April 2, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 15/17 Georgia softball team took a 9-7 win over in-state rival Georgia Tech in a thrilling fashion, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth in front of a capacity crowd on Wednesday, April 2, at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 31-5 on the year, while Georgia Tech dropped to 19-12 overall. It was also Georgia's 25th home win of the year.
Kaylee Puailoa came through with the game-winning hit, a double which scored Anna Swafford and Chelsea Wilkinson and sealed Georgia's come-from-behind win. Paige Wilson and Alex Hugo each went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored twice to help pace Georgia's offense.
Wilkinson earned the win for the Bulldogs to improve to 15-2 on the year. She entered the circle in the third inning for the Bulldogs and threw the final five, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out five. Geri Ann Glasco got the start for the Bulldogs and threw two innings, allowing five runs, four of which were earned, on seven hits. She also struck out three batters. Georgia Tech used a bevy of pitchers, but it was starter Kylie Kleinschmidt who suffered the loss to fall to 12-7 on the year. She allowed six runs on six hits and three walks. Kleinschmidt threw the first 2.1 innings before being pulled in favor of Kanani Cabrales. Cabrales threw 0.2 innings and gave up one unearned run on two hits. Ashley Clifton also saw time in the circle, allowing two runs on one hit and three walks in two innings of work. Kleinschmidt reentered in the sixth inning to take the loss.
The Bulldogs struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Wilson got things started with a one-out single before moving to second when Alex Hugo was hit by a pitch. With two on and two outs, Glasco came through with a hard hit single to right center that scored Wilson and made it a 1-0 game. Hugo crossed the plate on a wild pitch, increasing Georgia's lead to 2-0.
Georgia Tech got a run back in the top of the second to make it a 2-1 game. Cabrales led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error. A one-out single moved her to second before a single to left by Chelsie Thomas allowed Cabrales to score. Tech loaded the bases, but Glasco induced a fly ball to center that ended the inning with Georgia's lead intact.
After a scoreless second for the Bulldogs, Georgia Tech took a 5-2 lead in the top of the third. The Jackets scored their first run of the inning on a RBI single by Cabrales. After Georgia turned to Wilkinson in the circle, Georgia Tech scored two more runs to make it a 5-2 game on a two-run single that tipped off of Wilkinson's glove and into shallow left. A grounder to second ended the inning.
Georgia used a three run third inning to tie the game at 5-5. Wilson sparked the rally with a one-out double off the wall in left center. Hugo followed with a RBI single to right center that scored Wilson and made it a 5-3 game. Hugo moved all the way to third on the play with the help of an error by the centerfielder. Hugo crossed home plate for the second time on an illegal pitch by Cabrales, who came into pitch after the Hugo single. Trailing 5-4, Tina Iosefa delivered an RBI-fielder's choice that allowed Puailoa score the tying run that brought the score to 5-5. Bethany Beggs kept the inning going with a single down the right field line, but Iosefa was caught trying for home to end the inning.
The Yellow Jackets looked to break the tie in the top of the fifth inning, getting a leadoff walk and a two-out infield single. Katie Browne proved why she is one of the top defensive catchers in the country as she threw a bullet to Hugo at second to pick off the runner and end the inning.
Georgia Tech broke the tie with two outs in the top of the sixth with a two-run home run by Alysha Rudnik that gave the Jackets a 7-5 lead.
The Bulldogs were down down to their last six outs trailing 7-5 but only needed three as they scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 9-7 lead. A pair of walks to Iosefa and Beggs forced Georgia Tech to call upon Kleinschmidt to reenter the game. With one out and runners at first and second, Wilkinson came through with a sharply hit single through the right side to load the bases. The hit was the first of the season for Wilkinson. With the bases loaded and one out, Swafford worked the count full before drawing a walk that scored pinch runner Adele Harrison and cut the Tech lead to 7-6. After a fly out, Hugo walked on five pitches, which drove in the tying run. With the score knotted at seven and two outs, Puailoa drove in the eventual game-winner with a double to center that allowed both Swafford and Wilkinson to cross the plate and give the Bulldogs a 9-7 lead.
Wilkinson returned to the circle in the top of the seventh and recorded two quick outs on a pop up and ground out. She caught the final batter looking to end the inning and preserve Georgia's 9-7 win.
The Bulldogs return to action this weekend, April 4-6, when it hosts South Carolina in Southeastern Conference action. The first pitch of the series is set for 6 p.m., on Friday, April 4.