Georgia outfielder Ciara Bryan (4) swings for a pitch during a NCAA softball game on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, at the Jack Turner Softball Stadium in Athens, Georgia. Georgia defeated Alabama State 9-1 in six innings. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Georgia softball came into the 2020 season with expectations to be one of the best teams in the SEC and was meeting that high standard before the season came to its abrupt end.

COVID-19 ended the Bulldogs’ campaign after they defeated Furman 12-1. Georgia finished 23-5 overall with a 2-1 record in SEC play.

Here are the Red and Black’s postseason takeaways from Georgia softball’s 2020 season.

Offense leads the way

Georgia ended the season with one of the best offenses in the conference. The Bulldogs finished with the third-highest batting average hitting .335 and led the SEC with 36 home runs.

The Bulldogs’ offense got off to a hot start, run-ruling the first seven opponents faced. Georgia won 16 out of 28 games played by run-rule.

Individually, senior outfielder Ciara Bryan led off the Bulldog lineup as one of the top home run threats in the country. Bryan ended tied for a SEC-high 11 home runs and finished with 39 runs scored, which led the NCAA.

Georgia’s offense helped push the Bulldogs to a strong start in 2020, which carried into its first and only SEC series of the year, defeating South Carolina in two of three games.

Veteran pitching staff

The Bulldogs entered the 2020 season with seven seniors on the roster. Three of the seniors were pitchers who pitched a majority of innings for Georgia.

Mary Wilson Avant, Alley Cutting and Amanda Ablan threw a combined 119.2 innings of Georgia’s 168 played in 2020.

Avant led the Bulldogs’ veteran staff with 75.1 innings pitched. She led the SEC with 120 strikeouts and tied for first in the conference with 11 wins. Junior Lauren Mathis finished third in the SEC with 82 strikeouts.

Georgia’s upperclassmen carried the load in the circle in 2020. Their performance helped Georgia’s strong start to the season and was looking to push the Bulldogs into postseason success.

Bright future ahead

The arrival and emergence of underclassmen talent led the Bulldogs in 2020 and will look to lead again in future seasons.

Freshmen Sydney Kuma and Sara Mosley, along with sophomore Lacey Fincher, led Georgia’s offense. The underclassmen finished with the three highest batting averages on one of the best offenses in the country.

Head coach Lu Harris-Champer put Mosley and Kuma into the starting lineup on their first game day for Georgia. They both made Harris-Champer’s decision count by going a combined 4-4 with three RBIs in their first game and remained consistent names in the lineup.

Fincher was coming off her own strong freshman season in 2019 and added to it in her second season in Athens. Fincher finished with the team’s second-highest average hitting .417 behind Kuma’s team-leading .438 average.

The Bulldogs had high hopes for the 2020 season and were fulfilling their expectations before the season unexpectedly ended. Georgia will look to build off a strong start to 2020 and carry it into 2021.

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