Georgia Wins Two in Opening Day of the Bulldog Invtational

Georgia looked like a totally different team tonight against North Dakota State and Radford, picking up two wins along the way to improve to 9-6 on the young season. The temperature hovered around 39-41 degrees and there was a steady wind blowing for the entirety of the day today. I withstood the harsh temperatures and winds for both games today and I am just a tad bit wind-chapped to say the least! 😦

(Click here for today’s video highlights, including Wilsons Grand Slam!!!)

In game one, Anna Swafford put the Bulldogs on the board with a 2 RBI home run–Swafford’s first hit of the year. Geri Ann started the game in the circle and was wheelin’ and dealin’ early as she struck out a whopping 8 Bison batters in the first five innings. In the fourth inning, Georgia tacked on two more runs thanks to a Katie Browne SAC fly to left field and in part to a North Dakota State fielding error. MoMo was brought in to relieve Geri Ann in the fifth inning for no reason other than to give MoMo some time to get loose and build up her confidence again. She pitched the final two innings and struck out 4/11 batters that she faced. While the girls only tallied 4 hits off Bison pitcher Krista Menke, they made their hits count. Swafford had a perfect 2/2 game with the two-run shot and started in center field in place of Samantha LaZear. LaZear was hit by a pitch in the first inning and hurt one of her fingers–I heard from some softball parents that it is broken, but I spoke with someone more knowledgable on the subject who said it was not broken and that she will be clear to play this weekend or the next! We need Sam back in the order ASAP!

Tess Sito pitches against Radford in the Bulldog Invitational.

Tess Sito pitches against Radford in the Bulldog Invitational. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com)

In the second game of the day, Tess Sito saw her first action in the circle of 2013 after battling back from a nasty hand fracture. Sito was on fire for the three innings that she pitched, striking out 6 of the 11 batters she faced, and surrendering only two hits. These would be the only two hits that Radford would get during the game and they both came back-to-back in the top of the first inning. Sito’s movement was excellent tonight and it looks like she really has been working on the off-speed. Five out of the six strikeouts that Sito garnered were via the change-up and one was off of a nasty breaking high pitch (may have been a rise that tailed off). Not only did Sito perform superbly in the circle, but she also batted a perfect 3-3 at the dish with a solo home run, a triple, and a single. I really was hoping she would get one last at bat to attempt to go for the cycle. Had she had another at bat, I think she would have gotten it considering she is the definition of a doubles hitter. Paige Wilson had a monster game, going 2-3  with a GRAND SLAM and 5 RBI’s!!! Tonight was the first grand slam since 2011 for the Bulldogs and boy did the ball leave the park quick! Geri Ann Glasco followed Wilson’s shot with a solo bomb to dead center to give her a team-best 16 RBIs and team-best 6 HRs. It brings me pleasure to note that MoMo also got to pitch the final two innings of this game, striking out 3 of the 6 batters that she faced. Georgia will face off against Radford in a double-header on Sunday.

Overall, the girls played great today and played with a much higher level of aggression and intensity than they have in the first three weeks of the season. I think they probably stole 6-7 bases today in the two games (maybe more) and I think every girl who played got a hit in today’s twin bill. Anna Swafford had an excellent day at the plate, going 4-5 batting in the leadoff spot. The girls seemed to be a lot more pumped up than they have been in past games, and the best thing about it was how great the pitching staff performed. I would expect to see Wilkinson start a game or two in the next four games also, but who knows. Tess and Geri looked really good in both games today! I really like MoMo in the relief role because it truly takes teams an inning or two at the bare minimum to adjust to the high heat that she throws. Morgan’s change-up was plain nasty tonight and she had girls swinging out of their cleats! I hope the girls can keep up the intensity for the next two weeks and bring the record up to where it should be. It helps to start this tournament 2-0 and I hope the girls can go 6-0 heading into the ADIDAS Invitational in Rock Hill, SC next week. Georgia faces off against Indiana State at 12:30 tomorrow morning and against NDSU at 3:00.

As always, Go Dawgs!

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