While both fans and athletes prepared for G-Day just up the road, the Georgia softball team was occupied with an SEC doubleheader with the No. 8 ranked Tennessee Volunteers. The Bulldogs (32-14, 6-10) took an early lead and were able to hold on, winning game one, 6-2, at Jack Turner Stadium.
The win marked the 300th career SEC win for head coach Lu Harris-Champer, one game after she eclipsed 1,100 total wins in her illustrious two-decade coaching career at Georgia.
The Bulldogs had no problems with finding runs early in the game but were forced to lean on defense after the bats went cold during the midpoint of the game. The first run of the game came in the second, then two more came across in the third inning thanks to seasoned hitters such as Alyssa DiCarlo and Alysen Febrey. A hard-hit ball from DiCarlo forced an error from the second baseman, then Febrey straightened one out after four straight foul balls and scored the other run.
After taking control in the third inning by jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Bulldogs followed that up with a near tumultuous fourth inning. A couple of hits from the Volunteers and then Alley Cutting hitting Kaili Phillips loaded the bases. However, Cutting and the Bulldog defense stayed calm as Febrey and DiCarlo snagged two line drives—allowing Georgia to escape the inning with no runs given up.
The Bulldogs found themselves in another tough situation in the top of the fifth, as there were two runners on and one out with the heart of the Volunteer batting due up. After Cutting almost forced a double play, Haley Bearden was able to put the first Tennessee run on the board with a single up the middle.
Alley Cutting went a strong 5 1/3 innings and put out multiple fires for the Bulldogs. But after putting two runners on the base paths in the sixth, Kylie Bass came in relief.
Jenna Holcomb, the first batter Bass faced, singled and scored a run to bring the Bulldog lead down to 3-2. There looked like a possibility for more Volunteer runs, but Bass gave her defense two easy plays and ended the threat.
After two very short rain delays in the bottom of the sixth, the sun began to shine and play restarted with two on and one out for Ciara Bryan.
Bryan has been reliable at the plate as of late and continued her hot streak with a bases-clearing triple. The junior’s 14th career triple finally gave the Bulldogs the cushion they were looking for in the previous innings, making it 5-2. Justice Milz tacked on another run for good measure and all but ended a Volunteer comeback in the seventh.