Dawg Sports has been keeping you up to date on athletic developments this weekend, from baseball disasters to UEFA Champions League soccer matches, and, of course, a full tennis recap will be forthcoming, but there are more sporting events being played in Bulldog Nation than it is practical to address individually, so we save some outcomes for inclusion in what we call the Sunday sports summary. Here are the results you may have missed:
The Georgia women’s softball team opened play in the NCAA Athens Regional by beating Coastal Carolina like a redheaded stepchild on Friday. Though the Chanticleers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the initial inning, the Bulldogs battered CCU, scoring at least two runs in each of the first four frames to card a run-rule decision in which the Red and Black led by nine in hits (12-3) and by ten in runs (13-3). Erin Arevalo fanned five to take the victory, while Gracie Goulder went three for three and scored thrice.
Arevalo was the winning pitcher on Saturday, as well, conceding two hits and no earned runs as Georgia edged North Carolina in a 3-2 ballgame. The Bulldogs scored early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first canto when Ashley Pauly put down a bunt single, moved into scoring position on a UNC error, and came home on a Paige Wilson double. Another Tar Heel miscue permitted the freshman to come the rest of the way around, and Kristyn Sandberg scored the deciding run with a solo homer in the third stanza.
Arevalo won again on Sunday, when the Red and Black claimed their sixth regional title in their eleventh consecutive NCAA berth as Georgia dispatched North Carolina by another one-run margin. The Bulldogs took a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the fourth inning on two hits and three walks, while all the Tar Heels were able to muster was one run on three hits, due to a solo home run in the seventh stanza. The Red and Black’s undefeated run through the first round earned them a spot in the Knoxville Super Regional, where they will face SEC East foe Tennessee.
A top-five finish was the goal, and consistency was the game plan, for the Georgia men’s golf team in the NCAA Athens Regional. The No. 24 Bulldogs, who were in fourth place after the first round and in fourth place after the second round, finished in fourth place at the end of Saturday’s final round, firing an overall 864 to finish at twelve over par for the regional tournament. The Red and Black, who made the national men’s golf finals in three of the previous seven seasons, will compete for their third NCAA championship under head coach Chris Haack at the Rivera Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., beginning on May 30. In his 16th year as the skipper in Athens, Coach Haack is leading a team into the NCAA field for the 14th time, despite not having a single senior starter. Four of the Georgia men’s five first-teamers are underclassmen.
Pole vaulter Morgann Leleux was honored as the female freshman field athlete of the year by the SEC on Friday, but the big news in Georgia women’s sports was that reported by the Athens Banner-Herald and repeated here by downindixie and by vineyarddawg: Danna Durante evidently has been hired as the new head coach of the Gym Dogs.
While she wouldn’t have been my first choice, I liked the idea of hiring Coach Durante when she was a rising assistant at Nebraska, and I like it even better now that the 2007 national assistant coach of the year has head coaching experience. Granted, her one year in charge of the Cal women’s gymnastics program was less than stellar, but the Golden Bears’ 15-woman 2012 roster contained only two seniors, and it’s tough to judge a head coach based on a single year on the job. Assuming the Banner-Herald report is accurate, I’ll look forward to seeing what Coach Durante can do in Athens in 2013 with a program that is committed to first-rate gymnastics and six returning first- or second-team All-American gymnasts.