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! 😀

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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

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