Memorial Weekend Primer: NCAA Championships abound as we enjoy the long weekend

Steven Colquitt

Are you ready for the weekend?  Memorial Day is here so enjoy your vacation if you get one (and please either stay safe or stay sober.  No DUIs or BUIs, etc thanks), but for a handful of Georgia tennis players, for men's golf, and for softball this is going to be a working weekend.

We'll start with softball, where this afternoon at 2 p.m. Georgia and Baylor will begin a best of 3 game set off Milledge Ave. If you can't make it to Jack Turner Stadium, ESPN U has got you covered.  Tomorrow's noon start, and if necessary Sunday's 3 p.m. game, will be on ESPN the regular (just plain old ESPN), so there's no excuse for not catching the action.  The last time we faced Baylor was in a Super Regional in 2011, also in Athens.  Georgia will be led by stalwart pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson (who can be expected to start every game barring injury), the NCAA's leading HR hitter in 3B Alex Hugo, and .400 hitter SS Paige Wilson.

Golfers Michael Cromie, Joey Garber, and Keith Mitchell (all seniors), Lee McCoy (sophomore), and Greyson Sigg (freshman) are with coach Chris Haack in Hutchinson, Kansas shooting for an NCAA title.  Haack already has two on his resume 1995 and 2000 (as well as runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011).  A little coverage will come from the Golf Channel Sunday with more extensive camera time coming next week.  Today through Sunday is 54 holes of team stroke play, with the top 8 teams getting whittled down for match play on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The break on Monday will see the top 40 individuals from the first 54 holes play one more 18 to declare a 72 hole champion.

And as we return our gaze back to Athens, another group of Dawgs is still in the running for national champion honors as tennis keeps swinging.  The men and women each had one singles player advance and one fall yesterday, while both the men and women saw a doubles pairing advance.  Nathan Pasha continues to push back the pain of a partially torn patellar tendon in his left knee as he defeated Notre Dame's Greg Andrews to reach the round of 16, and thus earn All-American. Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland took care of Andrews and his doubles partner Alex Lawson later yesterday afternoon.  That leaves Pasha, a junior from Atlanta, the tournament's second seeed today at 11 a.m. in UCLA's Marco Giron.  Pieters and Wagland get Oklahoma St duo Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude at 1 on the Dan Magill Courts.  Pieters and Wagland are also All-Americans thanks to their victory last night.

For the women, Silvia Garcia stayed alive another day to get Duke's Beatrice Capra this morning at 10. Garcia and partner Kate Fuller couldn't get past a team from Miami, but junior Lauren Herring had her season stay alive thanks in part to Maho Kowase carrying them in doubles to defeat Esther Goldfield and Alyssa Smith from Duke.  Herring lost earlier in the day in singles to Stanford's Taylor Davidson.  So in addition to Garcia going this morning, as well as Pasha, and then Wagland/Pieters this afternoon, Kowase and Herring (who like Pasha, Wagland, Pieters, and Garcia are now all All-Americans thanks to reaching this far in the Championships) go again today at 2:30.  They will get Northwestern's top doubles team of Alicia Barnett and Veronica Corning.

In other Georgia sports news, the athletic department approved their 2015 fiscal year budget at the annual meeting in Greensboro.  The total amount is just shy of $100,000,000.

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