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Georgia infielder Savana Sikes (1) bats at a game against Georgia Tech at the Jack Turner Softball Complex on Apr. 17, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. Georgia defeated Tech 7-0. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

It was a quiet start for the Georgia softball team Wednesday night, but the silence broke in the fourth inning when the Bulldogs had a four-run rally, propelling them to a 5-1 victory over Georgia State.

The rally began with a single by Savana Sikes. Sikes was driven in by Jordan Doggett, who knocked a double. Ciara Bryan and Justice Milz followed suit, with a double and a single, respectively, and each earning an RBI. The Bulldogs had five hits and four RBIs in the fourth inning.

“With [Doggett], passing the bat and having that big hit, it just brought the energy for the next batter,” Sikes said.

Sikes has confidence in her team’s ability to move runners around the bases. She said that a rally similar to the one in the fourth inning tonight is typical of Georgia softball.

“Really whenever anybody gets a hit we’re all good,” Sikes said. “We all can hit the ball, so if anybody’s on, we just work hard to move the runner.”

Before the fourth inning, Georgia scored only one run. Bryan singled up the middle to get on and then scored on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning.

Sikes said that her hit was a product of “up the middle mentality.” In practice, the Bulldogs focus on this for their at bats. Evidence of the training was also clear in Bryan and Milz’s fourth-inning hits. Bryan’s double and Milz’s single both landed in center field, directly up the middle.

“If you work up the middle, good things happen,” Sikes said.

The four-run burst gave Georgia a 5-0 lead heading into the top of the fifth, but Georgia State’s Skylar Mosel was quick to respond with a home run to left field. Mosel’s hit cut Georgia’s lead to 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Both teams were scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings.

Bryan also had a strong offensive performance. She had three hits and two runs in her four at-bats, as well as an RBI. 

Georgia threw three different pitchers Wednesday and pulled its starter, Amanda Ablan, after only two innings.

Head coach Lu Harris-Champer said that the rchange was intentional and that the team used the game to allow pitchers to get some in-game practice before the team resumes conference play against South Carolina this weekend.

“We got the opportunity to get a lot of pitchers in and get them a little bit of work before going into conference,” Harris-Champer said.

Ablan was replaced by Alley Cutting, who was then replaced by Lauren Mathis after the fifth inning. As a team, Georgia only gave up four walks, all of which came from Ablan. The Bulldogs had six strikeouts with Ablan claiming one, Cutting having three and Mathis netting two.

“You come out and give what you have in every game, but these games are great opportunities to touch on little things here and there that we can take into conference play,” Harris-Champer said. “When we get back into conference play Friday, we are just going to compete and bring the joy and fight our tails off for Georgia.”

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