Bulldogs Sweep 13th-Ranked Texas A&M

(VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE)
Georgia Softball earned their second Southeastern Conference series in as many weekends, this time thanks to a three-game sweep of the 13th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies. After winning 3-1 on Friday and 12-7 on Saturday, Georgia finished up the weekend strong with a hard-fought 6-3 victory over the Aggies. Morgan Montemayor picked up the win in the circle on Saturday and Sunday, improving her record to 11-6 on the 2013 campaign. On Sunday, MoMo pitched five innings, gave up one earned run, struck out two, and walked just one batter. This sport is all about timely leadership and getting “hot” at the right time of the season…if you ask me, I think the girls are all stepping up big time, especially the pitching staff! Today’s game, once again, gave us an opportunity to see how good we can really be when we play error-free ball and have smart base-running to go along with some STELLAR pitching!

Thoughts go out to Aggie senior pitcher, Mel Dumezich, on a speedy recovery if she is indeed in pain or injured. One must assume that she is hurt after not seeing her in the line-up whatsoever in the final two games. The Aggies are a superb team with her in the circle, but this weekend showed how vulnerable they can be when they do not score runs behind their second and third string pitchers. I wish all the best of luck to A&M for the remainder of the season!

On another note, I really hope this win can get us back into one or both of the Top 25 Polls. I think that would really boost the girls’ confidence even more and get them pumped up for the big series with Florida next weekend! Without a doubt, the RPI will get a big boost after beating the #12 RPI team back-to-back-to-back in convincing fashion. The motto for this year’s team should definitely focus on finishing strong, after all, it is all about how you respond and how you finish! It is an exciting time to be a Georgia Softball fan, as I think this team has endless potential and is really going to come on even stronger here in the closing two weeks of SEC play. We have to face the Gators in Gainesville before coming home to host the LSU Tigers in Athens. It is not going to be easy, but we all know that already! Hard work pays off, Dawgs! Keep it up!

Tina Iosefa hit a 2-run home run and was 3-4 at the plate on Sunday against Texas A&M

Tina Iosefa hit a 2-run home run and was 3-4 at the plate on Sunday against Texas A&M (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

In today’s outing, the weather was beautiful and the crowd was even better! Georgia got the scoring going in the opening frame of the contest thanks in part to a leadoff slap single up the middle by Niaja Griffin. Man, Aja was a tough out to come by this weekend for the Aggies…seeing nothing but good from Niaja right now! Love it! After Niaja singled and stole second base, she would eventually be knocked in off a two-out RBI single from Kaylee Puailoa! It’s the Year of the Moooooose, ladies and gentlemen! The best part of this plate appearance by Moose was that she did not have to do anything fancy to score Aja from second. With two strikes on her, Kaylee simply hit a single into right field off the end of the bat on a pretty good change-up from A&M’s Ainsley. Could we finally be sitting back on the off-speed and driving it? This is a huge improvement and has caused us grief in the past, so it goes without saying that it is awesome to see us hit a plethora of good hits this weekend off of Ainsley’s change-up.

In the top of the 2nd inning, the Aggies loaded the bases and scored two runs off a slap single up the middle off the bat of Brittany Clopton. In the bottom of the frame, all while trailing 2-1, Tess Sito laid down a beautiful bunt single and then promptly stole second base. Anna Swafford followed by drawing a walk and advanced to second after Katie Browne sacrifice bunted both runners over. A fielder’s choice slap off the bat of Sam LaZear tied the contest at 2-2, and Niaja Griffin continued her hot streak with a slap RBI single to the pitcher. Georgia would hold off scoring any more runs until the sixth inning when Tina Iosefa belted a two-run home run off the foul pole in left field. The bomb by Tina was her 14th of the season and Georgia’s nation-leading 82nd of the 2013 season. Georgia would add one last insurance run off a pinch-hit single from Christine Olney that was stroked hard into right field.

Texas A&M tried to mount a rally after a leadoff home run in the 7th inning off the bat of Amber Garza. This was Garza’s second home run of the weekend after she crushed a pitch from Chelsea Wilkinson earlier in the series. This would be all of the scoring that Texas A&M would be able to manage as Morgan Montemayor made a web gem snag off a rocket up the middle from Nicole Morgan just before popping up Meagan May for the final out of the contest. With the win, Georgia improves to 34-15 on the year and 11-7 in SEC play. With the loss, the 13th-ranked Aggies fall to 35-12 overall and 6-11 in conference play.

Samantha LaZear relays a throw back to the infield in a game against Texas A&M

Samantha LaZear relays a throw back to the infield in a game against Texas A&M (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

The defense looks much better, LaZear and Niaja are on fire, and pitching is absolutely dominating! It is worth noting that Niaja and Sam combined to go 12-23 (.523 average) this week. WOW! What a great weekend of Georgia Bulldog Softball, eh Dawg fans? Not only have our speedy lefties been absolute Hell on opposing defenses as of late, but our bats are becoming more and more clutch with each and every game. The thing that is so awesome about this year’s squad is that when one of the players are not producing in a certain game or situation, another kid steps up and makes a big play, throws a good pitch, or gets a clutch hit. There is no definitive superstar on this team, despite each and every girl putting up absolute STUD numbers this season. There is a positive energy surrounding this young club right now and I truly think the sky is the limit! The question marks that were surrounding this year’s squad were never a matter of “If” but rather a question concerning “When” they would settle in and start shaping up. I think that time is NOW and I am so excited to get to see the girls face off against two talented SEC squads in the form of the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers.

Before heading to the Swamp for a three-game series with Florida, Georgia will face Georgia State  on Wednesday at 6pm in the friendly confines of Jack Turner Stadium. Wednesday night’s contest with Georgia State is “$1 Hot Dog Night” fans so be sure to come pig out and see some great softball. 😀

As always, Go Dawgs!

#CommitToTheG          #BombSquadPuppies          #RoadToWCWS

Tess Sito slides into second base on a beautifully executed steal against Texas A&M

Tess Sito slides into second base on a beautifully executed steal against Texas A&M (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

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Georgia Stays Hot, Sweeps Ole Miss!

Forced to play two games today due to incoming Sunday storms, Georgia completed the SEC sweep over the Ole Miss Rebels with two run-rule victories. Georgia won the first game by a final score of 14-5 in a 5-inning victory. Things looked pretty similar in the second game of the day as the Dawgs once again dominated, this time in 12-4 fashion (6 innings). Geri Ann Glasco improved to 15-1 on the season by picking up the win in the first game, but it was Chelsea Wilkinson that moved to 3-1 after getting the win in the second contest. Morgan Montemayor came in to relieve Wilkinson in the bottom of the 4th inning and looked great–striking out the side on some 70-71 MPH heat!

In the first game of the day, things got off to a shaky start when Glasco gave up four earned runs to start the game. An RBI single followed by a long ball from Erin Jayjohn put the Rebels up 4-0 early in the game, but the Dawgs were certainly not going to roll over and play dead. Georgia exploded for 9 runs in the bottom of the first inning. Georgia initially scored thanks to a bases-loaded Moose single, followed by a walk, single, and HBP to bring things to a tie. The scoring did not stop here as Georgia plated 5 more runs on a wild pitch, a bases-clearing triple from Anna Swafford, and a single up the middle from Glasco.

Anna Swafford lets out a roar of excitement after hitting a 3-run triple on Saturday against Ole Miss.

Anna Swafford lets out a roar of excitement after hitting a 3-run triple on Saturday against Ole Miss. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

Geri Ann Glasco hit her first long ball of the day in the third inning to bring the Georgia lead to 10-4. Georgia would make the score 11-4 in the fourth inning when Tess Sito ripped a ball to the wall to score Sam LaZear. Ole Miss plated a run off of a fielder’s choice in the top of the 5th inning, although a pair of bombs by Glasco and Puailoa would end the game prematurely with the final score situated at 14-5 in 5 innings.

Georgia’s second contest of the day against the Rebels once again saw the Georgia offense explode in the opening frame of play. Geri Ann Glasco hit her third blast of the day deep over the wall, followed by a moonshot from Tina Iosefa to make the score 2-0 early in the contest. Both offenses would fall into a lull until the 4th inning when Erin Jayjohn hit her second home run of the day off of Georgia pitching. Georgia would see the lead turn into a tie in the fifth inning via a Culley slap-hit home run that barely fell fair over the right field wall. Refusing to go away, Georgia scored two runs in the bottom of the 5th inning thanks to an absolutely crushed shot over the scoreboard by Katie Browne and also on a passed ball. Ole Miss turned to Erin Jayjohn in relief of starter Carley Hummel in the 5th inning, but Jayjohn wouldn’t have much luck either as Tina Iosefa took a ball deep over the outfield wall to put the Bulldogs up by a 7-2 score.

Geri Ann Glasco hit three home runs on Saturday against Ole Miss.

Geri Ann Glasco hit three home runs on Saturday against Ole Miss. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

Just as things started to look put away, Ole Miss led off the sixth inning with back-to-back launches from Allison Brown and London Ladner. In the bottom of the sixth inning, ahead of the Rebels by a 7-4 tally, Georgia scored 5 runs to end the game via the mercy rule for the second consecutive contest. A bases loaded walk scored Georgia’s first run, before Kaylee Puailoa singled in Wilson and Glasco to bring the lead to 10-4. Tess Sito provided the heroics by busting a shot just off the top of the wall to score the final two runs of the game for the Bulldogs, essentially ending the game in walk-off run-rule fashion.

Georgia is now riding a 15-game winning streak and improves to 25-7 (6-0 SEC) overall. I am so proud of this team and looking back at the team that started the first month of the season, I cannot even begin to explain how much better the girls have gotten. Leading the nation in most offensive categories, our young Bulldog pups are showing that they are going to be a tough out for the next four seasons. But, it is so much more than the young Dawgs producing–Sito, Olney, Swafford, Wilson, and Griffin are all hitting the ball hard too! Tess Sito has really pummeled the ball the last two weeks, and I cannot wait to see her help lead this group throughout what is proving to be an incredibly exciting journey! Despite giving up four runs, all coming from solo home runs, Chelsea Wilkinson looked great in the circle and I expect her to see her get a fair share of innings as the months go on.

Georgia's dugout does the "Moose" cheer for Georgia rookie OF/U, Kaylee Puailoa, in a game against Ole Miss.

Georgia’s dugout does the “Moose” cheer for Georgia rookie OF/U, Kaylee Puailoa, in a game against Ole Miss. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

From 7-6 to 25-7 and an untouched SEC record, it does not get much more impressive than that, folks! There has never been a more exciting time to be a Georgia Bulldog Softball fan! Sic’ Em Dawgs!!! Georgia will return to action on Wednesday night when they take on in-state foe, Georgia Southern. After the mid-week contest with the Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia will make the long journey to Fayetteville, Arkansas to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. Earlier today, the Razorbacks were swept by the Florida Gators, although the third game came down to the wire between the two. Florida won 1-0 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 7th inning. I have said it a thousand times, and I will probably say it a thousand more times, but there is nothing scarier than having to face a group of confident young kids!

As always, Go Dawgs!!!

Bulldogs Blank Ole Miss, 6-0

 

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Georgia improved to 23-7 (4-0 SEC) tonight at Jack Turner Stadium with a shutout victory over the Ole Miss Rebels, 6-0. Geri Ann Glasco started the game and pitched four innings, while Chelsea Wilkinson came in to pitch to start the fifth inning. Glasco and Wilkinson were both dominant, combining to surrender just one hit, each issuing a lone walk, and the two rookies combined to strike out 5 Rebel batters. Geri Ann improves to 14-1 on the year and has lowered her ERA to an impressive 1.89 mark. It would not surprise me to see the staff let Chelsea pitch a complete game against the Rebels tomorrow based on her dominant performance tonight. Wilkinson’s lone hit that she surrendered came on a slap hit to Paige Wilson–Wilson dove and tried to make the play but was just barely late! With the loss, Ole Miss falls to 1-6 in the SEC and 19-16 overall.

Tess Sito hits a home run against Ole Miss--her third home run in as many games.

Tess Sito hits a home run against Ole Miss–her third home run in as many games. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

Georgia got the offense going in the first inning when Anna Swafford drew a leadoff walk before Paige Wilson hit a no-doubt shot to right field to bring the game to a 2-0 margin. In the third inning, Ole Miss came oh so close to scoring, but Paige Wilson and Katie Browne would hear nothing of it. Ole Miss rookie Melina Preciado tried to take home plate on a ground ball on the infield, but Paige Wilson came up firing to Browne at the plate who promptly tagged out the runner. This got the crowd, myself included, pumped up for the rest of the game! To lead off the bottom of the third inning, Glasco tattooed the first pitch she saw long and deep over the right field fence. This is, without a doubt, one of the longest bombs I have ever seen hit out of Jack Turner Stadium. The ball carried about 15-20 feet over the top of the trees in center field, putting the ball at no less than 250ft. If I had to guess, I would say that ball is just now coming down, haha! Two batters later, Tess Sito would follow Glasco’s dinger with one of her own, bringing the score to 4-0. I have been so impressed with Sito because she has hit a long ball in the past three games and is overall stroking the ball much harder than she did to start the season. Go Tess!! Georgia ended the scoring on Friday with a Katie Browne clutch single to the grass that plated a single run. The 6-0 margin would be all the offense that the Bulldogs needed as Chelsea Wilkinson got some big ground balls and some even bigger strikeouts to end the game.

Katie Browne tags out Melina Preciado in a close play at the plate on Friday evening.

Katie Browne tags out Melina Preciado in a close play at the plate on Friday evening. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

You have to think that a lot of people were scratching their heads when Geri Ann was not in the circle to start the fifth inning. She had only walked one batter and had not given up a single hit for the entire first four innings. I guess the coaches wanted both girls to combine to get the shutout to increase chemistry, team effort, and confidence. Not only did this tactical plan throw the Ole Miss hitters off, but it really gave Wilkinson a boost of confidence. Wilk hit 66 several times on the radar tonight and she rarely even hits 65. To me, this means the adrenaline was pumping, she was in the zone, and she was relaxed! Keep it up, Chelsea! We need you! 😀

Georgia will most likely play two games tomorrow due to heavy rains expected on Saturday. Stay tuned to the blog and to GeorgiaDogs.com to see the official schedule for tomorrow as it is released. I am really hoping that MoMo and Chelsea get the two games tomorrow in order to give GAG some time to rest! She needs it, and better yet, she deserves it!

As always, Go Dawgs!

Chelsea Wilkinson in action against Ole Miss.

Chelsea Wilkinson in action against Ole Miss. (Courtesy UGA’s Brother Photography)