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In all the excitement surrounding this afternoon’s basketball game, you may have missed this, but it was announced around 9:30 this morning that the No. 1-ranked Georgia softball team would host Penn State in Athens tonight. No, really. When I heard the news this morning, I was reminded of the following exchange from "The West Wing":
Sam Seaborn: I admire your pluck.
Mandy Hampton: I'm . . . I'm sorry, what part of me do you admire?
Yes, that’s right. Scheduling a last-minute midweek softball game like this takes pluck, as well as grit, and not a small amount of gumption. If matters continue along their present trajectories in both sports, softball conceivably could overtake gymnastics as the preferred Georgia women’s sport in these parts.
So how did the Bulldogs do against the Nittany Lionesses? I’m glad you asked:
Sarah McCloud was credited with the five-inning run-rule victory after pitching four innings and carding as many strikeouts (2) as she permitted hits. A one-out base hit in the second stanza, a leadoff single in the third canto, and a two-out walk in the fourth frame accounted for all the baserunners McCloud allowed in the shutout performance.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Red and Black generated a pair of runs on a single, two walks, three stolen bases, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. Aided by a Penn State error, Georgia added three more in the second canto off of a base hit, a pair of sacrifice bunts, a triple, and a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs closed out the scoring in the fourth stanza, which began with a leadoff double by second baseman Ashley Pauly. Center fielder Taylor Schlopy followed that up by drawing a base on balls on four straight pitches, then left fielder Megan Wiggins sent a three-RBI home run out to right field. Over the course of the contest, Wiggins accounted for four of the Athenians’ seven RBI and two of the home team’s five hits.
On a day on which the NCAA Tournament prospects for the men’s basketball team so dominated the headlines that Bulldog Nation barely noticed the advent of spring football practice, arguably the best team fielded by the University of Georgia was the softball team, which thought nothing of scheduling a game against a Big Ten opponent in the morning and carding an 8-0 victory that afternoon. It was just another day at the office for the No. 1 college softball team in the land.