Though, unfortunately, Selection Sunday has not quite arrested our attention this year the way it did last year, Bulldog Nation nevertheless remains a busy place, so there is much to report, even though, alas, a bid to the Big Dance for Mark Fox’s men’s basketball team is not among the news. Here are a few notable tidbits for this Sunday sports summary:
Two days after winning on the road against No. 20 Michigan despite being shorthanded, the fifth-ranked Gym Dogs easily dispatched No. 21 N.C. State in Athens on Sunday afternoon. Georgia notched a 197.375-195.525 victory to close out the regular season with the Red and Black’s second-highest score of the campaign.
The Bulldog gymnasts dominated in every event. Kat Ding, who won the all-around with a cumulative 39.5, led the way with a 9.925 in the vault en route to a combined 49.175 mark on that apparatus. Ding repeated that score on the bars, where she trailed Chelsea Davis, whose 9.95 paved the way to a 49.325 total.
That 49.325 tally was replicated on the beam, thanks to the 9.9 posted by Kaylan Earls and the 9.95 notched by Shayla Worley, who was back in the lineup after being absent from the Michigan meet. The Gym Dogs saved the best for last, earning a season-high 49.55 in the floor exercise due to 9.9s from Mariel Box and Sarah Persinger, a 9.925 from Ding, and a 9.95 from Noel Couch. Jay Clark’s club appears to be peaking at the right time, as Georgia heads to the SEC Championships in Duluth on March 24.
While the Gym Dogs were being confirmed as legitimate, the Diamond Dogs’ hot start was being exposed as a chimera, as UCLA completed a three-game series sweep of Georgia at Foley Field on Sunday.
Taylor Hicks got the start, but he lasted only an inning and a third, facing nine batters but tossing three wild pitches and conceding two hits, two walks, and three earned runs before being yanked in favor of the first of five relievers to come in from the bullpen for the Bulldogs. This time, the Red and Black committed no errors, and all seven of the Bruins’ runs were earned.
The Athenians drew nine walks yet left a dozen men on base, as the first four hitters in the Georgia lineup went a collective four for 15 but failed to bat in so much as a single run. But for third baseman Curt Powell, who drove in runs with a sacrifice fly in the second stanza and a groundout to short in the fifth frame, the Classic City Canines cumulatively tallied as many strikeouts as hits (six apiece) and drove in only one run. Sunday’s result capped off the complete collapse that was the Diamond Dogs’ weekend, from which the Red and Black will need to make a complete comeback, on the mound, in the field, and at the plate, against Alcorn State at midweek, and moving forward, if their 11-2 start is to be viewed as anything more than the product of weak early-season scheduling.
We try to cover Georgia athletics comprehensively here at Dawg Sports, but not all the news that’s fit to print will fit in print, so a brief recap will have to do; to wit: Georgia fell to Auburn, 2-0, in an exhibition match on Thursday, as part of the women’s soccer team’s spring season; the Red and Black will send 16 women’s swimmers and eight men’s swimmers to the NCAA Championships, beginning on March 22; and, the Bulldog men’s and women’s club lacrosse teams played a scrimmage before beginning spring break and returning to action the weekend of March 24 and 25.