ATHENS, Ga. - A thrilling, 10-run fifth inning in Friday's nightcap highlighted 18th-ranked Georgia's pair of run-rule wins over Central Michigan and 21st-ranked James Madison at Jack Turner Stadium.
Down 11-9 in the second game of the day to JMU, Georgia plated 10 runs in the inning to run-rule the Dukes in five innings, 19-11. The thrilling victory came on the heels of yet another five-inning win for the Bulldogs earlier in the day over Central Michigan, 8-0.
Georgia's 10-run fifth inning was the first 10-run inning since Georgia scored 11 in the third against Radford on March 2, 2018. The Bulldogs' 19 runs is a season high and the most since Georgia scored 23 against San Diego State on Feb. 8, 2018.
Georgia 8, Central Michigan 0 (6 inn.)
The Bulldogs plated eight runs on nine hits to open play at the Georgia Classic. Sophomore Lacey Fincher led the charge with a pair of hits in the game while freshman Sydney Kuma had three RBI thanks to a triple and senior Ciara Bryan drove in two.
In the circle, Alley Cutting (2-1) pitched three innings in her start, striking out four. Amanda Ablan worked two innings in relief, also fanning four hitters. Together, the pair one-hit the Chippewas and allowed only one walk.
Georgia plated six runs to begin the game. The Bulldogs loaded the bases and with two out, Sara Mosley drew a walk to put the Bulldogs on the board. The next batter, Kuma, tripled off the wall in right to clear the bases and open a four-run lead. A wild pitch allowed Kuma to score easily, 5-0 Georgia. With runners on first and second, Bryan singled to right to plate Savana Sikes and lead 6-0 after one inning.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Bryan in the third allowed Justice Milz to tag up and widen the lead to 7-0.
In the home half of the fifth with Jacqui Switzer on second, pinch hitter Shelby Suplee, in her first career appearance, knocked a game-winning double to right center to run rule Central Michigan, 8-0.
#18 Georgia 19, #21 James Madison 11 (5 inn.)
The Bulldogs and Dukes combined for 30 runs. Georgia's 19 runs were scored on 15 hits. Mosley had a stellar game, scattering three hits with five RBI. Four others had two hits each in the contest while Bryan had four RBI and Kuma and Fincher each had three.
Lauren Mathis pitched two innings in her start, allowing six runs. Cutting (3-1) earned her second victory of the day, this time in relief, working three innings. She gave up five runs, four of which were unearned, on three hits.
James Madison quickly loaded the bases to begin the game. An RBI base hit to left plated the first run for JMU. Madison Naujokas then knocked a grand slam to center to take an early 5-0 lead on Georgia in the first. Another home run, this time a solo shot by Kate Gordon, widened JMU's lead to 6-0 in the top of the second.
In the home half of the inning, a pair of home runs, the first a three-run shot to center by freshman Mosley sliced the lead in half 6-3. Bryan then stepped in and blasted her eighth home run, a two-run shot, over the trees in right center to cut the Dukes' lead to one, 6-5.
JMU plated three runs, two unearned, in the top of the third to regain a 9-5 lead. In the bottom of the frame, Mosley doubled in Kuma to cut the lead to three, 9-6.
Three errors by the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth led to two more runs for the Dukes, opening an 11-6 lead. With two on in the bottom of the fourth, Kuma singled to right, plating both runs, and taking second on the throw home. A passed ball allowed the freshman to take third and then score on a single to right by Fincher, narrowing JMU's lead to two once again, 11-9.
Georgia's 10-run fifth began with a bases-loaded walk to Kuma to narrow the deficit to one, 11-10. Fincher then drove in two runs to take the lead with a single to center. RBI base hits by Mackenzie Puckett, Mosley, Sikes, and Bryan kept the inning going and the Bulldogs' lead growing. With two one, Jordan Doggett doubled to plate Hannah Coulter and enact the run rule, 19-11.
In all, Georgia sent 14 batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring 10 runs on nine hits.
Up next, Georgia will square off against JMU and Central Michigan again on Saturday. Georgia takes on the Dukes at 1 p.m. followed by the Chippewas at 3:30 at Jack Turner Stadium. Both games will stream on SEC Network+.
Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
"The whole day was a lot of fun. You go all the way back to the first game and Shelby Suplee coming in to walk it off. I was just really excited for her. She is such a hard worker and such a good kid. And then tonight, things weren't going our way but we kept fighting. I don't know that I have had more fun in a game in years. It was so much fun to see everyone in there just continuing to have grit, fight, be scrappy and find a way and just pass the bat along to each other. It was a lot of fun."
On what you take from today's games into tomorrow...
"We will just keep on working and keep passing the bat. Stay tough and stay gritty. You can't say enough about Ciara's at-bats, just money all night. Sara Mosley had a big night at the plate, she just kept fighting for her team. Lacey Fincher had some big clutch RBI. Same with Sydney Kuma. It was just really fun all the way up and down the lineup."
Sophomore Lacey Fincher
On the game overall...
"It was a huge game for us. Not just because they are a top-25 team, but we came out and played Georgia softball tonight. We were down in the first inning right off the bat, and then we just showed what we've been practicing. We showed grit. We showed determination. And, we played Georgia softball tonight."