Home: 27-2; Away: 10-5; Neutral: 10-5; vs. Top 25: 15-9 Final Ranking: 4
The Georgia Bulldogs finished the 2009 season with a 47-12 overall record, made the school's eighth-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and advanced to the program's first-ever Women's College World Series. Georgia, the Easton Sports, Inc., Team of the Year, reached the final four of the WCWS and was the only team to defeat eventual national champion Washington at the event.
In both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) final poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball final poll, the Bulldogs ranked fourth behind national champion Washington, national runner-up Florida and Alabama. The ranking of fourth is the highest-ever for Georgia passing the program's previous best of fifth during middle of the 2004 season.
The Bulldogs were the nation's youngest team in 2009 with 90-percent underclassman but still finished the year with NCAA statistics rankings of first in fielding percentage (.981), second in slugging percentage (.574), fourth in home runs per game (1.44), sixth in scoring (6.32 runs per game) and 10th in batting average (.319). Among the Southeastern Conference, where Georgia finished second in the Eastern Division and third overall with a record of 18-7, the Bulldogs set a new league record for team slugging percentage and would have set a new home run record with 85 long balls except for Florida's 86 this season. Georgia also tied for the league lead in triples with 17 and its national-leading fielding percentage was the third-best in SEC history.
In the Georgia record books, several team and individual records were broken in 2009. As a team, the Bulldogs established new single-season records for home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and fielding percentage. They also tied the school record for sacrifice flies (23). Individually, sophomore Alisa Goler climbed to the top of multiple categories. She now stands as the single-season school record holder for batting average (.455), home runs (24), RBI (83), extra-base hits (41), total bases (164), slugging percentage (.994), on-base percentage (.551), walk-to-strikeout ratio (6.00) and "Toughest to K" with just six strikeouts per 165 at-bats. Both Goler's RBI and slugging percentage totals established new SEC records, and her slugging percentage was the best mark in the nation this season. Goler's 24 home runs were just one shy of the SEC record set by Alabama's Kelly Kretschman in 1998. Right behind Goler's charge into the record books was fellow sophomore Taylor Schlopy. If not for Goler, Schlopy would have set new Georgia records for slugging (.819) and on-base percentage (.550). Schlopy led the team in runs scored with 71, which tied for the third-best total in school history, and she also contributed 15 home runs and 47 RBI. Her 15 long balls rank tied fourth most in UGA history. Both Goler, a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year top 10 finalist, and Schlopy, who was among 41 athletes chosen to attend the USA Softball Women's National Team selection camp, were named first-team All-America by both the NFCA and Easton.
The end of the 2009 season marked the end of seniors Christie Hamilton and Kristin Schnake's Bulldog careers. Hamilton finishes her career at Georgia ranked fourth in several categories including appearances (108), starts (76), wins (56), complete games (50), shutouts (18/9), saves (4), innings pitched (534.1) and strikeouts (429). Schnake finishes her career at Georgia ranked fourth in assists (347), fifth in sacrifice hits (33) and tied 10th in stolen bases (42). Schnake signed with the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch league to play professionally.
2009 Player Honors
USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 Finalist Alisa Goler
WCWS All-Tournament Team Alisa Goler Taylor Schlopy
All-SEC Freshman Team Kristyn Sandberg
SEC Player of the Week Alisa Goler (2/23) Kristin Schnake (3/9) Taylor Schlopy (5/4)
USA Softball National Team Selection Camp Invitation Taylor Schlopy
All-Southeast Region Alisa Goler Taylor Schlopy
All-SEC Defensive Team Kristin Schnake, SS
SEC Pitcher of the Week Christie Hamilton (3/30) Christie Hamilton (5/4)
NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-America First Team Alia Goler Taylor Schlopy
All-SEC First Team Alisa Goler Taylor Schlopy
SEC Community Service Team Sarah McCloud
Easton Challenge All-Tournament Team Sarah McCloud Kristin Schnake
Easton All-America First Team Alisa Goler Taylor Schlopy
All-SEC Second Team Christie Hamilton Brianna Hesson
CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team Taylor Schlopy
Preseason Top 50 Watchlist for the 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Megan Wiggins