Georgia Bulldogs Sunday Summary: Baseball and Softball Fall on Road in SEC Play, Women's Basketball Advances in Tourney

It goes without saying that the Dawg Sports crowd is capable of taking in more than one sporting event in a single sitting, so I trust you’ll be able to assimilate all of the day’s happenings in this, your Sunday summary:

Baseball

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Georgia Bulldogs 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 1
South Carolina Gamecocks 0 2 1 1 0 1 0 3 X 8 10 2

The Diamond Dogs came into their series-settling showdown with the defending national champions hoping to pull out a second victory in the three-game set, but starter Craig Gullickson lasted only two innings and conceded four hits, two walks, and two earned runs as South Carolina cruised to an 8-3 win over Georgia.

The Classic City Canines claimed an early lead in the top of the second stanza. Designated hitter Brett DeLoach and first baseman Jonathan Hester were plunked on 3-1 pitches, and shortstop Kyle Farmer drew a walk, to load the bases for catcher Joey Delmonico, who plated a run with a sacrifice fly. Third baseman Curt Powell’s two-out base hit brought home another, but the Palmetto State Poultry answered in the bottom of the canto, scoring two of their own on a quartet of singles.

The Gamecocks took the lead on an RBI single in the third canto, but the Bulldogs tied it up in the fourth frame when a one-out triple off the bat of left fielder Peter Verdin was followed by a two-out balk. South Carolina went back out in front in the home half of the inning on a run-scoring groundout with a runner on third. The Garnet and Black added to their advantage in the sixth stanza before tacking on another trio of runs in the eighth frame, rendering unnecessary the host squad’s final turn at the plate.

After five and a half frames, I was prepared to feel good even about a series loss, as it appeared that all three outings would be competitive, as was the case when the Red and Black fell to the Florida St. Seminoles earlier in the year. This afternoon’s outing, however, wound up not being close: South Carolina outperformed Georgia by five runs (8-3) and six hits (10-4). The Gamecocks scored in five of the eight innings in which they sent batters to the plate, and the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize upon two USC errors. Georgia managed only one hit after the fourth inning, and the Athenians have dropped three of their last four contests. After such a strong stretch of several wins and close losses, Sunday’s setback was discouraging.

Softball

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Georgia Bulldogs 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 5 5 2
Alabama Crimson Tide 4 0 0 3 2 0 X 9 7 1

The Red and Black’s other diamond representatives fared no better on Sunday, as the Georgia softball team’s claim to the No. 1 ranking was dashed completely when Alabama finished off the series sweep.

The visitors got off to a good start in the top of the opening inning, as second baseman Ashley Pauly reached on an error and came home on a two-out double by third baseman Alisa Goler. The 1-0 lead proved short-lived, as Sarah McCloud entered the circle in the bottom of the first frame, faced six batters, and surrendered three walks, a leadoff double, a grand slam, and four earned runs.

The Bulldogs did not give up, scoring additional runs on a wild pitch in the second stanza, a pair of solo shots to center field by Goler and designated player and catcher Kristyn Sandberg in the third canto, and another Goler homer in the fifth frame. Although the game was tied at four runs per side at the midpoint of the contest, the Tide exploded for three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth. Alison Owen, Erin Arevalo, and Morgan Montemayor conceded five hits, five walks, and five runs in five and two-thirds innings of relief.

This weekend’s softball series went as badly as it possibly could have gone. Alabama exited today’s contest with a 29-1 ledger that includes a 5-0 mark in SEC action, while Georgia limped back to Athens sporting a 23-4 record, having gone 5-3 in conference contests. We knew before the weekend began that the best women’s softball team in the league also was the best women’s softball team in the land; we still know that now, but, unfortunately, the No. 1 team in the sport isn’t the one we thought or hoped it was.

Women’s Basketball

It was annoying enough last night when I tuned in to watch an SEC softball game and found myself instead witnessing the overtime period of a lacrosse match game whatever the heck they call it when two lacrosse teams play, but that annoyance paled in comparison to the aggravation I felt when I dutifully tuned in to ESPN2 expecting to see Andy Landers’s Lady Bulldogs taking on the Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders, an at large tourney selection, and instead saw the Baylor Bears annihilating the Prairie View Panthers. (Seriously, the Baylor ladies led 29-2 with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half.)

Moments after the Worldwide Leader finally showed the good sense to cut away to the Red and Black’s much more competitive game, the Georgians stretched their six-point halftime lead to an eleven-point advantage. Despite being statistically a suspect squad, sixth-seeded Georgia opened its 28th NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament appearance with a 56-41 victory that caused ESPN2 to shift its coverage to another game once the SEC squad had built up a 15-point advantage.

The Lady Dogs were dominant inside and on the glass, outscoring the Lady Raiders 30-20 in the paint while pulling down 38 boards, including 30 on defense. The Athenians shot 47.7 per cent from the field (21 of 44) while limiting Middle Tennessee to just 16 of 56 shooting (28.6%). Although Georgia turned the ball over more often (21-17), Coach Landers’s charges transformed their takeaways into more points (16-7). Next up for the Bulldogs is a second round date with Florida State.

Golf

Both Bulldog golf squads were on the links on Sunday, with the 20th-ranked Georgia women’s golf team finishing the first round in 13th place at San Diego’s inaugural Battle at Rancho Bernardo and the eighth-seeded Georgia men’s golf team going 1-1 in the first two rounds of the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship in Ball Ground, Ga.

In the ladies’ tourney, which bears a name better suited to a John Wayne Western, Abby Johnson led the way with a 76. Milena Savich and Marta Silva Zamora trailed Johnson’s four-over finish by a stroke, as each carded a 77. The men dropped a 3-2 decision to the Texas Longhorns before sinking South Carolina 4-0-1, setting the stage for Monday’s third round competition against twelfth-seeded Pacific.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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