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!
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.
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
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.
• 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