Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lady Bears Stop Dawgs


The Baylor softball team struck for five runs in the bottom of the first inning and padded the lead with three more in the fifth, claiming an eventual 9-2 win over Georgia in the rubber match of the NCAA Athens Super Regional Sunday evening in front of 1,483 at Jack Turner Softball Stadium. With the win, Baylor advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City June 2-8 while the Dawgs end their season at 51-14.

After dropping game one by a 5-1 score yesterday, Georgia responded in a big way today, posting a 14-2 romp of Baylor in this afternoon’s second game to even the series at 1-1 and force tonight’s match-up. But the Lady Bears took control in the first inning and never looked back as hurler Whitney Canion went the distance, allowing just two runs over seven innings of work, walking two and striking out three.

Georgia starter Morgan Montemayor – the game one winner – took the loss, falling to 27-5 for her freshman campaign. Montemayor allowed five runs on four hits without making it out of the first. Erin Arevalo came on in relief of Montemayor and threw four innings, allowing three runs on four hits.

The Dawgs eight-member senior class wraps up its tenure with an overall record of 194-63, a total that includes 127 home wins to mark the most of any Georgia class. The group owns 144 spots in the record book, including 13 single-season records and nine career-best totals.

“I’m so proud of Baylor in the second game,” said head coach Lu Harris-Champer. “Whitney Canion pitched a great game. I’m happy for them and I wish them well in Oklahoma City. I’m also proud of our team and the way we fought hard. Incredibly proud of our seniors and the legacy that they’ve left on this program is second to none.”

After a scoreless top of the first for Georgia, Baylor put up the five-spot with the big blow coming on a three-run shot off the bat of Megan Turk to left center that gave the Lady Bears the early 5-0 lead.

Georgia got one of those back in the top of the second as right fielder Brianna Hesson started the inning with a double in the gap in right. Ashley Razey moved her to third on a grounder to the second baseman KJ Freeland, before Kristyn Sandberg lined one to the wall in left center to score Hesson on the double, cutting it to 5-1.

Following two scoreless innings from Arevalo, Sandberg collected her second RBI of the game as she hammered a solo shot to straightaway center to make it 5-2, becoming the sixth Georgia player to hit 10 home runs this season.

The bottom of the fifth was more trouble for the Dawgs, as a two-out single from catcher Kelsi Kettler made it 6-2 before Sydney Wilson smacked a two-out, two-run homer over the scoreboard in left to push it to 8-2 in favor of BU. Alison Owen came out of the pen for Georgia and was greeted by a tripled from Kayce Walker, but Owen eventually stranded her at third to avoid further damage.

Georgia made a little noise in the top of the sixth as Trout laced a two-out single to center to send Ashley Pauly to the plate with two on, but Pauly flied to deep right to retire the side and end the threat.

Canion gave herself more insurance with a one-out bomb over the tree line in center to increase the lead to 9-2. Alisa Goler reached in the Georgia seventh but Schlopy hit into a game-ending double play as the Lady Bears held on to punch their ticket to Oklahoma City.

The Dawgs had their run at three straight WCWS appearances cut short in Georgia’s third time hosting a Super Regional. The Dawgs were playing in their 10th NCAA tournament, all under Harris-Champer’s leadership, now with a 40-20 all-time record in the postseason.

In today’s early game, the Dawgs put 14 runs across, including 10 in the fourth inning. The 14-run output marked Georgia’s postseason record. The Dawgs’ five home runs tied the school’s single-game record in that category.

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