I apologize to Bulldog Nation for bailing last evening; my laptop was with the computer guy overnight while being repaired, and I had one of those nights on which I went to sleep when my kids did. It sounds like I missed some exciting stuff, but I also slept through some things I would rather not have experienced, and at the top of that list was the news that No. 8 Tennessee swept No. 2 Georgia in a weeknight softball doubleheader.
The Red and Black already were down 1-0 in the first game of the twin bill when they came up to bat in the bottom of the initial inning. Center fielder Taylor Schlopy tied it up with a leadoff home run on a payoff pitch, and that was the end of the scoring for the Bulldogs. The Volunteers broke the deadlock in the fourth frame on a couple of doubles and a wild pitch, and the Big Orange extended their lead in the sixth stanza on a pair of home runs. Georgia out-hit Tennessee 9-6, but the Athenians stranded ten baserunners over the course of seven cantos.
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second outing on a single by third baseman Alisa Goler and a two-run shot by first baseman Brianna Hesson. After the Vols knotted the score in the top of the second stanza, Georgia went back out in front in the home team’s next turn at bat when catcher Kristyn Sandberg sent a solo home run to left center field.
A four-run third frame fueled by a pair of Red and Black errors staked the visitors to a 6-3 edge, but the Bulldogs chipped away at that advantage in the fifth canto with the base hit by left fielder Megan Wiggins that plated Goler from second. That was as close as the Classic City Canines came, though, as the Big Orange tacked on a run in the sixth stanza and two more in the seventh.
Tennessee pitchers Ivy and Ellen Renfroe carded the wins in the first and second games of the doubleheader, respectively. Despite being out-hit only by the smallest of margins (18-17), the Red and Black were outscored by an embarrassing 14-5 margin and committed four errors to the visiting Volunteers’ none. As a result of back-to-back late-inning power outages reminiscent of the baseball team prior to its recent turnaround, a Georgia softball squad that began the week as the second-best team in the country will end the week as the third-best team in the conference.