Beyond the Hedges 3/11/2013

UGA Sports Communications

Good morning, Dawgs. Beyond the Hedges might've had a little difficulty adjusting to the time change, so we're catching up with Bulldogs athletics Monday morning instead of Sunday evening. Yeah, we'll go with that.

We have a whole lot of information to squeeze into your Monday morning, so grab another cup.

TRACK AND FIELD

The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships were held this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Georgia freshman Shaunae Miller ran the 400 meter dash in 50.88 seconds, the fifth-fastet collegiate time in history, to become the NCAA champion in the event. The women finished in 10th place out of 31 qualifying teams, behind champion Oregon. Georgia's men finished in a three-way tie for 18th out of 54 teams.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

The Lady Bulldogs, whose 3-seed earned them a first-round bye, dominated LSU 71-53 in the second round of the SEC tournament Friday night. All five Georgia starters scored in double digits, including the Jasmines (seniors Hassell and James) who each reached ten by the end of the first half. As complete as the Lady Bulldogs' game was Friday night, Saturday's performance in the semifinals fell woefully short. Georgia and Kentucky both got off to very slow starts, offensively: it took almost eight minutes for either team to make it to ten points, when Kentucky took a 10-5 lead. The Wildcats held the advantage for most of the rest of the period, but Georgia caught fire in the final five minutes to take a 24-19 lead into the locker room. But the fire went out, and Kentucky outscored the Dawgs 41-14 in the second half for the 60-38 win and to claim the spot in Sunday's championship game, where they were defeated by Texas A&M.

The NCAA will announce the national tournament field on 18 March. I'm completely unqualified to take a stab at any bracketology, but I'm going to guess we'll land anywhere from a 3-5 seed.

SOFTBALL

Georgia had a successful trip to Rock Hill, South Carolina, for the Winthrop/adidas Invitational, going 5-0 over the weekend. The last time UGA played a weekend tournament away from home, a couple of weekends ago in California, UGA scored a total of seven runs in five games, winning only one. I reckon you could say the bats were awake this weekend -- all weekend -- to the point where somebody probably should stop by the equipment room Tuesday and make sure they're okay. Friday, the Dawgs broke three school records en route to an 18-0 win over Delaware State: home runs in a game (seven), runs in an inning (13 in the second), and batters in an inning (18, also in the second). EIGHTEEN. The Bulldogs batted around. And around. In the second game of the day, Georgia's bats kept going in a 12-3 defeat of Winthrop. Saturday saw another pair of wins: 8-1 over Kent State and 13-3 over Western Illinois. Then Sunday, it was North Carolina A&T's turn to get bludgeoned into submission, 15-0. I'd say the girls had fun. Georgia will be in Atlanta to play Georgia Tech Wednesday and starts conference play at Auburn Friday.

MEN'S TENNIS

The Dawgs went 1-1 in Mississippi weekend. In Oxford, KU Singh was back after an extended absence from the team and started well at number 3 doubles with partner Austin Smith, defeating their Rebel opponents 8-3. Losses at 1 and 2 gave the doubles point to Ole Miss, however. UGA took a 3-1 lead halfway through the singles matches with wins by Nathan Pasha on 3, Garrett Brasseaux on 6, and Hernus Pieters on 5, but Ole Miss came back with wins at 2, 1, and 4 to take the team win 4-3.

Sunday, the Dawgs were in Starkville and, with bad weather in the forecast, played the singles matches first, leaving doubles to play only if the singles points were evenly split. Singh was well on his way to a strong win at court one, 6-2, 4-0, when Mississippi State's Romain Bogaerts retired due to injury, giving Georgia a 1-0 lead. Smith made it 2-0 at No. 5 with a 7-5, 6-4 win. Pasha won at the third spot 7-5, 6-2. The Other Bulldogs got on the board with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Brasseaux on 6, then Pieters clinched at five 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The remaining singles match, Ben Wagland's, was suspended when the match was decided to give us the final 4-1 score. With the win, Georgia head coach Manny Diaz is in sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list among SEC coaches with 569, a mere 137 wins behind first place Dan Magill, who coached UGA tennis 1955-88.

Seventh-ranked Georgia is off until Friday, when the 29th-ranked Gators come to Athens.

WOMEN'S TENNIS

While the men were touring the Magnolia State, the UGA women were hosting the Mississippi schools. Friday, Georgia downed Ole Miss 6-1. UGA won the doubles point, including an impressive 8-1 on court 2 by Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase. Georgia clinched the match in singles play with two points to spare before the Rebels finally got on the Board for the 6-1 final margin.

Next up was Mississippi State. Georgia secured the doubles points with strong wins by Mia King/Makenzie Craft at 3, 8-0, and Herring/Kowase at 2, 8-2. With the point decided, a battle raged on the one court: Georgia's ninth-ranked doubles team of Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia, undefeated on the season, faced a tough match against State's No. 1 pair. The match was a close one, but Kate and Silvia kept their record perfect in a tiebreaker, 8-7(6). The girls made short work of singles, winning all six matches in straight sets for the 7-0 shutout.

The No. 9 Dawgs host No. 15 Notre Dame Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. before resuming the SEC slate against No. 5 Florida in Gainesville Friday. At 2-0, Georgia is atop the SEC east standings. Florida is at 2-1 with a loss to No. 4 Texas A&M, so this match is a big one.

EQUESTRIAN

Speaking of A&M, Georgia was out in College Station to take on the Aggies in the final regular-season meet and rode away with a 16-6 win. The Dawgs dominated the hosts in Hunt Seat competition, winning Equitation Over Fences 5-1 and Equitation on the Flat 4-1. One might guess that the team in Texas would make a stronger showing in Western riding, and they did, but Georgia bested them there, too, with a 3-2 win in Horsemanship and a 4-2 win in reining. UGA finishes the regular season with an 8-4 (3-3 SEC) record.

Georgia started competing in equestrian events in 2002-03, winning five national championships in the last ten years, but this is the first year that Equestrian has been recognized by as an SEC sport. So far, only three other schools are competing: Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Auburn. The inaugural Southeastern Conference Equestrian Championship will be held 28-30 March in Auburn. The National Collegiate Equitation Championships are next month in Waco.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Thrill of victory and so on. After taking down Kentucky at home Thursday night (see chuckdawg's excellent writeup), the Dawgs wrapped up the regular season in Tuscaloosa. Georgia fell behind from the start, down by as much as 17 in the first half. The second half saw the good guys slowly chip away at Bama's lead until a three-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tied the game at 55 with less than a minute to play. With 27 seconds to play, Charles Mann stole the ball, giving the Dawgs a chance to win the game, then drove headlong into traffic, turning the ball over to the Tide. Bama's Trevor Releford then hurled the ball from the midcourt logo in a field goal worthy of Leigh Tiffin for the winning basket as the buzzer sounded. Be sure to pre-order your Daniel Moore print. As Blogger Emeritus T. Kyle King noted on Facebook, "Yeah, this 'missed it by THAT much' BS against 'Bama has got to stop."

Georgia (15-16, 9-9) is seeded eighth for the SEC tournament in Nashville and will face LSU Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Athens Standard TIme for the chance to play 1-seed Florida Friday. Good luck with that.

GOLF

The men's team wrapped up play in Vegas Sunday with a thirteenth-place finish at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Classic and will be back on the course 23-24 March at the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Georgia. The women finished tenth at the Darius Rucker Invitational at Hilton Head and next compete in Baton Rouge 22-24 March at the LSU Golf Classic. Let's hope for better showings for both after this tough weekend.

BASEBALL

With the Liberty Flames in town, the Diamond Dogs won their second series of the pre-conference slate this weekend. Freshman Sean McLaughlin pitched six scoreless innings Friday with seven strikeouts while the Dawgs knocked in three runs, including a solor homer by Zack Bowers in the fourth. Blake Dieterich took over for two more scoreless innings, during which Georgia's bats exploded for seven more runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Sophomore Ross Ripple closed out the game for the Dawgs, allowing no hits and striking out one. Final score: 12-0

Saturday, the Dawgs had a quieter win. After the Dawgs got slim early lead by plating a single run in the first off back-to-back singles, the game remained at 1-0 as Georgia avoided a scoring threat by Liberty in the third followed by Patrick Boling's retiring eight consecutive Flames from the end of the third through the fifth, including three strikeouts, until Liberty tied it up in the sixth. Having lost the chance to take the lead to a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, the Dawgs finally broke through with two runs in the eighth to take the lead with the game's final 3-1 score.

Liberty avoided the sweep Sunday in dramatic fashion, charging to a 10-0 lead through the top of the eighth. The Flames' pitcher must've gotten tired or bored, because the Dawgs were able to mount a bit of a rally in the eighth, scoring six runs, but the visitors scored one more in the ninth, and Georgia's two more in the final frame fell short of the comeback. Dawgs lost 11-8. Eight Georgia pitchers gave up a cumulative 16 hits in the loss.

Georgia hosts Appalachian State for a two-game midweek series, 12-13 March, before heading to College Station for the SEC opening weekend agains Texas A&M.

GYMASTICS

The Gym Dogs closed out the regular-season home slate with a 197.650-196.975 win over Utah. In case you missed it, be sure to check out vineyarddawg's wrap. With the stellar score, UGA jumped two spots to No. 6 in the latest rankings. Georgia travels to N.C. State next Sunday for the final meet before the post-season. The SEC Championships are 23 March in Fayetteville.

SWIMMING AND DIVING

NCAA championships start this week with regional diving competitions. The Dawgs are in Knoxville this week trying to plunge their way into the championships. The NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships are 21-23 March, and the Men's will be 28-30 March, both in Indianapolis.

Thanks for joining me for the roundup. Until next time,

GO DAWGS!

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