CLEARWATER, Fla. - The 15th-ranked Georgia softball team opened play at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational Friday with a pair of victories.
Georgia (8-0) continued its run-rule streak to seven games with a five-inning victory over Kansas in the first game of the day, 11-0. The Bulldogs had to come back in the second game to down No. 21 Northwestern, 8-3.
#15 Georgia 11, Kansas 0 (5 inn.)
The offense was led by two hits each from senior Ciara Bryan and freshman Sydney Kuma. Bryan, along with fellow senior Justice Milz, each knocked three-run home runs in the third inning.
Mary Wilson Avant (4-0) worked three shutout innings in her start in the circle, allowing only a single hit and fanning five hitters. Freshman Laura Bishop made her collegiate debut in the fourth inning and worked two scoreless innings to complete the shutout of the Jayhawks (1-6).
The Bulldogs took the lead in the bottom of the second on a wild pitch, allowing Kuma to touch home and put Georgia ahead 1-0. Another wild pitch with bases loaded plated sophomore Savana Sikes. Senior Jordan Doggett then singled past a diving shortstop to plate two more runs in the second to lengthen the lead to 4-0 on the Jayhawks.
A pair of three-run home runs in the third inning by the senior duo of Milz and Bryan blew the game open, giving Georgia a 10-0 lead. A sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore CJ Landrum plated Georgia's 11th and final run in the fourth.
#15 Georgia 8, #21 Northwestern 3
The Bulldogs had to come from behind in Friday's nightcap, overcoming a two-run deficit to defeat 21st-ranked Northwestern (2-4).
Sikes led the charge with a two-hit performance with a trio of RBI. Bryan, Sikes, and senior Mahlena O'Neal all hit home runs for Georgia in the contest while Doggett had a key two-run triple to put Georgia back in front in the fifth.
Lauren Mathis pitched two and two-third innings in her start, allowing all three of Northwestern's runs. Alley Cutting (1-0) entered in the third inning and pitched a shutout the final four innings, allowing only one hit and striking out five en route to her first victory of the season.
Bryan wasted no time at all giving Georgia a lead by leading off the game with a solo shot to centerfield. It was the first time since Anna Swafford against Missouri on March 28, 2014, that a Bulldog led off a game with a home run. The home run was Bryan's second of the day and fifth of the season.
Northwestern found the lead in the home half of the third on a two-run double. A sacrifice fly in the inning widened the lead to two, 3-1.
Sikes cut the lead back to one with a solo shot to left field, her second of the season, in the top of the fourth, 3-2.
The first two batters for Georgia reached to lead off the top of the fifth. Doggett gave Georgia back the lead with a swing of the bat, tripling to right field and plating both runners, 4-3. Doggett tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman Sara Mosley, widening the lead to 5-3.
Senior Mahlena O'Neal knocked a solo shot to center in the sixth to widen Georgia's lead to 6-3.
With bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh, Sikes dropped a single into center, platting pinch runners Tyler Armistead and Jacqui Switzer, bringing Georgia's final tally to 8-3.
Cutting worked a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to slam the door shut on the Wildcats.
Georgia takes on No. 17 Texas Tech and #3 UCLA Saturday. First pitch against the Red Raider is set for 10 a.m. The Bulldogs face off against UCLA at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.