While no one among the Bulldog faithful enjoyed watching the Georgia softball team fall to division rival Tennessee on Friday night, few Red and Black boosters would have had any quarrel with the matchup that was created by that setback. Had we been permitted to pick the opponent we most wanted to see victimized in the elimination game that afforded the Athenians their 50th victory of the season and allowed them to advance to the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series, we probably would have been in 100 per cent agreement upon the Florida Gators as the team to take the loss. Well, we got our wish.
Alisa Goler’s two-run shot to right center field staked Georgia to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of a game in which the Bulldogs never trailed. The Sunshine State Saurians clawed their way back with single scores in the fourth and fifth frames before Megan Wiggins came home on the Brianna Hesson RBI single that scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning. While Wiggins did not extend her school-record 22-game hitting streak, she reached base for the 33rd consecutive contest in order to score the winning run.
Alison Owen drew the starting assignment and lasted into the decisive fifth stanza, surrendering four hits and two earned runs before giving way to Erin Arevalo. The sophomore reliever secured her twentieth win of the year by going almost three full cantos without an earned run charged against her. Arevalo allowed just two hits and fanned six, including five straight to end the game.
Next up for the Red and Black is a 1:00 p.m. outing on ESPN against UCLA to set up a rematch between the Bulldogs and the Bruins at 7:00 Sunday evening. Georgia would need to win both games in order to advance to the finals. Although that would be a tall order, we can, in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, think about that tomorrow. For now, we can enjoy the satisfaction of having sent the Gators packing, secure in the knowledge that there ain’t nothing like being a Bulldog on Saturday night after beating Florida.