It was a mixed weekend, folks. We had some excellent performances by a lot of Bulldog teams, and there was a baseball series.
I gotta be honest. I was getting pretty nervous about softball back during the four-game losing streak in late February. The Dawgs had gone into that weekend a solid 7-2, and suddenly they were barely above .500. Well, since then, the Lady Bulldogs have gone 14-1, including this weekend's sweep of Auburn (9-3, 2-0, 9-8). T. Kyle King hates Auburn. So do I. Considering UGA had just dominated Tech on the Flats last week, 14-1, I really need to send flowers to the clubhouse or something, because it doesn't get much better for this Georgia fan. Georgia, the only team in the SEC with no conference losses, hosts Gardner-Webb Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. and resumes the SEC schedule against Ole Miss at home Friday through Sunday.
What can we say? The Diamond Dogs opened the SEC slate with a visit to College Station and were swept by the Aggies. The first game was a disappointing 4-1 affair. The second was a heartbreaking one-run loss in ten innings (2-1). I started watching today's game via Gamecast and was heartened when UGA got two runs in the first, but the Aggies doubled up on us in the bottom of the frame and added seven more through the seventh before the Dawgs saw any more runs, two more in the eighth, which gave us our final 11-4 score and Aggies the sweep. I can't bring myself to say much more about UGA baseball: 8-12 over all, 0-3 SEC. Furman is coming up Tuesday night in Athens followed by a visit from the Tide for the weekend series. Bama just won its series with Tennessee, two games to one.
No. 5 Georgia was at home for a pair of SEC matches, defeating No. 35 Florida 4-0 Friday and No. 32 South Carolina 5-2 Sunday. Against the Gators, Florida won at No. 2 doubles and Georgia won at No. 3, so the point came down to the Dawgs' Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland on the No. 1 spot. Florida played tough, but Pieters and Wagland outlasted them for a 9-8(2) win. Georgia then won five first sets in doubles, with only Pieters ceding his first, but only barely (6-7(2)). Freshmen Wagland and Austin Smith each won in straight sets at 3 and 4, respectively, giving UGA a 3-0 lead, and junior Garrett Brasseaux clinched the 4-0 victory at No. 6. The remaining matches were left unfinished to accommodate the Gators' travel plans.
Sunday, the Gamecocks were in town to get beaten 5-2. The Dawgs won two of three doubles matches,
swept all three doubles matches but and South Carolina made them competitive. Heading into singles with a 1-0 lead, the Dawgs needed only three singles matches for the team win. A trio of freshmen took care of business, clinching the match at 4-0. Marco Nunez won at No. 6: 6-4, 6-0; Smith won at 4: 6-4, 6-1; and Wagland won at 3: 6-2, 7-5. Senior KU Singh extended Georgia's lead to 5-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 1. Nathan Pasha and Pieters fell at 2 and 5, respectively, to allow South Carolina on the Board.
Georgia's on the road next weekend: Friday in Nashville and Sunday in Lexington. Georgia, No. 23 Vandy, and No. 10 Kentucky all are 4-1 in SEC play, and a weekend sweep will put Georgia alone on top of the SEC East. Western Division leader Ole Miss, who represents Georgia's sole conference blemish, lost to Vandy and Kentucky this weekend, so if we manage to beat the 'Cats and the 'Dores, we'll have the best record in the entire SEC this time next week.
While the men were hosting the Gators and Gamecocks in Athens, the women were on the road to Gainesville and Columbia East. No. 12 Georgia's bid to upset No. 4 Florida fell short as the Bulldogs lost 4-1. Georgia started with a 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point behind wins by Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia at 1 and Lilly Kimbell and Makenzie Craft at 3, but lost four straight singles matches for the final score -- the remaining matches were left unfinished once the team win was clinched. Georgia has a very strong women's tennis program, but Florida's is comparable to our men's tradition: they've won six NCAA championships, including last year's, and 26 SEC championships. Following their Sunday win over Tennessee, Florida women's tennis has a 181-1 home record against SEC opponents (that one loss was to Georgia in 2002). Don't get me wrong: losing to Florida in anything sucks, but beating them in women's tennis is a rare and special thing for anyone.
Georgia bounced back well enough with a win at No. 32 South Carolina, 7-0. The Gamecocks were a tough out in doubles, but Georgia went ahead 1-0 for the twelfth time this season, partly in thanks to yet another win by third-ranked Fuller/Garcia, who remain undefeated this season. The Dawgs next won four singles matches in straight sets and tacked on two more in third-set tiebreakers for the shutout victory.
UGA (4-1 in the SEC) hosts No. 13 Vandy (4-2) on Friday and No. 38 Kentucky (3-3) on Sunday.
WOOOOOOOOF!!! ONE HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN POINT EIGHT ZERO ZERO OMG WHAT A SCORE! Georgia defeated N.C. State Sunday 197.800 to 196.000. The win's great, but it's that UGA score that's cause for celebration. Please see our own vineyarddawg's piece from last night for a full discussion of the meet and WOW 49.625 ON BEAM. Seriously. Danna's Dawgs turned in a very impressive performance in the final meet of the regular season. Next up: the SEC Championships, 23 March, North Little Rock.
There's a place called "Mountain Lake" in central Florida. Seriously. It's just north of the town of Lake Wales, elevation 148 feet. The Dawgs managed to overcome the thin air to post a win over long-time rival Yale. Three Bulldogs tied for first place medal honors: Michael Cromie, Keith Mitchell and Nicholas Reach. No word on whether the Dawgs were able to take in some late-season skiing on the slopes. Georgia will compete in the Linger Longer Invitational 23-24 March at Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Georgia.
TRACK AND FIELD
UGA hosted the Georgia Relays at the Spec Towns Track Friday and Saturday to open the 2013 outdoor season. Among the strong Bulldog performances: second place in men's shot put (and first among collegiate competitors) by Ashinia Miller (19.05 m) (first place was taken by UGA alum and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa); and first in women's pole vault by Morgann Leleux (4.3 m, highest in the nation). Next weekend the Dawgs will be in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Relays.
In addition to the events mentioned above, the women's swimming and diving team will be competing in the NCAA Championships, 21-23 March, Indianapolis, and the women's golf team will be in the LSU Gold Classic, 22-24 March, Baton Rouge. The NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket will be announced later today, and play begins 23 March.
Until next time,