Athens was hot and humid. Baylor sustained a serious player injury. Georgia was coming off of an embarrassing loss the night before. Under these less than optimal conditions, the Red and Black used a ten-run fourth inning to pace the 14-2 victory that evened the series.
The first frame was not without its fireworks, as the Bulldogs stranded one baserunner and the Lady Bears left two aboard, but the contest remained scoreless heading into the second stanza. That situation changed rapidly in the top of the inning, when catcher Ashley Razey and first baseman Kristyn Sandberg opened the proceedings with back-to-back homers to left center field.
A Red and Black error enabled Baylor to put two aboard in the bottom of the canto, but starter Morgan Montemayor pitched out of the jam without surrendering a run. Georgia, by contrast, added to its advantage in the top of the third inning, thanks to a first-pitch leadoff double by left fielder Megan Wiggins and a two-run homer to left center field by center fielder Taylor Schlopy.
Two hit batsmen and a Bear error loaded the bases in the top of the fourth frame, allowing Schlopy to force home a run with a four-pitch walk and right fielder Brianna Hesson to drive in another with a first-pitch single. An illegal pitch call against Baylor plated an additional Bulldog baserunner before Sandberg tacked on one more run with a double. Designated player Brittney Hubbard brought home two with a first-pitch triple, another illegal pitch added one more to the Georgia tally, shortstop Laura Trout sent a solo home run to left field, second baseman Ashley Pauly tacked on a single, and Wiggins sent a two-run blast to center field.
A Bulldog pitching switch allowed the Big 12 club to score two runs in the bottom of the fourth frame, but the Lady Bears could creep no closer, so the Athenians carded a run-rule victory in which they led by a dozen after five innings.
It was good to see the re-emergence of the Georgia softball team we know and love, which certainly looks like a team capable of contending in the Women’s College World Series. First, though, the Bulldogs must make it to Oklahoma City, and, in the grand scheme of things, all this afternoon’s victory did was stave off elimination; it will mean nothing if the Red and Black do not win the third game of the Athens Super Regional . . . but at least now there will be a third game of the Athens Super Regional, which was all we were hoping for when the day began. Now that we have it, our goal is to win it.