Georgia Sweeps Western Carolina, Splits to Open Series Against South Carolina

I recently purchased a new laptop after my old one finally died, hence the delay in updating the blog over the past few weeks. Do not worry loyal followers and fans, as long as there is such a thing as Georgia Bulldog Softball, I will be blogging and keeping everyone up to date. This post is a hybrid re-cap of the midweek double dip with Western Carolina and the opening two games of the South Carolina series. Georgia swept Western Carolina, 12-0 (5 innings) and 9-0 (5 innings), before splitting the opening two games in Columbia by final scores of 2-6 and 7-6.

In the midweek games against Western Carolina, the Bulldogs managed to score an eye-popping 21 runs combined. What makes those numbers even more intriguing is that the UGA offense scored all of their runs without hitting a single home run. We are going to need more line drive and doubles power if we want to make it deep into the postseason. We cannot always win on the long ball, as made evident by the series with Tennessee. Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa led the Bulldogs at the plate against Western Carolina by going 5-6 with a team-best 8 runs batted in. Morgan Montemayor picked up the win in the first contest, while Geri Ann Glasco got the win in the second game.

Chelsea Wilkinson in relief action against Western Carolina on Wednesday in Athens.

Chelsea Wilkinson in relief action against Western Carolina on Wednesday in Athens. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

In the first game of the SEC series with South Carolina, Georgia fell by a final score of 6-2 to the Gamecocks. Geri Ann Glasco fell to 17-5 on the year and the Bulldogs fell to 6-7 in SEC play following the loss. South Carolina wasted no time getting on the board, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second on an RBI hit and a throwing error. In the bottom of the third inning, Hawkins delivered a two-run hit to the grass to bring the South Carolina lead to 4-0. Georgia would finally get on the board in the top of the fourth inning on a solo shot over the fence from Tess Sito. Another two-run single, this time in the bottom of the fifth by Sami Garcia, scored two more runs for the Gamecocks to extend the lead to 6-1. Georgia would try to scrap back, putting two runners on with no outs in the seventh and final inning, but alas, the Bulldogs could only manage a lone run and fell 6-2 in regulation. South Carolina hit the ball hard off of Glasco all night long, but the lack of timely defense was truly what let this game get out of hand for our Bulldogs.

In the second contest against the Gamecocks, Geri Ann Glasco hit three moonshots off of two different South Carolina pitchers to extend her SEC-leading home run total to 16 long balls. With the three hits, Glasco also put herself in first place overall in the SEC for RBIs with 51 runs driven in on the season so far. Morgan Montemayor got the start for the Bulldogs and picked up the win, while Chelsea Wilkinson picked up the save for the Bulldogs in the final frame. This game was a thriller to the very end, but had a somewhat non-climactic ending (depending on who you ask) as the final out of the game was recorded when a South Carolina runner was off of the base in some way while the pitcher was in the circle.

Geri Ann Glasco hit a towering shot over the fence to get the Georgia scoring going in the top of the first inning after Paige Wilson hit a hard double to start the game. South Carolina forced the Dawgs to make some sloppy plays in the bottom frame of the opening inning and plated four unearned runs off of MoMo. This would be all the scoring the Gamecocks would get until the seventh and final frame when things REALLY got interesting. With two outs in the top of the second inning, Paige Wilson singled before Geri Ann Glasco hit her second towering shot of the day to tie the game at 4-4. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 5-4 in the fifth inning when Kaylee Puailoa (Moooooooooose!) hit a no-doubter over the right center field wall. In the seventh inning, despite having already hit two home runs on the day, Geri Ann Glasco just was not through yet as she hit her third two-run BOMB of the day, this time off of last night’s winning pitcher (Sarrat) to increase the lead to 7-4. But, just when you thought the game was over, think again! South Carolina rallied with one out to plate two earned runs off of MoMo, before she was pulled for rookie Chelsea Wilkinson. Chelsea walked the bases loaded with one out before retiring the following batter on a routine pop-up on the infield. Then, in somewhat odd fashion, one of Carolina’s runners was called out for being off the base…or something like that? Either way, our Dawgs and Dawg fans will take a win no matter what it looks like!

With her three home runs on the day, Geri Ann Glasco moved into first place for home runs in the SEC (16) and RBI (51). Congratulations, Geri! Keep it up!!

Geri Ann Glasco went 3-4 with three home runs and 6 runs batted in on Saturday against the Gamecocks.

Geri Ann Glasco went 3-4 with three home runs and 6 runs batted in on Saturday against the Gamecocks. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

I have to admit, this season has been a roller coaster ride so far, and yes there have been some major bumps along the way. The girls got off to a rough start and let their nerves get the best of them as they dropped their fair share of early-season contests. Then, they got extremely hot and ripped off 17 consecutive wins before being swept by a gritty Arkansas squad. At first glance, the three losses to Arkansas seemed like an extremely bad omen, but after the way the Hogs have been playing as of late, I really am not too bothered by them. Could we have played better against the Hogs and taken a win or two? Sure. Did we? No. The girls rebounded and won their mid-week game before being outplayed and swept in the series against Tennessee. Base-running mistakes, defensive errors, and lack of clutch hitting sealed the Dawg’s fate against the veteran Lady Vols club. You really cannot feel too horrible about losing to a Top-5 national program with a plethora of All-American players in the line-up. In fact, I actually did not feel too bad at all about the way we played against Tennessee considering how much closer and competitive the games would have been with a little better defense and base running.

With regards to the loss last night to the Gamecocks, the girls simply were baffled by the off-speed junk and failed to put the bat on the ball when it mattered most. You cannot win ball games when you leave 12 runners on base against a pitcher with a good change-up. The girls had a ton of opportunities to score a lot of runs in game one but just could not seem to catch a break. Not taking any credit away from this talented Gamecocks team, as they have played close games with just about everyone in the SEC. South Carolina played three incredibly close contests with Alabama and last week managed to take 1/3 games from LSU. The girls came out today and responded well with their backs against the wall for the third consecutive week. Following a logic that I touched upon earlier in the season, South Carolina beat LSU, who defeated Texas A&M today, which means we have a chance against both the Tigers and the Aggies…both series which are in Athens! As far as the series against Florida goes, I think it can go either way considering that both rosters are extremely young and inexperienced. Florida lost a game to Auburn, just before the Dawgs swept Auburn, so there lies that logic again! 😉

I have been very pleased with the way our slap hitters, LaZear and Griffin, have stepped up as of late. Both girls have been finesse slapping and power slapping for average over the past two weeks, and that is EXACTLY what we need to do to provide multiple runs for out team when we do hit the long ball or the hard line drives! I think the coaching staff must have had a good talk with the girls after the loss last night because the offense seemed to be fired up today! Morgan Montemayor showed that she can indeed go an extended outing after she pitched six innings without giving up an earned run. Sure, she got touched up right there at the end, but she had to have been getting tired and a little predictable at this point. Great job, MoMo! Keep it up because we need you! Despite only having to truly face two batters, you have to give a ton of credit to the rookie hurler, Chelsea Wilkinson, for coming in and ending the game in Georgia’s favor. Good job, Chels!!!

I have a really good feeling about this club, and if Lu will keep the defense with Sito at shortstop, Blanco at second base, and Paige at third base, I think we have a great shot of limiting opponents to 2-3 runs or less a game. We know we can score, but we have to have the confidence to know that we can hold opponents to low run totals. Sometimes, the game seems overly complicated and can create so many mental blocks that make playing frustrating and intimidating. In reality, to be successful you cannot over complicate the game.

All it takes is to give it your all on the field for a full seven innings, and to realize that the game is as simple as getting outs and scoring runs. I feel a good wave of energy coming our way and here’s to finishing the season strong and on the right foot!

As always, Go Dawgs!!!

#CommitToTheG

Tess Sito played a brilliant stint at SS against South Carolina on Saturday.

Tess Sito played a brilliant stint at SS against South Carolina on Saturday. Sito (pictured above) is shown in action on Wednesday against Western Carolina. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

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