Chelsea Wilkinson carded her third win of the postseason, and the Dawgs had a solid night at the plate as they rode a three-run victory over the Kentucky Wildcats to the program's first SEC Tournament Championship.
After Kentucky's Kelsey Nunley pitched three games straight to get UK to the championship game, they went with freshman Meagan Prince against the Dawgs. Georgia got to Prince early, loading the bases in the first (with the help of an error and a walk), but stranding all three runners. Catcher Katie Browne led off the second with a stand-up double; two batters later, Geri Ann Glasco singled in the run. Georgia struck with three more in the fourth: Katie Browne walked, then pinch hitter Malia Rivers reached on an error. Both scored on a Paige Wilson double; later in the inning, Wilson crossed the plate on a Tina Iosefa single. At that point, UK coach Rachel Lawson lifted Prince for senior Lauren Cumbess. Cumbess was much more successful against the Dawgs, getting six outs in a row until Geri Ann Glasco sent a pitch over the wall in the 6th.
Chelsea Wilkinson was masterful through six innings, including a third inning in which she struck out the side on nine pitches. Until the final frame, Kentucky's only hit was a short infield single that looked like it was going to spin foul. Instead, it bounced once and died inside the line, giving Nikki Sagerman plenty of time to reach first. One pitch later, Griffin Joiner fouled out to Browne to end the inning.
Wilkinson ran into a little bit of trouble in the 7th, giving up back-to-back home runs before inducing a fly ball to right field to end the game. She ended the night with two runs off of three hits, nine strikeouts, and no walks.
Georgia's strong tournament run, including wins over two top-ten teams in Florida and Alabama, should put us in line for a solid seed in the NCAA tournament (I don't entirely understand the RPI, but apparently it's important, and we were 3rd behind Bama and UF coming into the weekend). We should definitely end up hosting a regional in Athens, hopefully with the opportunity to host a super regional if we advance. There's been a some talk about UGA possibly nabbing the number-one overall seed--while I'd rather not have that target on our backs, that should leave top eight definitely within the realm of possibility. Wilkinson has been pitching absolutely lights-out for the last couple of weeks (homers notwithstanding, but you can afford to run the ball right over the plate once or twice with a 5-run lead), and our offense is starting to look pretty lively. If the team keeps playing on the tear that pushed them through this weekend, we could be in for an exciting postseason.