Feb. 9, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Sophomore Chelsea Wilkinson struck out eight batters and allowed just two hits as the No. 23/21 Georgia Bulldogs shut out James Madison 2-0 in the finale of the Seventh Annual Red and Black Showcase in front of a crowd of 304 at Jack Turner Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs improved to 5-0 after sweeping the weekend competition in the season opening tournament.
Wilkinson delivered another stellar performance for the Bulldogs (5-0), holding James Madison to zero runs on just two hits and no walks in her complete game effort to earn her fourth victory of the season. Wilkinson had a perfect game going into the sixth inning until Hannah Hayes hit a leadoff single into left field, but was caught in a rundown between first and second.
Jailyn Ford put forth a valiant effort for the Dukes (1-4) recording five strikeouts while allowing just one earned run on four hits through six innings of work. Ford and Wilkinson engaged in a textbook pitchers' duel Sunday afternoon, but the Bulldogs offense was able to do just enough to best Ford and the Dukes.
Junior Kaylee Williams delivered the first hit of the ball game in the bottom of the third, recording her first career hit in a Georgia uniform. After Niaja Griffin reached on a bunt single, Alex Hugo drove a sacrifice fly deep to centerfield, where James Madison's Mimi Morris and Tahli Moore collided on the catch allowing Williams to score from second to push the Bulldogs up 1-0 after three innings.
Williams also flashed her defensive abilities in the top of the fifth inning, making an incredible diving stop to preserve Wilkinson perfect game at the time. Catherine Calvin appeared to have fouled off Wilkinson pitch to lead off the inning, but the ball took an unexpected turn back into the field of play. Williams was able to scoop the ball up and dive to tag the first base bag to retire Calvin.
Georgia scored their second run of the afternoon after a series of consecutive errors by James Madison. Kaylee Puailoa reached second base on a bloop single into left field and then an error by the shortstop. Katie Sowers came into pinch run for Puailoa and was able to score on what appeared to be a routine groundout to third by Tina Iosefa, however, James Madison first baseman Cassidy Clayton couldn't make the catch. Iosefa was thrown out at second but Sowers was able to come around third and score to push the Bulldogs up 2-0 going into the final inning.
The Bulldogs will return to action on February 14 for the 11th Annual Georgia Softball Classic at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs play host in the tournament that will feature Furman, Mercer, Ohio, and South Alabama. Georgia's first matchup will come against the Furman Paladins on Friday at 3:00 before facing the Mercer Bears at 5:30 that same evening.