Sydney Chambley, Jayda Kearney

Georgia outfielder Sydney Chambley (9) during the Bulldogs’ game against Florida on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium in Gainesville, Florida (Tim Casey/UAA Comms)

Georgia softball defeated No. 4 Florida 6-0 Saturday afternoon to secure a spot in the 2021 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City for just the fifth time in program history.

The Bulldogs scattered eight hits throughout the game with a strong performance by underclassmen. Sophomore Jaiden Fields and freshman Jayda Kearney both hit solo home runs, followed by a two-run home run from sophomore Sydney Kuma. Juniors Savana Sikes and Lacey Fincher scored twice and tallied two hits, respectively.

“Just the team, as a whole, banded together and got the job done,” head coach Lu Harris-Champer said. “Super proud of Savvy (Sikes) as a leadoff, getting on-base four times. Then, Jaiden Fields with a bomb, and Jayda Kearney, a bomb from her. Sydney Kuma with a big blast that put us up pretty big. Just really proud of the team — a lot of grit, a lot of guts.”

Graduate Mary Wilson Avant (20-10) led from the circle as she struck out four Gators and allowed only four hits for her second consecutive shutout.

“I’ve kind of adjusted as the season has gone on,” Avant said. “But I really focused on having an attacking mindset and going for the pitches I want, seeing the pitches I want, and then, staying loose and having fun with it as well.”

The scoring started early for the Bulldogs, with Sikes getting hit by a pitch and making her way to third base off a double. She came home on a single from Fincher to put Georgia up by one in the first.

The lead continued to grow with Fields earning her second home run of the weekend and Kearney hitting her sixth home run of the season. Kuma made it a 5-0 game in the fifth with a two-run home run to center field. Freshman Sydney Chambley’s single brought home sophomore Sara Mosley for Georgia’s sixth run of the game.

“We’ve been practicing this whole time to get it done early,” Kuma said. “It helps Mary when we get those runs up early, takes some stress off her back. We were determined and we wanted to get our pitch, and when we saw our pitch, to get our swing off.”

Avant and the rest of the Georgia defense stayed composed through the sixth and seventh innings to hold the shutout.

“At the end of the day, it’s Mary and the defense,” Harris-Champer said. “Defense wins championships. Super proud of the team for playing clean defense all weekend and I think that was a big difference for us.”

Georgia will go into the WCWS unseeded for the first time in their five trips to the tournament. They will face either No. 5 Oklahoma State or No. 12 Texas in the first round on Thursday, June 3.

“We’re just dangerous right now, we’re hot,” Kuma said. “We’re going to take any team that comes our way and we’re going to do our thing every single at-bat, every single pitch, and we’re going to get it done.”