Four Bulldogs Earn All-SEC Honors!

I am at work and just now saw the news of the four Bulldogs who racked up the SEC accolades! WOW! This is truly an exciting time to be a Georgia Softball fan as every girl that earned an award for the SEC is either a freshman or a sophomore! We are going to get several more seasons of seeing this group of young girls develop into some absolutely killer players!

I will add more to this posting when I have more time towards the end  of the day, but a huge congratulations is in order for Paige Wilson, Kaylee Puailoa, Geri Ann Glasco, and Chelsea Wilkinson! Some players go their entire careers without garnering one of these prestigious SEC awards! Go Red! Go Moose! Go G! Go Chelsea!

Below is the link from the official Georgia website on all of the good news!

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 1.18.46 PM

 

(STORY BELOW COURTESY GEORGIADOGS.COM)

May 7, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Four Georgia softball players garnered Southeastern Conference honors, it was announced today. Highlighting the accolades was Geri Ann Glasco, who was named the Co-SEC Freshman of the Year. It is the first time in program history that a Georgia player has received Freshman of the Year honors.

Paige Wilson and Kaylee Puailoa were each named to the All-SEC First Team, while Glasco, Puailoa and Chelsea Wilkinson earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.

Glasco earned Co-Freshman of the Year, as well as a spot on the All-Freshman team, was named the SEC Freshman of the Week three times this season and became the first player in Georgia history to earn National Player of the Week Honors twice in the same season. Against league foes, Glasco led the SEC in home runs with 11 and led all SEC freshmen with 22 RBI. She also set a Georgia record for most home runs by a freshman with 19, which also ties for second all-time among SEC freshmen. In SEC games, she slugged .776, which was second among all players and first among all freshmen. Glasco also holds the Georgia freshman RBI record with 59. The Watkinsville, Ga., native leads the team in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage. Against South Carolina this year, she tied an SEC record and set a Georgia record with three home runs in a single game. Her defensive play has been just as stellar, committing just two errors in 233 chances. Glasco also owns a 17-7 record in the circle and leads the team with 123 strikeouts.

Wilson, who earned all-freshman honors last season, leads the team with a .400 average in SEC play, helping her to First Team All-SEC honors. An everyday starter for the Bulldogs, Wilson has recorded 19 RBI in SEC play and ranks third in the SEC with a .747 slugging percentage. A native of Chicago, Ill., Wilson has belted 15 home runs for the Bulldogs this season. In the final regular-season series for Georgia, Wilson hit three home runs, including two in a single game against No. 8/7 LSU, marking the first time in her career that she has hit two home runs in a single game.  For her efforts that weekend, she became the first Georgia player since 2011 to earn SEC Player of the Week honors. Wilson’s .400 average in SEC play ranks fourth among all conference players. Against SEC teams, Wilson ranks among the SEC leaders in on base percentage (.458), runs scored (19), hits (30), RBI (19), total bases (56) and at bats (75). Wilson has also hit two grand slams this season, both coming at Radford in non-conference play.

Puailoa earned dual recognition this season, earning a place on both the All-SEC First Team and All-Freshman Team and is the only freshman to be named to the All-SEC First Team. Against SEC competition, she is ranked in the near the top in batting average (.368), slugging percentage (.721), on base percentage (.456), hits (25), home runs (7), total bases (49) and hit by pitches (7). Puailoa picked up SEC Freshman of the Week honors once this season and also broke the UGA freshman home run record with 15 round-trippers, tied for second on the team. Puailoa is also tied for second on the team in doubles with 11 and is slugging .763 on the season. On two occasions, once against an SEC team, she has hit two home runs in game.

Wilkinson, a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team, helped the Bulldogs to three wins over ranked opponents in the final stretch of the regular season. The Taylorsville, N.C., native is 5-2 in league play and has an ERA of 3.79. In her final three Friday night starts for Georgia, each of which came against a Top-15 opponent, Wilkinson is 3-0 with a 2.90 ERA and 28 strikeouts. She struck out 12 batters against then-No. 13 Texas A&M before following with a 14-strikeout performance against No. 2 Florida. In those two starts, she threw two complete games and allowed just three runs and struck out 26. Wilkinson leads the Georgia pitching staff with 55 strikeouts against SEC competition and is the only Georgia pitcher to have two double-digit strikeout performances this season and the only Bulldogs with double-digit strikeouts against an SEC team. For the season, Wilkinson has thrown four complete-games, one no hitter and has 103 strikeouts on the year. Opponents are hitting just .215 against her this season.

2013 SEC Softball Awards
Player of the Year
Lauren Gibson, Tennessee

Pitcher of the Year
Chelsea Thomas, Missouri

Coach of the Year
Tim Walton, Florida

Freshman of the Year
Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia
Bianka Bell, LSU

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jenna Marston, Missouri

First Team All-SEC
P – Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
P – Hannah Rogers, Florida
IF – Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
IF – Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
IF – Madison Shipman, Tennessee
IF – Paige Wilson, Georgia
OF – Kayla Braud, Alabama
OF – Kat Dotson, Tennessee
OF – Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF – A.J. Andrews, LSU
C – Jenna Marston, Missouri
DP/U – Lauren Haeger, Florida

Second Team All-SEC
P – Rachele Fico, LSU
P – Kimmy Beasley, Arkansas
IF – Samie Garcia, South Carolina
IF – Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF – Bianka Bell, LSU
IF – Kaila Hunt, Alabama
OF – Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF – Kelsey Horton, Florida
OF – Branndi Melero, Auburn
OF – Jacee Blades, LSU
C – Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
DP/U – Mel Dumezich, Texas A&M

Freshman All-SEC
P – Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky
P – Chelsea Wilkinson, Georgia
IF – Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF – Bianka Bell, LSU
IF – Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia
IF – Emily Carosone, Auburn
OF – Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF – Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF – Kristi Merritt, Florida
OF – Andrea Hawkins, Alabama; Tiffany Howard, Auburn
C – Kellsi Kloss, LSU
DP/U – Cali Lanphear, Texas A&M

SEC All-Defensive
P – Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
C – Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
1B – Morgan Estell, Auburn
2B – Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
SS – Madison Shipman, Tennessee
3B – Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
LF – Kayla Braud, Alabama
CF – Haylie McCleney, Alabama
RF – Kat Dotson, Tennessee

Advertisements

Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa Named SEC Freshman of the Week

This one has been a long time coming as Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa earned her first ever SEC award, being named the SEC Freshman of the Week after her dominating performance at the plate against Upstate and 13th-ranked Texas A&M. Kaylee has such a beautiful swing and is making a ton of in-game adjustments as of late that are allowing her to hit the change-up and hit for more power.  This may be the first SEC award for Kaylee, but I would expect her to garner her fair share of accolades before her years as a Bulldog are over. Go Kaylee!

On the week, Kaylee went 5-11 (.455 average) at the plate and registered a base hit in each of Georgia’s four games. Moose began the week by stroking her 10th double of the 2013 campaign in the outing against USC-Upstate, and she continued her hot streak by tallying a hit in each of the games against Texas A&M, including a towering home run in Saturday’s game that tied the game at 5-5. In that contest, Kaylee reached base in all four plate appearances. Although this is the first SEC weekly award for Kaylee Puailoa, it is the fifth time this season that Georgia has had a rookie named Freshman of the Week. Geri Ann Glasco has earned the award three times, while Tina and Kaylee have now each garnered it once.

You may hear cheers coming from the Georgia dugout and from people in the stands, myself included, that resembles a chorus of booing. Do not be fooled by this, as you are really hearing the routine cheer for Kaylee Puailoa. When the powerful lefty hitter steps into the box, chants of “Mooooooose” fill Jack Turner Stadium. If you look even closer, you can find the girls in the dugout holding their hands above their heads to resemble moose antlers.

When I asked Kaylee about where the nickname came from, she said that it kind of happened out of nowhere.

“On the Lakewood ladies team for coach Jorge Aurajo, we would have long practices and being the young ladies we were, our attention span was limited. I was at first base with Breana West, who is now playing for Cal Poly, and we always had our little fun. One day we decided to make nicknames and she came up with Moose! She kept calling me Moose and sooner or later so was everyone else, along with the coaches.”

Despite Kaylee’s efforts to return the favor by giving her teammate an animal nickname, she found no success. It seemed that she was destined to go by “Moose” and it has stuck ever since.

“Everyone always asks me why Moose? It sounds like a big ugly animal, but for some reason I’ve always responded to it,” says the rookie slugger.

With the power numbers and clutch hitting that this young lady has been putting up, I think her nickname may be pretty dang accurate. She is strong, maybe as strong as the proverbial Moose that her teammates have compared her to…or maybe stronger! Kaylee is a great athlete and an even greater kid! I cannot wait to see how well she does in a Georgia uniform in 2013 and for years to come!

Kaylee Puailoa tallies a hit in a 2013 game at Jack Turner Stadium (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

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)

Georgia Homers Three Times, Secures Series Over Texas A&M

(VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE)

On a night where the Georgia Bulldogs found themselves facing a 5-0 deficit in the bottom of the first inning, the girls from Athens managed to rally and make an outstanding comeback against the 13th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies. Despite taking the early blow on the back of two Aggie home runs, Georgia battled back with some bombs of their own to win the game a by a final score of 12-7. Morgan Montemayor picked up the series-securing victory to improve to 10-6 on the season. It was really nice to see the Dawgs be able to generate a lot of power and momentum while being down in such a huge hole. It is reassuring to know that our solid hitting can keep us in the game at any given point, no matter what inning it is and no matter the score. With the win, Georgia improves their overall record to 33-15 on the year, while improving to 10-7 in SEC play.

Morgan Montemayor was brilliant against Texas A&M Saturday evening, striking out 8 Aggie batters. (Courtesy The Red & Black)

Chelsea Wilkinson started off the game and got things going in similar fashion to the first game of the series. Although Wilkinson struck out the first two Aggie batters, Texas A&M would respond with a string of hits, including two home runs to put them in front by a 5-0 score in the opening frame. Morgan Montemayor was brought in to pitch with two outs in the first inning and she would end up giving Georgia an absolutely wonderful performance for 6.1 innings. In the bottom of the second inning, Kaylee Puailoa singled up the middle and Tina Iosefa drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second base with nobody out. Then, Anna Swafford (3-4, 3 RBI) got her stellar night at the plate going with an RBI single to score Puailoa. Still trailing 4-1 and this time with the bases loaded, Christine Olney delivered a 2-run hit up the middle to bring the score to 5-3. Katie Browne singled and came around to score on a passed ball by Aggie pitcher, Lauren Ainsley. In the bottom of the third inning, Georgia managed to tie the game at 5-5 via a Kaylee Puailoa home run. A few batters later, Anna Swafford put the Dawgs on top with a single that was scorched through the left side.

The scoring pattern would continue for the Georgia Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Niaja Griffin led off the frame by being plunked by a pitch, followed by a BEAUTIFUL drag bunt single by Paige Wilson. Geri Ann Glasco followed with an absolutely CRUSHED bomb to center field to put the Dawgs on top by a 9-5 margin. Tonight’s home run by Glasco was her 18th of the season and it helped increase her league-leading RBI total to 56 runs driven in. With two outs in the same inning, Tess Sito doubled and ended up scoring on a triple by Anna Swafford to bring the score to 10-5. The Bulldogs refused to lay down and settle for a five run lead as they added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to Paige Wilson’s 12th home run of the season. Texas A&M would manage to plate a run in both the 6th and 7th innings, but would fail to rally back against the Bulldogs as Georgia took Game 2 by a 12-7 final. How about the studly web gem snag in mid-air by Tess Sito to end the game?! Atta girl, Sito!

Morgan Montemayor pitched a great game tonight, going 6.1 innings, surrendering two earned runs, and striking out 8 Texas A&M batters. This is the Morgan Montemayor that I remember back in her debut in 2010 and this is the MoMo that will help Georgia deep into the postseason in 2013. Keep up the hard work, MoMo! Chelsea got roughed up a bit early, despite striking out the first two Aggie hitters, and I think we will continue to see her get plenty of innings in SEC play. I think the Aggies sat back and let the ball get a little deeper today than they did yesterday, and they simply seemed to have figured out CW’s game plan. I think if the coaches are going to rely a lot on the backdoor curve and slow curve in Chelsea’s first outing of a series, then they need to take a different approach in the second game she pitches. Perhaps a drop ball/rise ball combo to contrast the backdoor curve/slow curve/screw combo of the first day? Just some food for thought. Either way, CW was brilliant in Game 1 and Morgan was just as good in her outing tonight. I wonder if we will get to see Geri Ann in tomorrow’s contest or if the coaches will go back to Morgan or Chelsea? I am fine with whatever decisions the coaches make, especially since we have already won the series over the 13th-ranked team in the nation! Woo-hoo! 😀

Some of the errors and base-running mistakes reared their heads in today’s outing, although the girls continued building momentum and pounded out a whopping 18 hits off of three different Texas A&M pitchers. As I stated yesterday, it appears that Dumezich is injured or being rested because she did not hit or pitch in Game 2. I really wish we would get a chance to see her throw, as it would be great preparation for Florida, LSU, and the post season. Tonight’s game helped to highlight some of our keys to success, more specifically the need to get on base in front of our big hitters. Niaja Griffin and Sam LaZear went a combined 4-7 to really set the table for some monster hits. With both of these young ladies consistently getting on base, it not only increases our momentum and scoring opportunities, but it really has the ability to put lots of pressure on opposing defenses, in turn getting in their heads! I said it last night, and I will repeat myself again tonight: SPEED KILLS!!!

Kaylee Puailoa hit her 15th home run of the season against Texas A&M on Saturday evening. (Courtesy The Red & Black)

It brings me great joy to say this: Georgia finds themselves going for the series sweep over a very good Texas A&M squad tomorrow in Athens at 1PM. Be sure to come out and support the Bulldogs because, as always, admission is FREE and there will be plenty of fun opportunities for the younger fans!

Super proud of these Dawg softball players and coaches! Way to go!

As always, Go Dawgs!

#CommitToTheG          #SicEm          #RoadToWCWS

Wilkinson Dominates as Georgia Defeats 13th-Ranked Aggies

(VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE)

Georgia made no errors. They did not make any mental mistakes on the bases either. But, what the Georgia Softball team did make on Friday evening at a rainy Jack Turner Stadium was a resounding statement. On the back of a brilliant performance in the circle from Chelsea Wilkinson, Georgia never trailed and defeated the 13th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies by a final score of 3-1. Wilkinson went the distance, allowing 3 hits (2 being weak infield singles), giving up one earned run, and fanning a career-high 12 batters. With the career-high dozen strikeouts, Chelsea Wilkinson also set a new season-high for the entire pitching staff. Some of us fans here in Dawg Land have been getting a lot of good vibes from Chelsea’s outings lately, and watching her absolutely dominate one of the nation’s best offenses tonight reassured a lot of what we have been thinking: this kid is going to be the real deal, folks!

Chelsea Wilkinson in action against Texas A&M on a wet Friday evening in Athens.

Chelsea Wilkinson in action against Texas A&M on a wet Friday evening in Athens. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by John Kelly)

Georgia got on the board in the opening frame of the contest when Niaja Griffin singled and stole second base, all before reaching third base on a throw that sailed into center field from the arm of Megan May behind the plate. Paige Wilson followed with a shot that almost sailed over the wall, but instead bounced back in to play to be scored an RBI double. Geri Ann followed with a single through the left side, but would be left stranded despite the Dawgs scoring a run on yet another bad throw from Megan May. Kaylee Puailoa struck out, but the ball got away from May in the dirt and the the throw to first was errant, sailing into right field and scoring Paige from third base. Two runs would be the only scoring either team saw until the Aggies got on the board in the top of the third inning. With runners on first and second after a HBP and a walk, Megan May redeemed her errant throws with a soft RBI single up the middle. Wilkinson escaped the jam by fanning the following batter. Despite multiple scoring opportunities, Georgia waited until the sixth inning to add on an insurance run. With runners on second and third with two outs, Sam LaZear placed a perfect slap hit to the shortstop, allowing the runner from third to score and make it a 3-1 ball game. Chelsea Wilkinson (5-2) retired the final three batters of the game in order and picked up the win, going the distance while fanning an incredible 12 opposing batters.

Picking up the loss in the circle for the Aggies was their second string hurler, Lauren Ainsley (11-4). I am not sure what is going on with Mel Dumezich, but I noticed that I did not see her throwing in the bullpen at all throughout the entire night. Although she did not pitch, she was batting clean-up in the lineup, despite not reaching base a single time in the contest. I hope there is nothing wrong with Dumezich as far as her pitching is concerned because I want our Bulldogs to be able to get a glimpse of some good pitching before the trip down to Gainesville to play the Gators. Although she has not faced as much of the tough competition this year for the Aggies, Lauren Ainsley still did a pretty good job in the circle. Ainsley surrendered three runs, two earned, and struck out four batters. The Bulldogs left seven runners on base in the contest, and this was the only concerning thing I saw in the contest to be quite honest. But hey, I will take 7 runners LOB versus 11,12, 13+ any day of the week! 😀

So how about our slappers making big things happen as of late? Niaja Griffin led off the game with a hard hit single into center field and would eventually come around to score on Paige Wilson’s double off the top of the wall. In the sixth inning, hungry for some insurance runs, Sam LaZear provided just that with an RBI fielder’s choice that was perfectly executed. I am hoping that our slap hitters will keep finding ways to get on base when it matters in order to give us more and more chances to score both early and late in these games against tough SEC teams! Speed kills!!! Go Sam! Go Aja!

Rookie slapper and center fielder, Sam LaZear, batted 1-2 with an RBI for the Bulldogs on Friday evening.

Rookie slapper and center fielder, Sam LaZear, batted 1-2 with an RBI for the Bulldogs on Friday evening. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by John Kelly)

Georgia will return to the field tomorrow (Saturday) at 4pm to face off against the Aggies in Game 2 of this Southeastern Conference series. It would make sense to go back to Wilkinson in the circle, but then again you never know what will happen. It will be harder for Chelsea to dominate tomorrow with the Aggies having already seen her for a full game, but if she can mix the game plan up and attack different zones then I think she will find another heap of success! Words cannot describe how awesome CW was in the circle this evening. Not only was pitching great, but our base-running was crisp and aggressive, and our defense did not make a single error. Anna Swafford played a beastly third base tonight, while Paige Wilson and Tess Sito made some great plays in the middle infield also. If we can keep playing error-free, then we have a shot to beat anyone in the country! I am so proud of this team! It is all about getting hot at the right time and could this be the time? Let’s hope so!!!

As always, Go Dawgs!!!

#BeatTAMU          #SicEm          #CommitToTheG

Paige Wilson cheering her team on in the rain after doubling in Niaja Griffin in the first inning against Texas A&M on Friday.

Paige Wilson cheering her team on in the rain after doubling in Niaja Griffin in the first inning against Texas A&M on Friday. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by John Kelly)

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)

Tennessee Lady Volunteers Visit Athens This Weekend:

Georgia faces one of the toughest opponents of the season this weekend as the Bulldogs welcome the Tennessee Lady Volunteers to Jack Turner Stadium. In 2012, these two clubs faced an unimaginable five times with Georgia winning two of the five contests. Besides the regular season double-header, the two clubs faced each other three more times in the NCAA Knoxville Super Regional. Georgia won the first regular season meeting between the two in 2012 by a 3-1 margin in 11 innings before falling 2-1 in the second game. In the Knoxville Super Regional, Georgia lost the first contest 3-2, won the second by a narrow 1-0 score, and then dropped the final game 2-1–in turn allowing Tennessee to advance to the 2012 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. All of the meetings in 2012 between the two teams were very close contests because each side featured some outstanding pitching. Erin Arevalo threw some brilliant games against the Vols last season, and our pitchers this year are hoping to find similar success by mixing up spin and speeds!

Tennessee and Georgia are both currently tied for third place in the SEC East with identical 6-3 SEC records, behind only Florida (10-2 SEC) and Missouri (7-1 SEC). I really think the fact that this series is in Athens will really benefit our Dawgs, especially if the crowd this weekend is anything close to what it was like at the stormy, midweek rivalry game against Georgia Tech. We really need to take at least two of the three games in this series to prevent from dropping any further in the SEC. Florida takes on Mississippi State this weekend, while Mizzou takes on the Crimson Tide of Alabama.

Attention UGA fans: we need to be rooting for the other Bulldogs and the Tide in this case! 😀

In the all-time series between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Lady Vols, Tennessee leads by an extremely narrow 31-29 mark. Tennessee also leads the series in Athens by an even narrower 13-12 margin. Without a doubt, this series will be a trio of really exciting, competitive match-ups and I think our bats have the potential to spoil the Vols trip to Athens! We lead Tennessee in every offensive category with the exception to stolen bases and stolen base attempts, although Tennessee’s pitching staff has about a 1.00 run smaller earned run average than we do at this time. This should come as no surprise as Tennessee is known more for their strong pitching and offensive speed rather than their power at the plate. This has the potential to be one of the best conference series of the year and I hope our young Bulldogs can arise to the challenge and take it to the Vols with a lot of confidence!

As of late, sophomore OF Niaja Griffin has displayed some impressive slap hitting to go along with absolutely brilliant outfield work.

As of late, sophomore OF Niaja Griffin has displayed some impressive slap hitting to go along with absolutely brilliant outfield work. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler).

At the plate, Tennessee has two day-to-day hitters batting over the .400 mark in Seniors Raven Chavanne and Lauren Gibson. Chavanne has amassed an eye-popping .443 average and has also hit three home runs–all while driving in 17 runs from the leadoff position AND all while only striking out five times this season. Raven is one of the biggest leaders on this experienced Lady Vols squad and part of Georgia’s keys to success will be finding a definitive way of keeping Raven off of the bases. She is such a tricky offensive player to defend because of her offensive versatility, although past Georgia teams have often had success in getting Raven to ground out to a pulled-in infield. Lauren Gibson is batting an equally impressive .422 average with 7 HR and 30 RBI, all while slugging a powerful .706 mark. Tennessee possesses a lot of speed and line drive power from 1-9 in their line-up, and despite their low home run totals, the Lady Vols have struck for power against some of the top pitchers in the country when the situation has called for it. Good defense, smart pitch calling, and keeping the ball low in the zone are going to be the main keys to finding success against a very potent Tennessee line-up.

Although Tennessee comes equipped with an offense that many coaches would love to have, the Lady Vols pride themselves on how dominant they are in the circle. The Renfroe Sisters, Ellen and Ivy, may be one of the most notable duo of softball pitchers in the entire country besides Jackie Traina and Keilani Ricketts. With an impressive 13-3 record, Ivy Renfroe leads this year’s Tennessee pitching staff with a 1.45 ERA, 86.2 innings pitched, and 92 strikeouts. Although her pitching statistics are pretty impressive all around, perhaps the key figure I noticed was that Ivy Renfroe has only given up two home runs in 86.2 innings pitched this season. This figure intrigues me since our Dawgs are the #1 home-run hitting team in the country to date. I hope we can inflate those numbers just a little bit, although it is going to require a lot of patience at the plate! Ivy Renfroe is complimented extremely well by younger sister Ellen Renfroe: Ellen has tallied a 1.50 earned run average to go along with a 9-1 record, all while fanning 108 batters in 93.1 innings pitched. Last year in Knoxville, Ellen was throwing a no-no with two outs in the top of the 7th inning when Senior Kristyn Sandberg drove a pitch high and deep over the left field wall to break up the bid. Georgia would go on to win this contest in 11 innings, despite dropping the second game of the double dip. If Ivy and Ellen get worn down early, it would not be surprising to see the two youngsters, Cheyanne Tarango (4-1, 1.67 ERA) or Erin Gabriel (5-1, 2.66 ERA), get thrown into the mix.

Ellen Renfroe and Ivy Renfroe are two the more recognized pitchers in the Southeastern Conference. (Courtesy ESPN.com)

Tennessee is not only ranked as the 5th/6th team in the nation, but has amassed such a high ranking against some of the most potent competition in the country in 2013. Tennessee is coming fresh off a three-game sweep of the Texas A&M Aggies and four victories over Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State, and Western Carolina.

I am extremely eager to see how our Bulldogs will do against Tennessee this weekend in the friendly confines of Jack Turner Stadium. At this point, the Arkansas series seems like a million miles away and I think the girls have regrouped their focus on playing some absolutely killer games against the Lady Vols this weekend. It is still such a great time to be a Georgia Bulldog! Keep on fighting, girls!

Everyone, try to make it out this weekend to Jack Turner Stadium in Athens to see a great SEC series! Admission, as always, is free and the promotions staff has started doing some really neat stuff for fans who come out and show their support. Parking is free, win tee shirts, enter dance contests, moon walks and basketball for younger fans, free UGA softball posters/pom poms/schedules–all to compliment a wonderful afternoon of softball!

Dont forget to catch the Bulldogs on their first LIVE national television appearance on Sunday as the ladies from Athens will be broadcasted on Fox SportSouth!

As always, Go Dawgs!

#BulldogsEatCreamsicles     #LickEmDawgs          #BeatTennessee               #CommitToTheG

 

Schedule

Friday, April 5
• Georgia vs. No. 6/5 Tennessee – 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 6
• Georgia vs. No. 6/5 Tennessee – 4 p.m.

Sunday, April 7
• Georgia vs. No. 6/5 Tennessee – 1:07 p.m.

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
• Live video will be available online for free through GTV (Friday and Saturday only)
• Sunday’s game will be televised on Fox SportSouth

 

Kaylee "Moose" Puailoa rounds the bases after blasting her first career grand slam against Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa rounds the bases after blasting her first career grand slam against Georgia Tech on Wednesday. (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)