Tonight’s mid-week outing at home against Gardner-Webb is starting to look more and more familiar to us Georgia Softball fans, but the competition is just starting to heat up. Can this young Georgia softball team stay hot and battle their way through the SEC? We will soon find out as we face Ole Miss at home this weekend, followed by an away series with Arkansas in Fayetteville. I have watched a lot of Georgia softball for the better part of this decade, and I have never seen a rookie class with this much power come through Athens! We are witnessing the beginning of something explosive and exciting! If the girls can keep hitting the ball hard, getting the outs when they need them, and play with that famous Red & Black swagger, then I think things are going to be pleasantly surprising. The point of the matter I am trying to make is that, in the end, it comes down to which team scores the most! Take a look back to the Arizona vs. UCLA WCWS Championship series in 2010 if you need a literal depiction. 😀
In tonight’s game against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs, Geri Ann Glasco got the start in the circle and was relieved in the fourth inning by Chelsea Wilkinson. The two rookie hurlers combined to throw a 5-inning, one-hit shutout. The sole Gardner-Webb hit came off a slap hit off the leg of Wilkinson–Cricket almost made the play though! In five innings pitched, the two struck out 9 batters and each walked only one batter.
In terms of offense, the bats have been hot for a few weeks now and aren’t showing any signs of slowing anytime soon–at least I hope not! 🙂 Olney (2-3, 5 RBI), LaZear (2-2), and Tess Sito (2-2, 2 RBI) each collected a pair of nice hits tonight. Kayle Puailoa finished the evening outing with a perfect 3-3 tally at the plate. Mooooooose! Georgia started the scoring in the 1st inning when Paige Wilson belted her 8th long ball of the year to extend her SEC lead in the RBI department. With the absolutely towering shot to right field, Paige tacked on her 40th run batted in. The girls would continue the scoring in the opening frame thanks to a 2-run bomb from Tina Iosefa (new UGA rookie HR record), her 10th of the season, and another two-run shot from Senior second baseman/pitcher, Tess Sito. I am so happy to say that I was there in person to see Sandberg break the record back in 2009 and I was also there tonight to see Tina set the new record. Tina is a freakishly strong athlete and I get the feeling we will get to see her slow-trot the bases many more times this year and for three more full years! It amazes me as to the amount of improvement she has added to her swing mechanics in the past month or so! She picks her favorite pitch and hits it hard!
After taking the 5-0 lead in the first, Georgia would add on 6 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to increase their lead to an 11-0 margin. Geri Ann Glasco, the starting pitcher, contributed her 8th long ball of the season with a 2-run shot into the pines in the outfield. After a Sito double, Olney hit a hot-shot single to score two. Georgia would cap the scoring in the bottom of the second when Cricket Blanco hit her first collegiate home run to left center. Go Cricket!!! In the bottom of the third inning, Olney would put things squarely away with a bases clearing double to the wall in left center to bring the score to 14-0. Chelsea Wilkinson pitched the final two frames of the game and gave up one hit, one walk, and recorded five of the six outs with five strikeouts!
Geri Ann and Chelsea are growing up fast, and if they both can learn to put their trust fully into their spin and pitch calls, they are going to be even more dangerous. I think I like our chances with 3 starting pitchers, because both girls got hit fair and square in the third game with Auburn. Chelsea would be a nice second day pitcher or reliever, and I like the idea of ending the series with MoMo in the circle! Wilkinson really had the slow curve and rise working today, although she got a nice drop ball strikeout at one point too! Go Chelsea!
Georgia has now continued their winning streak to an impressive 12 straight games and will next face the Ole Miss Rebels in a three-game series this weekend in Athens. I really hope the weather holds up and allows the Dawgs/Rebs to get in all three games of the series, but it is supposed to rain a lot! Luckily, the forecast for Friday is looking much better and the chance for rain on both Saturday and Sunday has drastically dropped. Hopefully Georgia will bring the thunder and Mother Nature will not have to, haha!
As always, Go Dawgs!