Highlights from softball's 9-0 win over Chattanooga in the NCAA Regional from Athens.
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May 16, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Fourth seeded Georgia erupted for five runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth inning, as the Bulldogs beat the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 9-0 in five innings in their first game of the NCAA Athens Regional at Jack Turner Stadium on May 16 in Athens, Georgia.
Georgia (46-12) collected nine hits on offense, with major contributions coming from Paige Wilson (2-for-3, two doubles and one RBI) and Anna Swafford (2-for-2, triple and three RBIs). Kaylee Puailoa had a three-run home run and two walks. Chelsea Wilkinson pitched four scoreless innings and allowed just two hits to earn the win and improve to 30-7 on the year. Wilkinson became the first Bulldog pitcher to record 30 wins in a season since junior Kasi Carroll won 30 games in 2006, and the first sophomore to do so since Michelle Green won 39 games in 2003.
Katie Henderson started the game for Chattanooga (34-20) but allowed eight runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings to earn the loss and fall to 19-11 on the year. Alyssa Taylor and Stephanie Rieck recorded the only two hits of the game for the Moccasins on offense.
"I was very proud of the way that our team came out and competed," Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer said following the game. "We knew that Chattanooga was a great team and they had a great season. We had to come out and have a great game and I'm very proud of our team for playing hard. I thought the offense did a great job of sticking to the plan and getting runs across the plate.
Georgia got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning off of an RBI double by Katie Browne to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead through two. Browne's eighth double of the season drove in Puailoa who had lead off the inning with a walk, and then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball.
The Bulldogs extended their lead in the bottom of the third inning, as Puailoa blasted a three run homer into right field. Puailoa's seventh home run of the season came with two outs, after Tina Iosefa was able to draw a two-out walk after a tough at bat. Paige Wilson lead off the inning with her 15th double of the year and also scored on the homer, putting Georgia's lead at 4-0 after three.
Georgia was again able to put runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth, this time tallying five runs to extend their lead to 9-0. Both Wilson and Alex Hugo provided RBI base hits for the Bulldogs, Hugo's coming with two outs. Henderson then surrendered a single to Iosefa and a walk to Puailoa to load the bases with two outs and end her day on the mound as Taylor Deason came in to pitch for Chattanooga. Deason then gave up a bases clearing triple to Anna Swafford to cap off the inning.
"It's all about the team and how we're able to get runners on bases and get those hits to bring them in," Puailoa said of Georgia's big innings on offense. "Just being able to have bases together and just be able to fight through it all is big."
Geri Ann Glasco came in to pitch for the Bulldogs in the top of the fifth inning and was able to clinch the run rule victory over the Moccasins, pitching a scoreless inning while allowing two walks and no hits.
Georgia will play NC State at noon on May 17 at Jack Turner Stadium in their second game of the NCAA Athens Regional. The loser of the game will play the winner of the UAB vs. Chattanooga game at 5 p.m. Georgia faced off against NC State earlier in the season on February 21 at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Florida. The Bulldogs defeated the Wolfpack 8-0 in five innings.