Georgia Softball Takes Game One of Super Regional Over Lady Vols
(utsports.com) ATHENS, Ga. — Tennessee scored two runs in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to cut into a 4-0 deficit, but it was not enough as Georgia took the opening game of the NCAA Athens Super Regional 4-3 on Friday at Jack Turner Stadium.
After the Bulldogs (46-11) hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning to go ahead by four, the Lady Vols (48-13) were able to settle in defensively and held Georgia to zero runs over the final three frames. Caylan Arnold went a full six innings in the loss, recording three strikeouts while yielding seven hits.
Georgia got out to a strong start with a pair of first-inning runs that made it 2-0. Cortni Emanuel led off with a bunt single, and two batters later a Justice Milz double to left center brought Emanuel all the way home from first. A base knock from Alyssa DiCarlo put Milz on third before she was able to tag up on a deep fly from Alysen Febrey.
The Bulldogs would increase their lead in the bottom of the third thanks to back-to-back solo home runs from DiCarlo and Febrey. DiCarlo finished the game with a 2-for-3, 2 RBI performance while Febrey went 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs herself.
Following a rain delay that lasted one hour and 57 minutes, the Lady Vols came back on the field looking to find some momentum that would help them claw back into the game. Tennessee finally found an offensive spark in the top of the sixth, as Meghan Gregg led off with a line drive single up the middle and Chelsea Seggern was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. A groundout from Ashley Morgan advanced the runners to second and third, and Abby Lockman lifted a deep fly ball that allowed Gregg to tag up and put a run on the board for the Big Orange. Amanda Ayala then drilled a double to left center that brought in Seggern and cut the UGA advantage to 4-2.
After Arnold sent the Bulldogs down with four pitches in the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Vols came right back up to bat trying to carry over their newfound firepower. Leach drew a leadoff walk and Jenna Holcomb followed with a walk of her own. Gregg then grounded into a fielder’s choice, but was able to beat out the throw to first and negate the double play. Leach advanced to third on the play, and as the attempted throw to get Gregg out got past the first baseman, Leach took off for home and scored to make it a one-run ballgame. Seggern then hit into a fielder’s choice that took UT down to its final out. A fielding error kept Tennessee alive for a moment, but it would prove to be too little, too late, as Lockman flied out to center to end the game.
Kylie Bass earned the win for the Bulldogs, improving to 15-3 on the season. Bass went 5.2 innings and struck out two batters, before Mary Wilson Avant came in to secure the last four outs.
UP NEXT: The Lady Vols look to keep their season alive on Saturday as they take on the Bulldogs in Game 2 at 3:00 p.m.