Most spring weekends are busy ones in Bulldog Nation, and this one was no exception, which is why I am providing you with the following brief rundown of events on the course, court, and field as part of this week’s Sunday summary:
The Bulldogs scored in every inning except the second, the Wildcats were held scoreless in every inning except the third, and Georgia carded a run-rule softball victory over a ranked conference opponent.
Sarah McCloud spent five frames in the circle, earning the win with a five-hit, one-run performance. The Red and Black took a 2-0 lead in the home half of the opening stanza on a pair of singles and a double, and, after the Blue and White clawed back to within one run on a two-out walk, a stolen base, and a run-scoring single in the third canto, it was all Georgia the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs scored one run in each of the next three innings before exploding for four runs in the bottom of the sixth stanza. A leadoff single by first baseman Brianna Hesson on the first pitch of the Athenians’ turn at the plate got the outburst underway. A double by left fielder Megan Wiggins, a single by designated player Ashley Razey, a double by catcher Kristyn Sandberg, a walk by right fielder Brittney Hubbard, a single by pinch hitter Christine Olney, and a single by pinch hitter Jennie Auger caused the mercy rule to be invoked, giving Georgia a 9-1 win.
It was a banner day at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, as the Georgia men’s tennis team clinched the SEC championship with a 7-0 win over South Carolina. The shutout victory marked the Bulldogs’ 14th straight triumph, ran the Red and Black’s record in Athens to 12-0 this season, and gave Georgia its 26th regular-season conference crown. By capturing his fourth league title in a six-season span, Manuel Diaz claimed the 13th regular-season championship of his career. The Bulldog male netters will close out the regular season next Saturday, when the Athenians will go for a perfect 11-0 run through the SEC with the Dawg Sports crew in attendance.
Meanwhile, in Columbia, the Georgia women’s tennis team defeated the Gamecocks by a 4-3 score. After the South Carolina ladies claimed the doubles point, the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead on the strength of singles wins by Kate Fuller and Maho Kowase. The home team answered with two singles wins to move out in front 3-2, but Cameron Ellis and Lilly Kimbell notched consecutive victories to take the match. The Red and Black now stand at 15-2 overall and 9-1 in SEC action.
For obvious reasons, I intend to give short shrift to the Diamond Dogs’ Sunday afternoon outing in Oxford. The Classic City Canines hammered out 13 hits, plated seven runs, and outscored the Rebels 5-0 in the final four frames, but Georgia fell 12-7 to Ole Miss to snap the Bulldogs’ seven-game winning streak.
Matters did not go so badly for the first three and a half innings, at which point the Athenians trailed only by a run. A disastrous bottom of the fourth frame undid the visitors, though, as the Mississippians used seven singles, two walks, three stolen bases, and a wild pitch thrown by one of the four pitchers sent to the mound during the canto by the Red and Black to plate seven runs.
Worse still, Florida and Vanderbilt both won on Sunday, permitting the Gators to improve to 9-3 in conference play and allowing the Commodores to move into a first-place tie with South Carolina at 10-2 in the league. At 8-4, Georgia still stands fourth not just in the East, but in the SEC as a whole, so today’s loss was not devastating, but it did do damage to the Diamond Dogs’ prospects for making it a four-team race in the division.
In Augusta, Charl Schwartzel won the Masters and Tiger Woods didn’t, but Bubba Watson dropped back down the leaderboard with a final-round 78 to finish one over par at 289. Congratulations, guy who isn’t Tiger, and better luck next time, Bubba.
It has been a quiet offseason for the Bulldog football program, which largely confirms the axiom that no news is good news. Unfortunately, the ‘Dawgs got some news today, and it was bad: Trinton Sturdivant tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during Saturday’s scrimmage, marking the senior offensive tackle’s third career ACL injury. This is a tough break for a damn good ‘Dawg who deserved better than this heading into his final season of collegiate competition. Get well soon, Trinton.