Neither Georgia nor Ole Miss seemed poised to score on Friday night at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens until a walk-off triple won the Bulldogs the game, 1-0.
After Justice Milz hit a single between first and second to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, Tyler Armistead tripled to the right-field wall to bring Milz all the way home and end the game.
“Coach just told me, before I went up to bat, ‘We just need something up in the air,’” Armistead said.
Prior to Armistead’s hit, the only Georgia player to reach third base was Alyssa DiCarlo in the first inning.
While on offense the Bulldogs left their efforts for the game’s pivotal moment, starting pitcher Kylie Bass (11-3) was solid through all seven innings.
Bass finished the game having only given up three hits.
“Kylie steps on the mound and owns it,” Armistead said. “Nobody phases her.”
Friday was Senior Night, so Bass was celebrated before the game, and a video of her speaking about her time at the University of Georgia played before she was honored. The video hinted at this unwavering spirit. In it, Bass expressed gratitude to Georgia softball for “taking a chance on a five-foot kid.”
“I always have a chip on my shoulder,” Bass said. “I was just trying to keep putting up a zero for the offense. I knew they would come through; we have a great offense.”
The game initially did not look as though it would be a pitcher's duel. Ole Miss set the tempo of the game with two straight hits to start, but Bass settled down and ended the inning with three outs. Her dominant outing took off from there as Ole Miss went three up, three down in the second and third innings.
In the fourth, Ole Miss' Jessica Puk was hit by a pitch, but she was never given a chance to advance. The Rebels earned their final hit in the top of the fifth. Mikayla Allee earned a one-out single as her hit barely floated over the outstretched arm of DiCarlo.
More scoreless frames brought the game into the bottom of the seventh tied at 0-0.
“I can’t say enough about Justice [Milz] making her last at-bat her best at-bat,” Georgia head coach Lu Harris-Champer said. “And then Tyler [Armistead] to be clutch.”
Bass’s thoughts were not as pragmatic as her coaches. They were less focused on gratitude and more on the realization of the inevitable.
“I knew we were going to walk it off,” Bass said. “I knew Tyler was about to come up clutch.”