2000 Softball History
For the second time in two seasons, the hopes of Georgia's postseason chances came down to the final day of regular season play. The Bulldogs needed one win in a Saturday doubleheader at Florida to clinch the eighth spot in the SEC tournament, but this season did not end like 1999. Georgia failed to score a run on the last day of the year and missed the SEC tourney for the first time since 1997.
Georgia's youth highlighted the 2000 campaign as three freshmen started all but one game around the infield. Shortstop Michelle Tyree led the club with a .321 clip and earned team MVP honors. Tyree finished the year first on the team in hits (61), doubles (13), and total bases (78) and from Feb. 26-Mar. 10, she hit safely in 10 straight games. Second baseman Corin Tassio finished fifth in the SEC with a .972 fielding percentage and was third on the team with a .273 batting average. Lindsay Phillips was solid all year at the hot corner with a .944 fielding percentage, second among SEC third basemen.
Freshmen pitchers Rockie Castillo and Cynthia Polk helped complete the Bulldog pitching rotation, and both put up respectable numbers in their first year. The two combined for 12 wins in over 200 innings of work and Castillo set a team record of four saves.
The sophomores- Alyssa Mauro, Monique Rhoden, Sabrina Pimentel, and Melanie Robertson- were the silent contributors to the 2000 squad. Mauro and Rhoden made it tough for any hit to find the gap between center and left field. Rhoden was trouble for opponents at the plate as well, using her blazing speed to beat out bunts and infield singles Pimentel battled through injury and was the Bulldogs' best defensive catcher, allowing just two passed balls in 38 games. Robertson sparked the Dogs off the bench, stealing 11 bases in 16 tries.
Georgia again relied on four-year veteran and staff ace Natalie Price to carry the load on the mound all year. Price led the Bulldogs with a 16-12 record and earned the first no-hitter in Georgia history with a 2-0 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Feb. 26.
On Feb. 11, Price and the Bulldogs knocked off a ranked team for the first time in Georgia's history with a 4-2 win over No. 16 UMass in Phoenix, Ariz. Price was 4-4 against teams in the top-25 and against No. 21 Oklahoma Stat she came one bad pitch away from no-hitting the Cowboys. The Dogs were hot in big games all season, wrapping up the year with a 6-10 mark in contests against top-25 opponents. The high point of that record was a four-game sweep of eventual SEC tournament champion South Carolina on April 21 and 22. In that four-game sweep, Georgia's pitchers allowed just one run and the defense committed only three errors.
Six seniors ended their careers with the Bulldogs in 2000, leaving the team with no seniors for 2001. Included in Georgia's first four-year class was right fielder Beth Adams, who finished as the Bulldogs' all-time leading hitter with 183 base hits. The right fielder broke Jessi Cerra's old record of 169 in a doubleheader with Furman on April 4. Adams wrapped up the year second on the team with a .305 average and led with 20 stolen bases.
Georgia found a way to break some of its team records during the season. The Bulldogs' team batting average of .254 tied the 1998 team for the all-time high. In the field, the Bulldogs were sharp with a .961 percentage for a new team high. And all of that was done with as many as seven freshmen and sophomores in the everyday lineup.
Coach Alleen Hawkins capped her four-year Georgia career with a 115-123 ledger and has an overall coaching mark of 444-365.