Senior Bri Hesson provided eight, two-out RBI in a sweep over #2 Florida.
March 29, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY - University of Georgia senior Brianna Hesson has been named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week according to an announcement made by the Amateur Softball Association of America on Tuesday.
Hesson, a native of Sugar Hill, Ga., who also named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, helped the Bulldogs go 4-0 last week with a win over USC Upstate at Jack Tuner Softball Stadium before going on the road and sweeping the second-ranked Florida Gators, 10-7, 13-5 and 5-1. It marked the first series win over UF for UGA since 2006.
"Obviously, this is a big honor," said Hesson, who becomes just the second player in school history to be named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week. "It's kind of overwhelming to hear the news. I'm more in shock right now than anything. The last couple of weekends I wasn't staying the process of the game, and I was more worried about the outcome rather than pitch-to-pitch. Staying the process this week helped me have the performance that I did not only at the plate but defensively as well. When we played USC Upstate we faced a National Pro Fastpitch draftee (Morgan Childers) and that was going to set the tone for the week, and staying the process in that game is what helped with the outcome against Florida."
Hesson batted .500 with a team-best six runs scored, 10 RBI and five extra-base hits on the week including tying for the team lead with three home runs while also slugging 1.188. Eight of Hesson's 10 RBI came in Georgia's sweep over Florida, and all eight came with two outs as she led a Bulldog squad that scored 20-of-28 runs with two outs in the series.
"Our whole team did outstanding this week," Hesson added. "Morgan Montemayor put on a show, especially with a three-hitter in our third game at Florida. We went out Tuesday for practice and Coach (Lu) Harris-Champer gave us the insight to not only build from the previous weekend at Alabama but to also continue to fight and get one-percent better as a team, and that showed this past weekend. You can't say enough about our defense that we kept battling and doing the little things that we need to do."
In game one of the series with Gators, Hesson drove in Georgia's first run on a two-out single, and in the seventh, Hesson hit a two-out, three-run home run that proved to be the difference in the 10-7 victory. In game two at UF, she hit another two-out, three-run home run in the fourth that also proved to provide the Bulldogs with the enough runs as it gave Georgia six runs en route to winning 13-5. Both of the three-run home runs followed walks to fellow senior Alisa Goler including an intentional walk to face Hesson in game one. In the series finale, Hesson once again drove in Georgia's first run with two outs in the first.
Hesson, Georgia's everyday first base man for the first three years of her career and the better half of her senior season has transitioned to right field. Last week's games were just the fifth through eighth appearances for Hesson at the position as she began playing there at South Carolina on March 16.
"It's a great honor for Bri to be named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week," head coach Lu Harris-Champer said. "I'm extremely proud of Bri. She is one of those players that works extremely hard and is always in it for her team. She's always puts her team first and is a selfless-hardworking player. I'm super excited for her success and this recognition for her."
Prior to Hesson's honor on Tuesday, Michelle Green was the only other Bulldog to earn the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor doing so on two occasions (March 24, 2003; April 6, 2005).
Hesson and Bulldogs (27-4) return to action with five home games this week beginning with an in-state showdown against Georgia Tech (28-5) on Wednesday. First pitch at Jack Turner Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.