Following an uneventful Thursday---seriously; no Georgia varsity athletes were engaged in intercollegiate team competition on Thursday---Bulldog Nation enjoyed a busy Friday on the athletics front. Here is the short course on how the Red and Black performed:
The Florida St. Seminoles rolled into Athens sporting a No. 11 national ranking, and, in a season in which much of the pop has been drained from college baseball bats, the visitors from the Sunshine State generated sufficient power to emerge from Foley Field with a 6-5 victory in a game that wasn’t really as close as the final score suggested.
Alex Wood got the start for the Diamond Dogs, lasting four and two-thirds innings during which he struck out six and walked one but surrendered seven hits and five earned runs. A leadoff double in the top of the first inning led to one run, then a trio of singles and an error by Kyle Farmer at shortstop produced another. A pair of two-out two-run shots in the fifth frame allowed the Tribe to extend its lead to 6-0.
Florida State’s Sean Gilmartin pitched a gem, fanning eleven in eight innings of one-hit shutout ball. Until second baseman Levi Hyams’s single in the bottom of the ninth stanza, the Bulldogs had carded as many hits as they had committed errors. After Gilmartin left the game, though, his backups surrendered two walks and five singles, which, when coupled with an FSU error and a hit batsman, led to five runs in the home team’s final turn at the plate. The game ended when third baseman Curt Powell struck out swinging with the tying run on third and the winning run on second.
Aside from the ultimately fruitless excitement generated by the late rally, the lone highlight for the Classic City Canines was the bullpen, as relievers Eric Swegman, John Herman, and Earl Daniels combined for four and one-third scoreless cantos during which they surrendered a lone hit. Even the relievers allowed four walks and failed to strike out a single Seminole, however. While the Red and Black succeeded in staving off the utter embarrassment of being completely outclassed by a clearly superior squad through the late surge that turned a laugher in reality into a nailbiter in the record book, the story of this game was too little, too late.
In their opening outing as the host squad for the Bulldog Invitational, the Red and Black put their (well-deserved) No. 1 national ranking on the line against the Indiana Hoosiers in an afternoon outing from which the Classic City Canines emerged victorious.
Center fielder Taylor Schlopy led off the home half of the first frame with a triple and scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. The Red and Black went up by another run in the bottom of the second stanza when catcher Ashley Razey opened the host squad’s turn at the plate with a home run on an 0-2 pitch. It was a pitchers’ duel from there, with the two teams finishing with three hits apiece and Morgan Montemayor carding the complete game win over losing pitcher Morgan Melloh.
Following a pair of scoreless innings, the Bulldogs notched the initial runs of the day’s second outing, in which they faced the Campbell Camels. (No, seriously. That’s what they call themselves.) In the bottom of the third canto, the bases were loaded when designated player Christine Olney and second baseman Ashley Pauly carded singles and Schlopy was hit by a pitch. Left fielder Megan Wiggins and shortstop Alisa Goler each brought a run home with a sacrifice fly, then two more crossed home plate on Camel errors.
The fifth frame saw more scoring by the home team when Goler led off with a solo shot to right center field and her teammates followed that up with a pair of singles, yielding an unearned run on a Campbell throwing error. A Schlopy home run in the bottom of the sixth stanza closed out the scoring, and Alison Owen wrapped up her seven innings in the circle with twelve strikeouts of the 25 batters she faced. The Georgia softball team has now claimed three straight victories by shutout.
Although I had hoped Andy Landers’s Lady Dogs would draw the lower-seeded Mississippi Rebels in the second round of the SEC Tournament, the superior South Carolina Gamecocks carded the win against Ole Miss to set up a Friday night date with Georgia in Nashville.
Despite failing to sink any of their seven shots from beyond the arc in the first half, the Lady Dogs held a 33-19 edge at intermission thanks to 13 of 31 shooting from the field. Georgia proceeded to pull away in the second half, ultimately notching a 66-34 tourney win on a night that saw the Athenians drain 15 of 19 free throws, connect on 25 of 52 shots from two-point range, and lead the South Carolinians in blocks (4-0), steals (7-1), and rebounds (34-27). The Bulldogs scored nearly as many points in each half (33) as the Gamecocks managed in the entire contest (34).
The Georgia netters took part in a de facto doubleheader, only simultaneously and in different venues, as the Bulldog men’s tennis team hosted the Auburn Tigers in Athens beginning at 3:00 Friday afternoon, while the Red and Black women’s tennis team began its clash with the Orange and Blue at 3:30 in the so-called Loveliest Village.
The 13th-ranked Georgia gents crushed the Plainsmen at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts, carding a 4-0 triumph over No. 21 Auburn. The Red and Black prevailed in doubles, and singles competitions were won by the Bulldogs’ Drake Bernstein, Sadio Doumbia, and Wil Spencer. The only Athenian to come up short in singles was 24th-ranked Javier Garrapiz, who fell to 23rd-ranked Tim Puetz after Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters had gotten the better of Puetz and Daniel Cochrane in doubles. The Red and Black men’s tennis team now holds a 47-4 series lead on their ancient rivals from the Plains.
The 13th-ranked Georgia ladies’ duel with their Tiger counterparts at the Yarbrough Tennis Center was even more one-sided, with the singles and doubles matches all going the Red and Black’s way in a 7-0 decision for the visitors. The Bulldogs’ Cameron Ellis beat Auburn’s Jacqueline Kasler 6-0, 6-0 after joining Alexandra Anghelescu in an 8-1 thrashing of their Orange and Blue opponents in doubles. The Georgia women’s tennis team is 47-7 all-time against Auburn, including a 12-1 mark since 2000.