Monday, March 21, 2011

Lady Dawgs Advance


Jasmine James scored a game-high 18 points and Porsha Phillips recorded her 15th double-double of the season with 10 points and 14 rebounds to lead Georgia (22-10) to a 56-41 victory over Middle Tennessee State (23-8) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Auburn Arena on Sunday.

"We are very pleased with the way that we played," head coach Andy Landers said. "As a coach and coaching staff, we are extremely proud of the effort and how hard our basketball team played and also how well they executed on the defensive end. They were absolutely outstanding there.

"We beat a very good Middle Tennessee State team," Landers continued. "This is a team that shoots the ball 45 percent from the floor and shoots the ball very well from three. I'm just really proud of the way our defense stepped up and, from my perspective, disrupted a very good offensive team. On the offensive end, I thought we had a number of people make big plays and play well and we shot the ball well. If we could have eliminated a few of those turnovers, it would have been as good of an offensive effort as it was a defensive effort. But again, this was a very good Middle Tennessee State team. We would have felt, regardless of the score, fortunate to have beaten them and we feel that now that it's done."

James also chipped in five rebounds and four steals for Georgia, which shot 47.7 percent for the game. Jasmine Hassell contributed 11 points and five rebounds, and Meredith Mitchell added nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.

The Lady Dawgs never trailed from the 5:32 mark of the first half after withstanding four ties.

After leading 26-20 at halftime, the Lady Dawgs started the second half with a 8-0 run and never looked back. A three-pointer by Anne Marie Lanning ended the spurt with 12:23 left on the clock.

The closest Middle Tennessee got thereafter was 11 with 2:35 remaining. James connected on both ends of three one-and-one situations to help the Lady Dawgs maintain a comfortable cushion.

Georgia held Ebony Rowe, who averages 17.4 points per game, to just 10 points – all of which she scored in the second period.

Phillips, with 348 rebounds on the season, is three away from matching Janet Harris at No. 5 on the Lady Dawgs' season leaders ledger.

The Lady Dawgs will face Florida State in the second round game on Tuesday at 8:35 p.m. CT.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lady Dawgs To Dance Too


The Georgia Lady Dawgs were awarded a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Monday and will face 11th-seeded Middle Tennessee State on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Auburn, Alabama.

Georgia will face the Blue Raiders in the second game of the evening session at the Auburn Arena, with third-seeded Florida State facing 13th-seeded Samford in the opening contest at 5 p.m. ET.

The Lady Dawgs will be competing their 28th NCAA Tournament – the second most of any team in the nation – and will be making their 17th straight appearance in "March Madness."

"It doesn't get old," head coach Andy Landers said. "I was thinking about it this morning. We've been very fortunate through the years to have the players and teams that have allowed us to play in the NCAAs so many times. I think it's something that you appreciate more and more. I know I do. It's much more competitive and much more difficult to make the field now. It may be more difficult than it was when only 32 teams got in because there are so many more good players and good teams out there now."

Georgia will make the less than three-hour trek to Auburn.

"Hopefully more of our fans will be able to make it, and I know it will be easier for our families to come see us play," senior Porsha Phillips said. "That's very important to all of us."

The Lady Dawgs own an 11-1 lead in their all-time series with Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders earned an at-large bid out of the Sun Belt Conference.

"They're legit. There isn't any question about that," Landers said. "I know they've pretty much dominated their conference the last three or four years. They have been a truly dominant team in their league. Offensively, there always good."

Georgia will be a No. 6 seed for only the second time. In 2005 in Dallas, the Lady Dawgs defeated Rice, 75-49, and upset third-seeded and No. 13-ranked Texas, 70-68, to advance to Regional competition. Georgia then lost to No. 7 Duke in the "Sweet 16" in Chattanooga.

Sunday's winners will meet on Tuesday night for the right to advance to the Dallas Regional.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dancing Dawgs


The Dawgs have been selected as the number 10 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and will face Washington in Charlotte Friday night.

Tipoff will be at 9:45 pm ET, the winner will face the winner of the North Carolina - Long Island Blackbirds game set for the same day.

Diamond Dawgs Finish Perfect Week


Georgia blanked Saint Mary’s 3-0 at Dodger Stadium to cap a perfect 5-0 week of baseball including winning the Dodgertown Classic.

The Dawgs posted road wins over 10th-ranked UCLA, USC and the Gaels along with Mercer in Macon and Alabama in Lawrenceville to even their record at 8-8 on the year. The Gaels dropped to 3-9. The Dawg pitching staff has logged 17 scoreless innings, the final eight over USC Saturday and nine more today.

Junior right fielder Chase Davidson gave the Dawgs a 1-0 lead when he led off the second inning by crushing the first pitch he saw from Kyle Barraclough over the centerfield wall for his second home run of the year. Georgia made it 2-0 in the third. Junior left fielder Peter Verdin began the frame with a double and took third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Conor Welton. Third baseman Curt Powell’s RBI-single scored Verdin. Georgia looked for a big inning as Levi Hyams followed with a base hit and Kyle Farmer was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, Barraclough recovered to strikeout Davidson and got Jonathan Hester to pop out to keep it 2-0.

Dawg junior Craig Gullickson started and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, no walks and struck out four before giving way to junior Ben Cornwell. He pitched one inning and then senior John Herman came on to start the bottom of the seventh after the Dawgs added a run in the top of inning for a 3-0 advantage. Herman pitched one inning and Georgia looked to sophomore Patrick Boling in the eighth and Eric Swegman finished things up in the ninth. They combined to limit the Gaels to five hits on the afternoon. Gullickson evened his record to 1-1 while Barraclough fell to 0-3.

“We had a lot of different guys pitch well this week and that’s encouraging,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Our offense played well, however we’ve got do a better job with the bases loaded. We had a chance to break open a few of these games and we didn’t. However, some of our guys are not feeling great, there’s a stomach bug going around the club so we got to get healthy. Still, I was pleased with how we played on this trip and throughout the week. This team is playing very inspired right now and they want to win games for Johnathan Taylor, and they are doing just that.”

The Dawgs continue their road trip this week with a Wednesday game at Kennesaw State before Southeastern Conference action begins Friday against nationally-ranked South Carolina in Columbia. First pitch against the Owls is slated for 6:30 p.m.

Fundraising efforts have been established to help offset/cover any medically related expenses for injured University of Georgia junior outfielder Johnathan Taylor.

An account has been set up at First American Bank and Trust (FAB). Donations can be mailed to the following account or dropped off at any FAB location.

First American Bank and Trust, c/o Johnathan Taylor Fund, P.O. Box 1688, Athens, Ga., 30603.

Taylor, a 5-8, 181-pound native of Acworth, Ga., has been transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to continue his rehabilitation. He sustained a neck injury during last Sunday’s baseball game with Florida State. He underwent neck surgery to stabilize his spine on Monday at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The son of Tandra and John Taylor, he has appeared in 117 games in his career including 91 starts. A Consumer Economics major, he owns a .312 career batting average.

Dawgs Sweep LSU


Freshman Morgan Montemayor pitched a two-hit shutout as No. 1 Georgia completed a Southeastern Conference series sweep over No. 21 LSU with a 12-0, five-inning victory on Sunday at Jack Turner Softball Stadium in front of a season-high crowd of 1,392.

With the sweep, the top-ranked Dawgs improved to 21-1 on the year and are off to a 3-0 start in SEC action while LSU falls to 15-10 overall and 0-5 in league play. For the series, UGA outscored LSU, 26-3, while batting .412 as a team.

Montemayor (9-1) faced LSU for the second time in as many days and provided nearly identical results. Having already tossed a four-hit shutout on Saturday, Montemayor returned to the circle Sunday to shutout out the Tigers again, this time allowing just two hits and striking out a career-high 10 batters.

From the plate, Georgia aided Montemayor with five runs in the first and seven runs in the third as four Dawgs each provided two RBI in the game including seniors Alisa Goler and Laura Trout and juniors Ashley Pauly (2-for-2) and Ashley Razey (2-for-3)

In the opening inning, senior Taylor Schlopy lead off with walk and moved around to third on a double to center from senior Megan Wiggins (2-for-3). Next, Goler drew a walk and ball four was a wild pitch that allowed Schlopy to score and left runners on second and third. Razey then followed driving in her two RBI on a double to center. Later in the inning with two outs, Trout drove in two runs on a single to left.

LSU starter Rachele Fico did not return to the circle in the second inning and took the loss to fall to 5-7.

In the third inning, Georgia batted around for the 12th time this season to produce seven more runs and extend the lead to 12-0. With Razey and junior Kristyn Sandberg aboard on a pair of single, freshman Julia Echols put down a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error on the play allowed Razey to score. Three batters later with two outs and runners on second and third, Pauly picked up her two RBI with a single to right. Following a fielding error that extended the inning, Wiggins added a run-scoring single to right and Goler capped inning with a two-run double to center.

With the series sweep over LSU, Georgia went 4-0 on the week with three run-rule victories including an 8-0, five inning win over Penn State on Thursday. Pauly led the team in batting average over those four games at .875 (7-for-8, 5 RBI) while Goler provided a team-best nine RBI while slugging 1.444. Wiggins led the team on the week with eight runs scored while adding seven RBI of her own, and Schlopy finished with seven runs scored.

Up next, Georgia takes to the road traveling to Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday to face South Carolina (16-7, 3-2 SEC). The Dawgs and the Gamecocks will play a double header starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dawgs Open Spring Practice


The Georgia football team opened its 2011 spring camp with a two-hour workout Thursday at the Woodruff Practice Fields. It was the Dawgs’ only practice before UGA students begin spring break following Friday’s classes. Georgia will resume practice on Tuesday, March 22.

“It was a little nippy out there, but it was a good day,” head coach Mark Richt said. “I thought the practice was well-organized and we had outstanding tempo from drill to drill. Players were giving great effort and coaches were coaching hard. It was a good day.”

A pair of coaches had their first official practice with the Dawgs as offensive line coach Will Friend and inside linebackers coach Kurt Olivadotti took the Georgia practice fields for the first time. Among the players Olivadotti will coach is Alec Ogletree, who moved from safety to inside linebacker.

“I want Alec to learn what to do,” Richt said. “No matter where you put him he is going to run and hit. He just has to learn what to do and get comfortable playing that position.”

Senior lineman Justin Anderson has also changed positions. The 6-5, 342-pound Ocilla, Ga., native will play offensive guard after spending last season on the defensive line. Anderson missed all of 2010 while battling a toe injury.

“He retained a good bit,” Richt said. “He really practiced today for the first time in a while. We’ll see how his toe holds up once he starts getting after some people."

In addition, Thursday's practice marked the debut for freshman quarterback Christian LeMay, who enrolled at UGA in January.

The Dawgs will practice a total of 15 times in the spring, culminating with the G-Day game April 16 at 1 p.m. at Sanford Stadium.

No. 1 Georgia Downs Penn State, 8-0, In Five Innings


Senior Megan Wiggins went 2-for-2 with four RBI including a three-run home run to lead the No. 1-ranked Dawgs to an 8-0, five-inning victory over Penn State on Thursday evening at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.

In a game that was added to the schedule just 12 hours prior to first pitch, Georgia (18-1) scored its eight runs on five hits, nine walks and four stolen bases.

Meanwhile, senior Sarah McCloud (2-0) and junior Erin Arevalo combined to shutout Penn State (8-7) allowing just two hits. McCloud started and worked the first four innings, and Arevalo worked the fifth.

Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Senior Taylor Schlopy drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a single from Wiggins and scored on a wild pitch from Nittany Lion starter Jackie Hill (5-4). Wiggins later scored on a sacrifice fly from senior Brianna Hesson.

In the second, the Dawgs extended their lead to 5-0. With runners on second and third, Schlopy narrowly missed a home run as she recorded a two-run triple on a ball off the top of the wall in right center. Wiggins followed with a sacrifice fly to left.

Wiggins put the game out of reach in the fourth with a three-run, line-drive home run to right. Junior Ashley Pauly and Schlopy were aboard for the round tripper after doubling and walking, respectively. It marked the fifth home run of the season for Wiggins.

Also of note for the Dawgs on Thursday, senior Alisa Goler, who was celebrating her birthday, drew two walks to establish a new UGA career walks record at 140.

Up next, Georgia opens Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series against No. 21 LSU (15-7, 0-2 SEC) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Dawgs and Tigers then play again on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Admission is free to all regular season home games at Jack Turner Stadium. For Saturday's UGA-LSU game, the first 500 fans will receive Georgia Softball Silly Bands.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lady Dawgs Lose To Vols


Jasmine Hassell scored a game-high 20 points for Georgia (21-10) in the Lady Dawgs' 82-58 loss to Tennessee (30-2) in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

Porsha Phillips added 10 points and 11 rebounds, her 14th double-double of the season and fifth in the last six games.

"There's not a whole lot you can say other than they whipped us," head coach Andy Landers said. "For much of the day, we did some what we needed to do to be successful, but we had breakdowns. When you have breakdowns and you're going against a team as good as Tennessee, you're going to pay."

Tennessee scored the game's first nine points over the opening 3:48. The Lady Dawgs finally got on the scoreboard on a pair of Hassell free throws at the 15:44 mark.

Georgia trimmed the lead to seven points at 16-9 on a Phillips lay-up with 8:48 remaining and appeared to pull within five on an alley-opp to Meredith Mitchell with 7:00 on the clock; however, the bucket was waved off due to an illegal screen.

Tennessee's lead bulged to 17 points three times before the half, lastly at 35-18 before the Lady Bulldogs scored the period's last four points before intermission.

The Lady Dawgs pulled within 10 on a three-point play by Hassell to open the second-half scoring but got no closer.

Tennessee led 46-34 at the 15:47 mark but then used a 7-0 run to extend that margin to 19.

"I thought our inability to box out Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen on the offensive boards early created some problems for us," Landers said. "In the second half when we cut it to 12, we let it happen again."

The Lady Dawgs will now await a likely at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. That bracket will be released a week from Monday, on March 14.

Georgia has competed in 27 of 29 editions of "March Madness" since women's basketball came under the auspices of the NCAA in 1981-82. The Lady Dawgs have reached 16 straight NCAA Tournaments. All-time, Georgia has finished as NCAA runner-up twice, reached five Final Fours and competed in 18 "Sweet 16s."

Diamond Dawgs Hand Noles First Loss


Dawg starter Michael Palazzone allowed one run through seven innings to lead Georgia to a 2-1 victory over fifth-ranked Florida State in front of 2,205 at Foley Field on Saturday.

The Dawgs (3-7) handed the Seminoles their first loss of the season as they dropped to 9-1 and did so in dramatic fashion over the final two frames. FSU left the bases loaded in the eighth and had two on in the ninth but the Georgia bullpen blanked the Seminoles for the second straight day. On Friday, they tossed 4.1 shutout innings and pitched two more Saturday.

Florida State jumped on the board in the top of the second on a solo homerun to right field by catcher Parker Brunelle. Brunelle and centerfielder Mike McGee accounted for four of the Seminoles seven hits on the day as Palazzone was able to keep the potent Florida State lineup in check as they entered the day batting .337. Palazzone tied his career-high by going seven innings and evened his record to 1-1. He scattered five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Georgia tied the game in the fifth off FSU starter Brian Busch. Curt Powell led off with a base hit and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Peter Verdin. With two outs, Levi Hyams laced a run-scoring double to right to tie the contest. Busch gave way to right-hander Mack Waugh in the sixth. Busch allowed one run on six hits, with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings of work. Waugh was able to strand Dawg runners on first and third to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Verdin brought the crowd to their feet with a leadoff-triple down the left field line. A sacrifice fly by Jonathan Taylor gave the Dawgs their first lead and what would be the game-winning run. Waugh was lifted for left-hander Tye Buckley who retired the two batters he faced to end the inning. Waugh got the loss to fall to 0-1.

“We had base-runners on a lot and had more opportunities for the big hit,” said Georgia head coach David Perno. “It was nice to see Levi, Verdin and Powell step up with big hits for us. Our middle of the order really had a tough time, but the rest of our guys stepped up and gave us some great at-bats and timely hits.”

Palazonne turned the ball over to sophomore left-hander Patrick Boling in the eighth. He walked shortstop Justin Gonzalez and allowed a single to second baseman Devon Travis (2-for-5) to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base for Florida State. A passed ball by defensive replacement Brandon Stephens moved both runners into scoring position. The sophomore struck out Sherman Johnson before intentionally walking McGee (3-for-3, walk). Boling then struck out FSU’s number four and five hitters in James Ramsey and Jayce Boyd to escape the jam unscathed.

“We hung in there and I can’t say enough about Michael Palazzone and Patrick
Boling,” said Perno. “It was an unusual eighth. To do what he did after we had second and third with nobody out was really a fantastic job by him. He gets all three punch outs and was able to get out of the jam. I was very pleased with the way we pitched, and we really did a great job.”

Boling returned to the mound in the ninth and immediately allowed a single to pinch-hitter Rafael Lopez. He recovered to retire the next batter, before walking pinch-hitter Stephen McGee to move the tying-run into scoring position. Dawg closer Tyler Maloof replaced Boling after the walk and struck out the final two batters he faced to close the door on the Seminoles and collect his third save.

Georgia will have an opportunity to win the series on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Foley Field. Left-hander Craig Gullickson (0-1, 11.57 ERA) will make his second start for the Dawgs while Florida State will send sophomore right-hander Scott Sitz (2-0, 0.82 ERA) to the mound.