In the opening game of a Thursday afternoon doubleheader, the Georgia softball squad welcomed UNC-Wilmington for what turned out to be a tune-up game in which the Bulldogs cruised to an 11-0 run-rule victory.
After starting pitcher Alison Owen struck out the side in the top of the first frame, center fielder Taylor Schlopy and left fielder Megan Wiggins started the home half of the canto by drawing back-to-back walks on eight straight pitches. (Just a bit outside!) An illegal pitch advanced both baserunners, enabling third baseman Alisa Goler to plate two with a single. First baseman Brianna Hesson’s home run in the next at bat made it 4-0 for the home team.
After no Seahawk reached base in the visitors’ half of the second stanza, Georgia resumed its onslaught in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Laura Trout was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a single by second baseman Ashley Pauly, and scored on an illegal pitch. Because Pauly by that time had swiped second herself, that same illegal pitch advanced the Bulldog second baseman to third, from which Wiggins scored her with a sacrifice fly. The canto concluded with the Red and Black leading 6-0 in runs and 4-0 in hits.
UNC-Wilmington carded its first hit in the top of the third frame, but nothing came of it, and the Athenians padded their lead in the host squad’s turn at the plate. Right fielder Brittney Hubbard’s leadoff single and stolen base put her in scoring position, permitting shortstop Shelby Altman to bring her home with a base hit. A single by second baseman Julia Echols and a walk drawn by Schlopy loaded the bases, after which Altman scored on an illegal pitch, Wiggins walked, Echols scored on an illegal pitch, and Goler brought Schlopy home on a sacrifice fly.
The fourth inning followed the established pattern, with the Seahawks failing to produce a baserunner and Georgia generating a run on a pair of singles and a wild pitch. The visitors had only a strikeout, a lineout, and a flyout to show for the top of the fifth stanza, and the Red and Black had their run-rule victory.
Georgia scored in every inning, with Alisa Goler batting in three runs. Alison Owen and Erin Arevalo together spent five scoreless innings in the circle, combining to strike out eleven and walk none while surrendering only one hit and no runs, earned or otherwise. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was darned close, and it was a good way to begin a doubleheader.