2004 Softball Season Recap
Schedule and Results | Roster | Coaches
The Georgia softball team has made significant strides in the four years under Coach Lu Harris-Champer, and the 2004 season was no different.
The Bulldogs advanced to the title game of an NCAA regional for the first time ever, falling to Washington 3-1 and ending the season with a record of 55-17. Although Georgia concluded its season just short of earning a trip to the Women's College World Series, Harris-Champer is pleased with her team's success in 2004.
"This team made history this season after making it to the championship game of the regional tournament," she said. "We were one day of competition away from competing in the Women's College World Series. I am very proud of our student-athletes and their accomplishments this season."
The Bulldogs entered the 2004 season with high expectations and did not disappoint. Georgia earned series wins over No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge, No. 10 Tennessee in Athens, and No. 13 Florida in Gainesville. This is a significant accomplishment by itself, especially when considering they played a majority of the conference schedule without the 2003 SEC Pitcher of the Year Michelle Green and All-America first baseman Kim Wendland.Green missed 12 games with a knee injury and Wendland missed the final 20 games of the season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament.
"Our players showed great resiliency this season when faced with changes due to injuries," Harris-Champer said. "Every time we were forced to make a change, the players responded with even stronger team unity, and someone new always stepped up to get the job done."
Georgia rode the right arms of freshmen pitchers Kasi Carroll (18-8, 1.48 ERA) and Katie Griffith (19-5, 1.86 ERA) for the majority of the season. The rookie hurlers set several school records and are on track for a bright future. Georgia pitchers also recorded five perfect games in 2004, including a 17-strikeout performance by Green against Central Michigan. Green became Georgia's all-time leader in career wins (76) and strikeouts (798).
"All three of our pitchers were able to shine at different times throughout the season," Harris-Champer said. "The fact that all three had success and each of them return next year makes us very excited about the future."
Offensively, the Bulldogs paced the SEC and were third in the nation with a .329 team batting average. Wendland led all Georgia hitters with a school-record .437 mark at the plate and 65 RBI. Ashley Godfrey shattered the school record for home runs in a season after tallying 15 blasts. Outfielder Nicole Barber concluded her career at Georgia as the NCAA's all-time leader for stolen bases (251), consecutive stolen bases (73) and consecutive errorless games played (219). She became the SEC's all-time leading hitter with 379 in her career.
Her 59 steals in 2004 marked the fourth occasion she tallied 50 or more steals.
Barber and Wendland were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA and Easton First Team All-Americans at the conclusion of the 2004 season. Georgia's three seniors - Barber, Shannon McKeon and Julie Milner - concluded their careers as the most successful class in Georgia history, posting a four-year record of 204-74. The 2004 senior class captured the 2003 SEC championship and made three NCAA regional appearances.
Despite the loss of the seniors, Harris-Champer and the Bulldogs will look to continue to rewrite the Georgia record books next season. "Georgia fans can expect a team next year that play with total heart," she said. "It is our goal to make Georgia proud of its softball team through preparation, sacrifice and effort."