TEMPE, Ariz. - #25 Georgia softball split a pair of games to open the 2018 season Thursday at the Kajikawa Classic. Georgia defeated San Diego State in the opener, 23-2, then fell to #3 Oregon in the nightcap, 8-3.
Senior outfielder Kendall Burton finished the day 6-for-7 with a home run and three runs scored. Four others finished with three hits each on opening day.
#25 Georgia 23, San Diego State 2 (5 innings)
Georgia team tied a program record for runs scored in Thursday's 23-2 season-opening win over San Diego State.
The Bulldogs belted seven extra-base hits, including four home runs in the contest. All nine starters in the lineup recorded at least one hit. Kendall Burton was a perfect 4-for-4. Alyssa DiCarlo and Alysen Febrey went 3-for-4, each with four RBI. Cortni Emanuel, Kaylie Harding, and Jessica Morgan all drove in a trio of runs.
Brittany Gray was the starter in the circle for Georgia, pitching two scoreless, hitless innings. Freshman Lauren Mathis entered, pitching another two scoreless, hitless innings. Mathis (1-0) earned the win in relief in her first career outing while striking out two Aztec hitters.
Alex Formby (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing 11 runs in two-thirds innings in her start for SDSU.
Georgia wasted no time getting the ball rolling as the Bulldogs put 12 runs up in the first inning, sending 15 batters to the plate. The scoring began with a three-run home run by DiCarlo in the third at-bat of the game. Other highlights from the inning included a two-RBI single off the bat of Justice Milz, a three-run triple by Febrey, and another home run, this time by Mahlena O'Neal. Emanuel added to the run production in the second inning with a three-run blast to left center, the first of the senior's career. An eight spot in the third rang the score up to 23-0. Kaylie Harding broke it open with a two-run single into right. A wild pitch scored Jordan Doggett and DiCarlo drove in another on a fielder's choice to third. Febrey's fourth RBI came on a ground-rule double to center. Morgan, a freshman, stepped in and knocked a three-run home run to left in her first career at bat, tying the program record for runs in a game.
The Aztecs not only broke up the shutout, but also Georgia's combined no-hitter with two runs on two hits in the top of the fifth inning.
On the base paths, Ciara Bryan, Emanuel, and Burton all recorded a stolen base. As a team, the Bulldogs drew seven walks, striking out only once.
Georgia is back in action this evening against #3 Oregon at Farrington Stadium in Tempe. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., ET.
#3 Oregon 8, #25 Georgia 3
The Bulldogs ran into a very good Oregon squad in the final game of the day in Tempe. The Dawgs pushed three runs across the plate on six total hits.
Burton closed the game 2-for-3 including her first home run in a Georgia uniform.
Amanda Ablan (0-1) suffered the loss in the circle. Ablan pitched an inning and a third, surrendering two runs in the first inning. Georgia used three pitchers in relief in the contest including three innings from Kylie Bass.
Megan Kleist (1-0) recorded the win in the circle for Oregon. She worked six complete innings, allowing all three Bulldog runs. She fanned six and walked a pair. Maggie Balint pitched one inning in relief.
Oregon's Gwen Svekis hit a two-out, two-run home run to center field in the top of the first to put the Ducks ahead early, 2-0. They tacked onto the lead in the top of the third with two more runs. A double by Shannon Rhodes followed by a bloop single down the left field line by Mia Camuso each plated a run, widening the lead to 4-0 on Georgia.
Burton put the Bulldogs on the board with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the third, cutting the Oregon lead to 4-1.
Svekis drove in another run for the Ducks in the top of the fourth, bringing the lead back to four, 5-1. Rhodes went deep with a two-run home run in the sixth frame, adding to the lead, 7-1.
After reaching on a fielder's choice, Emanuel came around to score from first on a double laced down the left field line by Milz, cutting the Duck lead to five in the sixth, 7-2.
A double steal executed by the Ducks plated their eighth and final run of the evening.
The Bulldogs didn't go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. Bryan and Burton started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a foul out, Doggett drew a walk to load the bases and roll the batting order over. Emanuel drove in Bryan with an RBI fielder's choice to bring the final tally to 8-3.
Georgia is back on the diamond Friday with two more games beginning with #15 Utah at 1:30 p.m., ET, followed by #19 BYU at 9:45.