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Beyond the Hedges 3/3/2013

Since we last took a look around UGA athletics Thursday evening, there's been good news all over the place, even in baseball.

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The Lady Bulldogs started us off Thursday night in women's basketball by trying to complete a Magnolia State sweep following last Sunday's win over Ole Miss in Oxford but came up short in StarkVegas, falling to Mississippi State 50-38. Georgia had only one player score in double digits, senior Anne Marie Armstrong, and six of her ten points came from the foul line. Even so, with her twelve rebounds, we congratulate her for her first double-double of the season. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs shot only 18.2% from the field and were two-of-three from the charity stripe.

This afternoon, the Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 55-50 win over Vandy. The game appeared well in hand for UGA, who made 19 of 53 field goals, nearly doubling their accuracy from Thursday night. Georgia led by twelve with less than four minutes to go and held off a late Vandy rally to secure the win. Senior Jasmine Hassell's game picked up, as well, scoring 16 points, ten more than in the Mississippi State game.
Tennessee continues its fine women's basketball tradition in the transition since Coach Summitt's retirement, securing their 17th regular-season SEC Championship. With the season in the books for the entire conference, Georgia lines up in third place with a 12-4 SEC record (24-5 over all). The SEC tournament tips off at the Gwinnett Arena this Wednesday. Georgia gets a first-round bye and will play the winner of LSU-Auburn on Friday. The game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., televised on FSS. Saturday's semifinals will be on ESPNU, and ESPN2 is carrying Sunday's championship game at 6:00 p.m. I've got links to the tournament schedule and a handy, printable bracket.


Friday, the Diamond Dogs started a three-game series with UAB with a 14-2 win over the visiting Blazers. Senior SS Kyle Farmer went five-of-six at the plate, leading the way with hits, but it was sophomore CF Hunter Cole who batted in the most runs with four. Freshman pitcher Sean McLaughlin went five innings, and senior Blake Dieterich pitched four scoreless innings two wrap things up, giving UGA's pitching a break for the remainder of the weekend. And it showed. Saturday, junior Patrick Boling pitched five and one-thirds scoreless innings before he was relieved by senior Bryan Benzor, who pitched through the eighth. Benzor ceded two runs in the eighth, and Jarrett Brown retired the Blazer batters in order to secure the 6-2 Georgia win. Sunday afternoon, UGA got the series sweep in a 13-2 win. After three and a half scoreless innings, Georgia batted around in the fourth, scoring four runs off five hits. The Dawgs four deep into the bullpen this go-round but scored seven more runs in innings five through eight, including a three-run double off Farmer's bat in the seventh. Georgia hosts Western Carolina Tuesday and Liberty for a three-game series starting Friday.


Georgia went 5-1 on the softball diamond at the Bulldog Invitational over the weekend starting with a pair of wins Friday over North Dakota State (4-1) and Radford (11-0 in five innings). Sophomore Anna Swafford, who played right and center field, hit her first homer of the season, scoring two, in the first game. Georgia bats continued to explode in the Radford game as four Bulldogs went yard: senior pitcher Tess Sito, freshman pitcher Geri Ann Glasco, and sophomore infielder Paige Wilson, the last of whose homer was a grand slam. Saturday saw UGA split its games, defeating Indiana State 9-1 but losing the North Dakota State rematch 3-0. Against Indiana State, the Bulldogs scored in every inning but the second, but managed only one hit in the second game. The Invitational closed out today with a pair of wins over Radford, 10-2 and 12-0, featuring Wilson's second grand slam of the weekend in game two. Next weekend, Georgia travels to Rock Hill, South Carolina, for the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational before heading to Atlanta on 13 March to face Georgia Tech.


Vineyarddawg has your full writeup of the Gym Dawgs' setback in Baton Rouge. Losing is bad, sure, but Georgia's 196.825 score was solid, and we'll take it as a sign that things are headed back to the right direction.


JUST LIKE FOOT-BALL [clap clap clap-clap-clap] While Bulldogs were getting it done on the diamond, the No. 9 men's tennis team was facing No. 8 Tennessee. In doubles, after splitting courts 3 and 1, the point was decided by Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux who battled hard for a 9-8 (7-4) win for the 1-0 UGA lead. In singles, Georgia's lead was extended to 3-0 with straight-set wins at 6 and 5 by Marco Nunez and Brasseaux. Pasha fell on court 1 to Mikelis Libietis, #13 in the country, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Ben Wagland clinched the 4-1 win for the Dawgs on court 2, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4. The remaining matches went unfinished on this cold outdoor opener. Georgia hosts William and Mary tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 Athens Standard Time before resuming SEC play in Oxford on Friday.


Saturday, the Georgia women's tennis team was in Knoxville and completed the weekend tennis sweep of the Vols 6-1. After taking the doubles point, Tennessee tied it up 1-1 with a court 1 win over Lauren Herring who, according to what I gathered from the Volunteers' live chat, was struggling with a crick in her neck and had to serve underhand. UGA took the lead back with a 6-1, 6-2 win by freshman sensation Silvia Garcia and, in quick succession, Georgia's lead went to 5-1: Makenzie Craft won on court six 6-3, 6-1; Mia King won at five 6-2, 6-0; and Kate Fuller won at four 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Maho Kowase gave Georgia its sixth point at the two spot 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-4). The Bulldogs, 7-1 on the season, host Ole Miss Friday.


JUST LIKE TENNIS [clap clap clap-clap-clap] Saturday afternoon, Tennessee lost to Georgia in men's basketball, too, 78-68. For more coverage, please see Mr. Sanchez's fine write-up.


In South Bend, Indiana, the Georgia women's distance medley relay team set a school record with a time of 11:03.27, good for fifth place at the meet and one of the best ten times in the country, almost certainly earning a spot in next week's NCAA Indoor Championships. True freshman Shaunae Miller was named the SEC Women's Freshman Runner of the Year. Miller's 400 m time of 52.21 makes her the fastest female freshman in the country currently.


In the first spring scrimmage Saturday night, Georgia beat Clemson 2-0. These spring matches are exhibitions, but it's always good to beat Clemson in anything.


Coming off their strong SEC showings (including the women's conference championship), the men's and women's swimming and diving teams returned to the Gabrielsen Natatorium for the Bulldog Last Chance Meet -- one more opportunity to improve qualifying times for the NCAA championships get under way later this month. Several Bulldogs improved their event times. The NCAA fields will be announced in the next two weeks. We'll keep you posted.


In club sports news, the UGA men's lacrosse team improved to 8-0 with wins over Iowa (15-2) and TCU (13-11). The guys are off until 22 March when they travel to Oxford to take on Ole Miss. The women's lacross team is now 7-0 following their 22-12 victory at Clemson.

It was another busy weekend. If you've got more news or thoughts about any of the above, please share it in the comments.