March 28, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - A late-inning rally fell just short as the No. 13/14 Georgia softball team dropped an 8-6 decision to the No. 16/19 Missouri Tigers in the series opener of the Southeastern Conference series on Friday, March 28 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. The Bulldogs dropped to 29-4 on the year and 5-2 in SEC play, while Missouri improved to 24-8 overall and 3-4 in league play.
Chelsea Wilkinson got the start for the Bulldogs and suffered the loss to fall to 16-3 overall. It was her first loss of the year in SEC play. She allowed eight runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four in three innings in the circle. Bekah Farris entered the game in the fourth and threw three shutout innings of relief. Tori Finucane improved to 10-4 with the complete game win. She allowed six runs, five of which were earned, on six hits and two walks, while striking out nine.
The Georgia offense hit three home runs, including an inside the park home run by Anna Swafford. Alex Hugo and Paige Wilson also belted home runs for the Bulldogs. Kaylee Puailoa led the offense, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Wilson also had a multi-hit day, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Bulldogs wasted little time to take a lead, as Swafford took the second pitch of the game to the warning track. The ball fell between the Mizzou center fielder and right fielder, allowing Swafford to round the bases for an inside the park home run. It marked the first inside the park home run of her career. It was also the second-straight week that Swafford has led off an SEC series with a home run. After two outs, Hugo got into a pitch and lifted it over the wall in right field for a solo home run that put the Bulldogs up 2-0. It was Hugo's team, SEC and nation leading 14th homer of the year.
After being held hitless in the first two innings, Missouri took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Corrin Genovese led off the inning with a home run to left center that cut Georgia's lead to 2-1. After a walk and a sacrifice fielder's choice, Sami Fagan belted a home run to right that gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at 4-2. An infield single scored Angela Randazzo to make it a 5-2 game. With two outs and a runner at second, Kelsea Roth hit a two-run home run that extended the Tiger lead to 7-2. Genovese followed with her second home run of the inning that made it an 8-2 game. A groundout to second ended the inning.
Georgia got a run back in the top of the fourth to make it an 8-3 game. Hugo led off the inning by sending a ball deep to the track in center, but the centerfield dropped it, allowing Hugo to move all the way to third on the error. Puailoa drove Hugo in by taking the first of her at bat through the middle for an RBI-single that made it an 8-3 game. Georgia couldn't get another run across as a double play ended the inning.
The Bulldogs turned to Farris in the circle in the bottom of the fourth inning. After giving up an infield single, she retired the next three batters in order to end the inning.
Georgia made it a two-run game at 8-6 in the top of the sixth. Paige Wilson led off the inning with her seventh home run of the season to make it an 8-4 game. After both Geri Ann Glasco and Hugo reached on walks, Puailoa hit a liner into the gap in center for a two-run double that cut the lead to 8-6. Puailoa was left stranded at second as all three outs were recorded.
Farris worked herself out of a jam with runners at second and third with no outs, to retire the final three batters in order to keep the Bulldogs within two. Georgia was unable to plate another run, allowing Missouri to come away with the 8-6 win.
Georgia looks to even the series against Missouri when it returns to action tomorrow, March 29, at 3 p.m. ET.