 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched. I would expect to see more than these two pitchers though, as Hope McLemore has always had great success against the Dawgs with her killer change-up. Her change-up looks like it is thrown at about 30MPH and drops off the table pretty nicely at times. The last thing we need is to be neutralized by a steady diet of off-speed pitching this weekend, although I suspect whatever pitch is thrown close to the plate will be hit hard somewhere! 😀

With the team batting line-up being raised again after the mid-week contest against Georgia Southern, the Dawgs continue to lead the SEC and country in batting average with a .367 clip and also have blasted a whopping, nation-leading 60 home runs. Hard work, dedication, and taking time to really LEARN the game is proving to make all the difference in the world. The girls have committed to learning the method the coaches are teaching, and better yet, they have committed to the G! Beat the Hogs this weekend, girls! Sic’ EM!

As always, Go Dawgs!

#CommitToTheG          #BeatArkansas          #WhoSmellsBacon          #BombSquadPuppies

Friday, March 29
• No. 22/23 Georgia vs. Arkansas – 7 p.m. ET

Wednesday, March 27
• No. 22/23 Georgia vs. Arkansas – 2 p.m. ET
• No. 22/23 Georgia vs. Arkansas – 4 p.m. ET

 

Senior Christine Olney relays a ball to the infield in a game against Ole Miss.

Senior Christine Olney relays a ball to the infield in a game against Ole Miss. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

Kaylee Puailoa, Bulldogs Defeat Georgia Southern, 6-3

(VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE)

It’s the year of the Moose, ladies and gentlemen!

“M-O-O-O-O-O-O-S-E!”

On a chilly Wednesday night in Jack Turner Stadium, Kaylee Puailoa (3-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI) and the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles in a 6-3 contest that featured three total home runs and some very good pitching. Geri Ann Glasco got the start in the circle for the Bulldogs and had a great top of the first. In the bottom of the opening frame, Anna Swafford led off with a single through the left side and would eventually be tripled in on a ball to the wall from Tina Iosefa. Kaylee Puailoa got her first of three hits on the night, a scorched line drive up the middle promptly after the Iosefa triple. Kaylee’s hit put the score at 2-0 in favor of the Bulldogs. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Moose once again delivered for the Dawgs with an absolutely MAMMOTH home run to right center field. We have seen some big bombs this year so far, but that one by Kaylee tonight and the one HUGE one from Geri Ann last week against Ole Miss are the furthest two I have seen hit out since Goler, Wiggins, and Razey dropped bombs a couple of years back! Georgia would score again on a wild pitch from Allie Miles to make it 4-0–Miles had been brought in to relieve Purvis in the 4th inning.

In what was turning out to already be a spotlight night for Kaylee, she kept it going in the fifth inning with another long ball, this time a 2-run dinger to right field. All three of the hits this evening were absolutely smoked off the bat! After scoring their sixth run of the game on the home run from Moose, Georgia’s scoring threat diminished and it was the Eagles’ turns to show out! After a single and an error with two outs put runners on 1st and 2nd base, Tabby Douberley crushed a pitch from Chelsea Wilkinson deep out of the park in center field, in turn scoring three runs for the Eagles. The game would end with the score situated at 6-3 and Morgan Montemayor would have a perfect, 3 K top of the 7th inning to put the game away effortlessly. Go MoMo!!

Kaylee Puailoa (3-3, 2HR, 4 RBI) collecting one of her three hits against Georgia Southern on Wednesday.

Kaylee Puailoa (3-3, 2HR, 4 RBI) collecting one of her three hits against Georgia Southern on Wednesday. (Courtesy UGA’s Brother Photography)

With the win, Georgia (26-7, 6-0 SEC) has now won 16 games in a row dating back to a mercy rule victory over Radford on March 3rd. Geri Ann Glasco improved to 16-1 in the circle, going four innings, giving up one hit, no walks, no runs, and all while fanning 7 Georgia Southern batters. Chelsea Wilkinson pitched two innings, struck out three batters, and gave up three earned runs. Chelsea was really spinning the ball well tonight, and the home run was the only truly hard hit ball of the night by GA Southern. The Eagles look good and I would expect them to win the Southern Conference this year. The third pitcher Georgia Southern brought in, Brooke Red, had an absolutely KILLER drop ball and would have success in the SEC if she added one or two more good breaking pitches. It seemed that the drop ball was her only real weapon–breaking a lot and coming in at around 65mph–but was the only real pitch she threw.

The girls are continuing the big offense and Purvis was a very good test tonight of where we are at this point in the season. I really hope that the weather holds up again this weekend in Fayetteville so the girls can get all three games of the series in! With her three hits tonight, Kaylee Puailoa raised her average to a .400 clip. This now puts four Georgia Bulldogs (Olney, Glasco, Puailoa, Wilson) all batting .400 or above. Anna Swafford cracked into the .400s tonight but would end the night a single away from .400 at .394. Pretty dang impressive, ladies!!!

Good luck in Arkansas this weekend, Dawgs!

As always, Go Dawgs!

#SicEm          #BombSquadPuppies          #BeatArkansas

Christine Olney (2-3) collected two hits against Georgia Southern to keep her hot streak alive!

Christine Olney (2-3) collected two hits against Georgia Southern to keep her hot streak alive! (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

Georgia to Square Off Against Georgia Southern on Wednesday:

On Wednesday, our 22nd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (25-7, 6-0 SEC) will face off against the Eagles of Georgia Southern (15-17, 4-1 SoCon) in an annual in-state game. In the all-time series, Georgia leads by a vast 23-1 margin. Below, I will highlight the past three seasons worth of highlights against Georgia Southern–this game is always a pretty good one. What seems to always happen when GA Southern comes to Athens is that they have a pitcher who stifles the Bulldogs for a brief stint, but in last year’s case Purvis was able to hold us to one run through seven innings. Georgia Southern may be a sub-.500 team, but they have played a very tough schedule and are a program on the rise! The Eagles have played some pretty stiff opponents in pre-conference play: South Carolina, LSU(x2), Florida State(x2), Minnesota(x2), Alabama, and Wisconsin(x3). Too bad the Eagles went 0-11 against those ranked opponents, or else they would be a much bigger RPI threat to the Bulldogs. I hope that around this time tomorrow that the losing streak against big-time opponents has found its way to 0-12 for the Eagles. 😉

Tess Sito flips the ball to first base in a game against Ole Miss.

Tess Sito flips the ball to first base in a game against Ole Miss. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

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Here are some brief recaps of my favorite past three meetings between Georgia and Georgia Southern in softball:

1. (March 28, 2012: Georgia wins 1-0) (Video Highlights Here) This was a surreal game. Georgia Southern’s Purvis threw a hell of a game, giving up only two hits over seven innings, and fanning 5 batters. The lone run in the game came in the first inning when Purvis walked in Christine Olney to make it a 1-0 game. That would prove to be all of the scoring from either side for the rest of the game thanks to a complete-game, 2-hit, 10K performance from Erin Arevalo. (We cannot play this kind of game against the Eagles this year because we might not get as lucky! Go Dawgs! #BeatSouthern)

2. (April 20, 2011: Georgia wins 4-1) (Video Highlights Here) Another very good game! In the bottom of the first inning, Georgia Southern scored their only run of the game, unearned, off of then-rookie Morgan Montemayor no thanks to an error, followed by an RBI base hit. Georgia would pull ahead of the Eagles in the third inning when Alisa Goler poked a two-run single down the left field line to score Trout and Hubbard from second and third, respectively. Allison Owen would enter to pitch in the fourth inning and was brilliant for the remainder of the game, surrendering just three hits and fanning six batters in four innings of work. In the sixth inning, Georgia added to the lead via a Julia Echols RBI up the middle and due to an Eagles fielding error. The score would stay at 4-1 for the remainder of the contest and Owen improved to 14-2 with the win.

3. (April 29, 2009: Georgia wins 3-2 in 8 innings) I remember panicking at this ball game and wondering to myself what the heck was going on. Georgia Southern was straight up outplaying the Dawgs for almost an entire game! Georgia scored in the opening frame of the game when Taylor Schlopy came around to score after being walked to start the inning. Schlopy scored on a fielding error on an Ashley Pauly bunt. Georgia Southern picked up back-to-back hits in the fourth, the second hit being the RBI single from Amanda Hall. Christie Hamilton relieved starter Sarah McCloud in the fifth inning and was welcomed to the game by a solo blast from GA Southern’s Mackenzie Williams. In the bottom of the inning, Georgia got a walk to Tori Moody to load the bases and Brittany Hubbard followed with an RBI SAC fly to left field. Georgia and GA Southern would remain scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning when Ashley “Clutch” Pauly nailed a walk-off double for the 3-2 victory. This was an awesome game and we would go on to see about 1,000 more CLUTCH plays from Ashley Pauly at the plate and at second base! 😀

———-

Georgia Southern comes to Athens with an overall 15-17 record, despite being 4-1 in the Southern Conference. Georgia Southern has played extremely close games with two SEC powerhouse schools–losing to Alabama 1-2 in extra innings and losing to LSU 2-3 in regulation. Despite being roughed up a bit early this year, Sarah Purvis is still the no-doubt ace of this very talented Georgia Southern team. Purvis comes into the annual game with a modest 2.24 ERA, having struck out 120 batters in 103.1 innings. Allie Miles has also seen substantial time in the circle for Georgia Southern, amassing a 3-4 record with a 3.20 ERA. Miles has pitched 69.1 innings for the Eagles and has fanned 68 opposing batters. Look to see a bit of work from Miles in the circle if Purvis struggles at all!

At the plate, Georgia Southern does not have eye-popping stats, but they are efficient with their balance of pitching, defense, and timely, quick offense. Shelby Morrill is the leading GA Southern hitter, sporting a .352 average with one home run and 12 RBI. Kourtny Thomas supplies a large share of the home run balls as she leads the team with 7 dingers on the year to go along with a .223 average and 14 RBI.

No doubt about it, Georgia Southern is hungry for a win after the way they lost in Athens last year. It doesn’t matter if it is Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Arizona State, or Oklahoma , we have to dominate every opponent with our bats and get some clutch pitching performances! Georgia Southern is going to come out playing with a lot of fire and nothing to lose, while Georgia rides an awesome 15-game winning streak! I think the girls are going to do great and with the way our hitters have been performing, and we should be able to take grind out a big win!

Georgia Southern's most dominant pitcher this season, Sarah Purvis, in action in the circle.

Georgia Southern’s most dominant pitcher this season, Sarah Purvis, in action in the circle. (Courtesy Georgia Southern Athletics)

I am still so proud of Geri Ann Glasco! Wow! SEC Freshman of the Week, College Sports Madness National Player of the Week, and NFCA National Player of the week! What a way to get your career going as a Bulldog, G! The funny (scary) thing is that this year’s version of the offensive line-up is just as scary as Glasco in spots 1-9. Every day-to-day starter on the team is batting at least a .300 clip, with three Dawgs batting above .400. Anna Swafford is a hit away from raising her average to above the .400 mark. It is pretty incredible that this young team, the youngest team in all of NCAA softball, currently leads the NCAA nationally in home runs (58), slugging%, runs per game, and are 2nd in batting average (.366). Go Sic’ Em tomorrow ladies! Never Back Down!

As always, Go Dawgs!

#GoDawgs #BeatSouthern #BombSquadPuppies

Geri Ann Glasco NFCA National Player of the Week

(STORY COURTESY NFCA.ORG)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For her impressive efforts during the past week at both the plate and in the circle for No. 22 Georgia (25-7), Bulldog freshman pitcher/first baseman Geri Ann Glasco has been selected as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week for March 26.

The Watkinsville, Ga., native and reigning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week helped power UGA to a perfect 4-0 record over March 18-24, hitting an impressive .600 overall (6-for-10) with seven runs scored, five walks, five HR’s and eight RBIs. She also posted a 3-0 record from the pitching circle, while contributing to a pair of combined one-hit shutouts, and struck out eight over 12 innings of work. Glasco homered in all four of Georgia’s contests against Gardner-Webb and Ole Miss (three games), including blasting a big fly in three consecutive at-bats during a Saturday doubleheader versus the Rebels.  For the week she slugged at a staggering 2.100 clip and posted an OPS mark of 2.788.

“Receiving this award is truly an honor, but none of this would be possible without the support of my coaches and my tremendous teammates who are dedicating themselves to our team and pushing each other daily to achieve our goals,” Glasco said.  “In the end, what I am truly looking forward to is the opportunity for success that lies ahead of us as a team.”

Glasco currently leads No. 22 Georgia with a .452 batting average, a .935 slugging percentage and a .542 on-base percentage, is second in RBIs (39) and has now tied the mark for the most HR’s ever by a Bulldog freshman with 12.  In the circle she possesses a squad-best 15-1 overall record to go along with a 2.17 ERA, nine complete games and 96 strikeouts over 93.2 frames of effort.

“Geri Ann has grown up watching Georgia softball,” UGA head coach Lu Harris-Champer said. “She embodies the enthusiasm, talent and work habit of players like Taylor Schlopy, Megan Wiggins and Alisa Goler that Georgia softball is about.  She understands what it means to be a Georgia Bulldog, and we are so fortunate and proud to have her tremendous heart, talent and leadership to help carry the legacy of our great former players and our program into the future!  This is a tremendous honor for Geri Ann and speaks volumes about what she brings to the field each and every day.” 

Next up for the Red & Black is a visit from in-state foe Georgia Southern on March 27, before venturing to Fayetteville, Ark., to battle SEC Western Division foe Arkansas in a three-game series over March 29-30.

Glasco Garners SEC & National Honors

It was announced on Monday that freshman P/1B Geri Ann Glasco has been named both the College Sports Madness National Player of the Week and also the SEC Freshman of the Week for her performance this past week against Gardner-Webb and Ole Miss. Glasco tallied a perfect 3-0 record from the pitching circle, including pitching 4 innings of no-hit ball against Ole Miss in Game One of the series. At the plate, Glasco exploded for six hits in ten plate appearances, giving her a .600 batting average for the week. Of Geri Ann’s six hits, five were home runs and one was a smoked single up the middle. On the week, Geri Ann not only batted .600 with five long balls, but she had an OBPS (OB% + SLG%) of 2.788–absolutely outstanding power no matter the level of play!

Glasco pitching in a game earlier this season. (Courtesy The Red&Black)

The recognition by the SEC is the second Freshman of the Week honor that Glasco has garnered this year, and the national recognition is her first. Geri Ann has a long and illustrious career on the horizon as a Bulldog, and should be the top contender at this point for the SEC Freshman of the Year award. If Glasco can continue her dominance in both the circle and at the plate, it would come as no surprise for her to garner some pretty momentous accolades by the time the season is up! No doubt about it, Geri Ann is an absolutely incredible hitter, and while she has to work twice as hard at pitching, she is becoming 1% better with each inning she pitches. She has the ability to not only keep the Dawgs in any game with her bat, but her mixing of speeds and movement in the circle are what have also helped her amass the impressive 15-1 record that she currently owns.

Go Geri Ann!!!

As always, Go Dawgs!

Geri Ann Glasco crushes a home run in a game at Jack Turner Stadium. (Courtesy The Red&Black)