1999 Softball History
What started as a season of such promise in February, came to a frustrating end three months later for the Georgia softball team, but despite their late-season struggles, the Bulldogs see the light at the top of the SEC tunnel and are certainly headed in that direction.
Little did the Bulldogs know that their opening game against nationally ranked Long Beach State would be such a defining moment in the season, but unfortunately it was. Georgia jumped out to a 6-2 lead in that game only to surrender a late inning rally to fall 7-6.
Georgia rebounded in mid season and came out of the SEC gates blazing with a four game sweep of rival Tennessee.
In the series against the Lady Vols, Georgia trailed in all four games and were behind entering the final at bat in three of those contests (they were tied in the other). But the Bulldogs showed the fire that they were capable of during that weekend, rallying in the bottom of the seventh of each game. Georgia had a different hero in each game as four different Bulldogs collected game-winning hits in the sweep.
The Bulldogs would go on to a 9-3 mark in the SEC and held soel possession of first place in the East. From there, Georgia hit a wall, beginning with two tough losses at ninth-ranked LSU. The Bulldogs would drop two games to the eventual SEC champion and two days later lost two one-run games at Arkansas.
Georgia never recovered. The team would go on to drop four games at South Carolina the following weekend, scoring just one run in the series, and when starting centerfielder Stephanie Halminski went down in the first game against Auburn the next week, the Bulldog offense began to sputter even more.
Georgia did defeat Auburn and Florida over the final two weekends to earn its second straight trip to the SEC tournament in Columbus, Ga., but drew LSU in the opening round. After battling the Tigers pitch for pitch through three innings, Georgia surrendered seven runs in the fourth inning as they went on to lose 8-0. In the second round, the Bulldogs lost a 4-0 decision to South Carolina ending their season at 28-31, going 3-16 in its final 19 games. To Georgia's defense, of those final 19 games, the Bulldogs went just 1-16 without Halminski.
Georgia also played 23 games against teams that earned NCAA bids. Geogia did have six wins against those teams, by far the most ever for the program as Georgia had just one win against the 1998 NCAA field.
The Bulldogs also had a flare for the dramatic, winning nine games in their final at bat, including seven SEC wins in that fashion and were no doubt much more competitive on the field.