Bulldogs Blast Blazers In NCAA Softball Athens Regional

May 21, 2011

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ATHENS-----The eighth-ranked Georgia softball team tied the school record with five home runs and beat UAB 9-2 in the winner's bracket of the NCAA Athens Regional Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium. It is the fifth time UGA has hit five home runs in a game and the first in a postseason game.

The Bulldogs (49-12) will play Florida State in the championship game at noon on Sunday. If necessary, a second game will be played Sunday at 2:30 p.m. to determine the winner of the Athens Regional. Georgia needs just one win to advance to the Super Regional for the fourth straight year.

"I was really proud of our team today and for bringing their pregame, batting practice mentality into competition," Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer said. "I thought we hit the ball really well. We were able to make adjustments pitcher-by-pitcher. I'm proud of Ashley Razey for setting the tone for the day and then everybody else who came in and picked it up."

Megan Wiggins went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs for the Bulldogs, while Laura Trout and Ashley Pauly also had two hits apiece and Kristyn Sandberg drove in three runs.

Razey gave Georgia a 1-0 lead with a solo home run to lead off the second. Then the Bulldogs added to their lead in the third inning with back-to-back homers from Pauly and Wiggins, extending the lead to 3-0. It marked the first time Georgia hit back-to-back home runs since April 2010 when Brianna Hesson and Alisa Goler did it against Ole Miss.

UAB (39-18) scored an unearned run in the third to cut Georgia's lead to 3-1. A pair of two-out Bulldog errors put runners at first and second, then Kayla Orr singled in Caley Walden for the Blazers' first run of the game.

Georgia blasted its fourth home run of the game with two outs in the fifth as Sandberg's three-run shot made it 6-1. The three RBIs by Sandberg brought the season two-out RBI total to 138.

Georgia's fifth home run came in the sixth inning as Pauly singled with one out, followed by an opposite field blast by Wiggins to make it 8-1. After a walk and stolen base by Taylor Schlopy, Goler plated the Bulldogs' ninth run with an RBI single off UAB reliever Lannah Campbell.

The Blazers added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out home run by Kristen McGrath.

Georgia starter Morgan Montemayor (25-3) picked up the win for the second straight day, allowing three hits and one run - unearned - in five innings. Allison Owen pitched the final two innings for the Bulldogs and allowed one run on one hit.

"We did really good today," Wiggins said. "I think that our goal today was to be aggressive because watching UAB before our game, we knew that they were a really good ball club and that Streetman was a really good pitcher. We just had a mindset of being aggressive and getting out hacks in. We played solid defense all day behind both of our pitchers and both of them did really well today. We had great synergy and everybody was up hitting the ball and seeing the ball."

Leigh Streetman (16-8) took the loss for UAB, allowing three runs on three hits in two innings.

Live stats for all Athens Regional games can be found on www.georgiadogs.com, and free live video for all contests will also be available.

2011 NCAA ATHENS REGIONAL SCHEDULE OF GAMES:

Friday, May 20
2:30 p.m. Game 1: UAB d. Florida State, 2-0
5 p.m. Game 2: Georgia d. Georgia State, 8-0 (5 innings)

Saturday, May 21
12 p.m. Game 3: Georgia d. UAB, 9-2
2:30 p.m. Game 4: Georgia State (H) vs. Florida State (V)
5 p.m. Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs. UAB

Sunday, May 22
12 p.m. Game 6: Georgia vs. Winner Game 5
2:30 p.m. Game 7 (If Necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6


Game Three Post-Game Quotes

Georgia 9, UAB 2

Georgia head coach Lu Harris-Champer

Opening Statement... "I was really proud of our team today and for bringing their pregame, batting practice mentality into competition. I thought we hit the ball really well. We were able to make adjustments pitcher-by-pitcher. I'm proud of Ashley Razey for setting the tone for the day and then everybody else who came in and picked it up."

On having a batting practice mentality... "It means that we're just staying relaxed and staying loose at the plate. Seeing the ball and letting it get deep on our hitters."

Georgia leftfielder, #25 Megan Wiggins

On the win... "We did really good today. I think that our goal today was to be aggressive because watching UAB before our game, we knew that they were a really good ball club and that Streetman was a really good pitcher. We just had a mindset of being aggressive and getting out hacks in. We played solid defense all day behind both of our pitchers and both of them did really well today. We had great synergy and everybody was up hitting the ball and seeing the ball."

On generating offense... "We focus on having a line drive mentality. Not necessarily going up to the plate looking to hit a home run, but just staying in the process, working for base hits and if they go, they go. That's something that our lineup one through nine does really well. We just look for base hits together. A lot of times they fall, a lot of times they don't. Yesterday, we didn't have a single home run, but to generate runs is our main goal. Today, we hit a few. Just keeping a line drive mentality and stringing base this together one through nine is just the main goal that we try to focus on."

Georgia catcher, #23 Kristyn Sandberg

On the win... "I think both of our pitchers came out pitching real well today. I think our lineup was great one through nine today, taking our batting practice mentality into the game. Being loose and relaxed at the plate has really helped us out over these last couple of those games. Watching UAB, we knew they were a great club and I'm proud of us for going out there and playing like we know how to play, playing Georgia softball."

UAB head coach Marla Townsend

Opening Statement... "Coming in, we knew it was going to be a hard fought game. I think the thing that we can take from this game is that we never quit and from the first pitch to the last pitch, we were out there trying to play our ball. As a pitching staff, we gave up five home runs but it's a matter of us taking care of business, controlling what we can control when we release the ball and where the pitching goes. Obviously, Georgia is probably the best hitting team we've faced all year and one of the top teams in the nation so I'm still proud of us hitting our spots. I felt like we did a good job. Defense was solid and to have no errors with how hard they hit the ball, I'm very proud of that. We did a good job at the plate. You come into this tournament and you play to win, but if you get beat, you get beat. You've got to hand it to your opponents. We're hungry to get back and face Georgia again."

On using four pitchers in the game... "Obviously, Leigh did a good job in her two innings and she gave up three hits. We were mixing it up when Alisha [Smith] came in and I thought that they complimented each other really well. When we were down 6-1, we wanted to get some pitchers in who have been working really hard all season long and deserved the opportunity to get out there."

On what they can take from this game... "Offensively, I thought we need to make a minor adjustment here and there. Defensively, we were solid. On the pitching, when you're facing that tough of hitters, you've got to use all planes. You've got to use east and west, inside and outside, but you're also got to use north and south. I thought we did a good job of doing that today, but that's something that we can definitely work on and bring out here if we're playing on the 22nd of May."

UAB pitcher, #13 Leigh Streetman

On the loss... "It was a tough loss but we'll bounce back. We'll be back."

On facing an offense like Georgia's... "It's a challenge. Me and our senior pitcher Alisha [Smith] talked about it before the game. We knew it was going to be a challenge. We went in thinking that we were on top and not the underdog. We went in thinking that we were going to throw and be fine. We knew that were going to hit the ball. I felt like we threw pretty well but they're just good hitters."

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