The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Georgia at Auburn 2013

Ok, so when it comes to territorial wars with our rivals, there are three rivals you have to know about:

1. Georgia-Florida: This is a no-brainer! These two teams have an intense rivalry that will never die! This is the classic North vs. South battle that rotates from the Classic City to the Swamp!

2. Georgia-Georgia Tech: Ah, the battle for the state bragging rights! This is perhaps the most bitter rivalry out of all of the same-state sport rivalries out there–right up there with Alabama vs. Auburn. Georgia defeated Georgia Tech in their first rivalry game this year by a 14-1 score in Atlanta. In two weeks, the Yellow Jackets will make their trip to Athens looking for revenge.

3. Georgia-Auburn: This rivalry is one of the most fun rivalries I can remember from my experience with the last 5 years of Georgia football, baseball, and softball. Another border war, Auburn lies just about 15-20 miles from the Georgia state line–around 35 to 45 minutes from Auburn to Columbus. Not only is this a fun rivalry, but it is literally the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The two schools first faced off in 1892 and have played every year since in football and many other sports. If we wanna get technical (truthful, lol), Auburn won the first ever meeting between the schools by a final score of 10-0 (football). Since then, as it has been an annual meeting between the two schools, it has been termed the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

How cool, right?

I mean an intense rivalry? Cool.

…an intense, old rivalry? Even better.

…but, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry? Bingo. You’ve hit the mother load.

This storied tradition of competition between the (25)Georgia Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers will play out in the form of softball tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday as the two squads face off each other in early SEC play. The Auburn Tigers enter the match-up against the Dawgs with an impressive 20-7 (1-2 SEC) record and have won 8 out of their past 11 games. As recently as last weekend, Auburn defeated the 3rd-ranked Florida Gators in game two of their SEC debuts. This Auburn team has been really good at times, but has struggled against their fair share of teams also. If Georgia can beat Auburn, they would not be the first Peach State team to defeat the Tigers in 2013 as the Georgia State Panthers beat Auburn last month by a score of 4-1 in Auburn. The Auburn offense is fairly potent and has a pretty good  mixture of power and speed. Brandy Melero is having an astounding sophomore campaign this year–I guess her, Anna Swafford, Niaja Griffin, and Paige Wilson didn’t hear about the “Sophomore Slump” thing. 😉 But really, doesn’t the SEC seem chock-full of young rookie and sophomore talent this year? It gets me pumped for the future of SEC softball!

Paige Wilson (.435, 6HR, 35RBI) is currently swinging a blazing hot bat!

Paige Wilson (.435, 6HR, 35RBI) is currently swinging a blazing hot bat! (Courtesy Red&Black.com)

(25)Georgia and Auburn will square off at approximately 7PM EST in Auburn, Alabama at Jane B. Moore Field. Based on overall statistics and recent appearances, I have to say that Auburn goes with Marcy Harper in the circle in game one. Harper, a former Birmingham Vipers Gold standout, leads the Auburn pitching rotation in wins/K/appearances/IP and many other statistical categories. Harper has tallied a superb 10-2 record with a modest 2.25 ERA. Harper has struck out 62 batters in 72.2 innings pitched, while only walking 15 batters on the season. Marcy Harper relies mostly on her ability to locate her spin pitches, relying on a finesse style of pitching that will feed you your fair share of curve balls and rise balls. Harper will go to the off-speed on occasion, but is going to live on the corners and at the eyes! A stat that I always like to take a look at is HR allowed–Harper has given up 4 HR in 14 appearances, meaning that she gives up a long ball (statistically) about once every two and a third games she throws. Think of it what you will, but I wanna see us hit the ball hard like we have been–now we get some warm, Spring air too! 😀

Marcy Harper pitching against Florida last weekend.

Marcy Harper pitching against Florida last weekend. (Courtesy Auburn Athletics [Taken by: Anthony Hall])

Auburn also has an arsenal that consists of two other very talented hurlers: freshman Lexi Davis (5-3, 3.02) and junior Hilary Mavromat (5-2, 2.14) have both seen their fair share of games this season. In her SEC-debut against the Gators, Lexi Davis held a potent Gator’s line-up to only 2 runs. Too bad for the Tigers, they weren’t able to push across any runs and fell 2-0 to the Gators! Marcy Harper picked up Auburn’s lone win in the circle against Florida. You have to give Auburn their props for winning the second game after being beaten in game one by a final score of 13-0. I will be very intrigued to see this young, new-look Auburn squad in person this evening.

At the plate, the Tigers are led by sophomore Branndi Melero (.455, 5HR, 29RBI), freshman Emily Carosone (.377, 2HR, 25RBI), and RS sophomore Morgan Estell (.363, 2HR, 24RBI). Auburn only has one hitter batting over .400, while Georgia has four. Auburn has nobody with more than 5 home runs, and the Bulldogs have five players with five or more round-trippers thus far in the season.

Numbers can only say so much, and I can guarantee that between the chalked lines they completely disappear to nothingness. The Bulldogs and Tigers have 21 innings of hard-nosed ball to play this weekend to determine the outcome of this heated rivalry!

Open your eyes, people. This is a team that started the season at 7-6 and has now improved to 18-7. I am beyond excited to be a fan of this new, upbeat Georgia Bulldog team! I cannot say it enough, but the girls are all improving before our very eyes, and I think we are still in for one heck of a ride here in 2013! Cannot wait for the warm weather and I hope to see a good share of you Bulldog fans down in Auburn! 😀

Next stop, my home-sweet-home state, Alabama.

As always, Go Dawgs! Oh yeah, and Sic’ Em!!!

 

Schedule
Friday, March 15
• No. 25 Georgia at Auburn – 7 p.m. ET

Saturday, March 16
• No. 25 Georgia at Auburn – 1 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 17
• No. 25 Georgia at Auburn – 1 p.m. ET

Other Information
• Live stats will be available at http://www.georgiadogs.com

• Live audio will be available online through GTV and locally on Fox News 1340 WGAU 

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