No. 3 Bulldogs Defeat Spartans, 9-1

March 23, 2011

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ATHENS, Ga. - The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs returned to the win column on Wednesday by defeating the Spartans of USC Upstate, 9-1, in five innings at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.

In a game that last just an hour and 13 minutes, sophomore Alison Owen and junior Erin Arevalo combined to limit the Spartans (28-3) to just one unearned run on five hits. Owen (9-1) earned the win after pitching the first four innings and striking out five while Arevalo worked a scoreless fifth with two strikeouts.

The Georgia (24-4) pitching duo did not surrender a walk as they combined to toss 74 pitches with only nine of those being balls. Owen started the game with 22-striaght strikes before issuing her first ball with two outs in the third inning, and she went on to throw 43 strikes in 49 pitches. Arevalo closed the door on USC Upstate with 12-of-15 pitches going for strikes.

Both pitchers worked with plenty of offensive support as the Bulldogs scored in each of their four times at-bat to produce nine runs on 12 hits. USC Upstate's Morgan Childers (20-2) was handed the loss after allowing Georgia's first six runs on nine hits, and Spartan reliever Hannah Alexander allowed UGA's final three runs on three hits. Childers, who entered the contest with a NCAA-best 13.3 strikeouts per seven innings pitched, only struck out one batter.

Georgia jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Senior Taylor Schlopy hit her second first-inning leadoff home run of the year, and three batters later fellow senior Alisa Goler (3-for-3) added a two-run home run. It was the seventh home run of the year for Schlopy while Goler improved her team lead in the category to nine.

After Georgia added a run in the second on a two-out single up the middle from junior Ashley Pauly (3-for-3), USC Upstate scratched across its only run in the top of the third. Three consecutive two out singles and a Bulldog throwing error allowed Kim Brasil (2-for-3) to cross the plate.

The Bulldogs quickly responded with two more runs in the bottom of the third to push the score to 6-1. With a runner aboard after Goler leadoff with an infield single, senior Brianna Hesson (2-for-3) delivered a one-out, two-run home run to left, her seventh long ball of the season. It was the third home run of the day for the Bulldogs and it ended the day for Childers.

In the fourth, Georgia added the game's final three runs to reach the needed eight-run lead to win by run-rule. Schlopy drew a leadoff walk and moved around to third on a single from Pauly. The next three batters then picked up an RBI apiece as senior Megan Wiggins (2-for-3) doubled in a run, Goler singled on a shallow fly ball to left and junior Kristyn Sandberg accounted for a run crossing the plate on a groundout.

Up next, Georgia returns to the road traveling to Gainesville, Fla., to face No. 2 Florida. The three-game Southeastern Conference series between the Bulldogs (5-3 SEC) and Gators (30-1, 7-0 SEC) will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Game two on Saturday will air on Fox Sports Florida with first pitch at 4:30 p.m., and series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

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