May 9, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - The fifth-seeded University of Georgia softball team powered its way to a 7-0 win over the No. 4 seed LSU Tigers in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament in Lexington, Ky. Georgia improved to 38-18 with the win, while LSU fell to 40-14 this season. The win marked Georgia's seventh win over a ranked opponent in the last four weeks, and the third win over LSU in a week.
Chelsea Wilkinson earned her fourth win over a top-25 opponent in the last four weeks, throwing a complete game shutout to improve to 8-4 on the season and scattering just five hits over seven innings. Rachele Fico got the start for LSU and dropped to 24-11 on the season with the loss. She allowed seven runs, six of which were earned, on 10 hits and three walks in the complete-game performance. She also struck out seven batters.
After a pair of 1-2-3 innings by Wilkinson, Katie Browne gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with a leadoff home run deep over the left field wall. Georgia looked to add to its lead, but left two runners stranded as the side was retired.
Anna Swafford led off the top of the fifth inning by working a full count before taking the payoff pitch through the right side for a single. Paige Wilson followed by legging out an infield single to put a pair of runners on with no outs. With runners at second and third with one away, Kaylee Puailoa delivered a single through the right side and into shallow right field that allowed both runners to score and extend Georgia's lead to 3-0.
Tess Sito reached base for the third time of the game with a leadoff walk in the sixth. A sacrifice bunt by Christine Olney moved Sito to second. With Sito in scoring position, Niaja Griffin singled, but a fielding error at first allowed Sito to come home and Griffin to move to second, giving the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
A.J. Andrews laced a single down the right field line in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tigers a runner with one out. After Wilkinson struck out Jacee Blades, Bianka Bell singled into left, putting two on for LSU. Maya Branch secured the third out with a running grab in foul territory down the right field line to end the scoring threat.
Georgia added three insurance runs in the top seventh to take a 7-0 lead. With runners at first and second after a walk by Wilson and single by Geri Ann Glasco, Puailoa came through with a single to right to load the bases with no outs for the Bulldogs. Tina Iosefa battled through a long at bat but was hit by a pitch, which allowed Wilson to cross the plate and give Georgia a 5-0 lead. Sito made it a 6-0 game when she hit into a fielder's choice that allowed pinch runner Katie Sowers to score. Puailoa scored Georgia's seventh and final run of the game when she came home as Sito was caught stealing second.
Georgia will take on top-seeded Florida tomorrow, May 10, at 1 p.m., in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. The game will be televised on ESPNU.