ATHENS, Ga. - The 15th-ranked University of Georgia softball team overcame two more hurdles to remain perfect at home, 16-0, Saturday afternoon on the second day of the 11th Annual Bulldog Classic at Jack Turner Stadium.
In its first outing of the day, Georgia shut out the Boston College Eagles, 4-0. Immediately following, the Bulldogs downed the Western Carolina Catamounts, 7-2.
#15 Georgia 4, Boston College 0
Senior Mary Wilson Avant (8-3) pitched a complete game in the circle for the Bulldogs. Shutting out the Eagles, Avant tallied 10 strikeouts, surrendered three walks and only allowed one hit. This performance marked back-to-back, seven-inning complete game shutouts for Avant. The last pitcher to complete this feat was Erin Arevalo in the 2012 season.
Senior Ciara Bryan bounced around the bases to score three of Georgia's four runs. Bryan had a 2-for-3 showing at the plate, knocking a single and a triple. Freshman Sydney Kuma paced the Bulldogs, recording two RBI on one hit. Junior Mackenzie Puckett and Sara Mosley each tacked on an RBI. In total, Georgia plated four runs on six hits.
Georgia leapt out to the early 1-0 advantage thanks to the lead-off triple from Bryan. Kuma grounded into a fielder's choice to plate Bryan.
Avant worked three-straight scoreless innings to hold onto the one-run lead heading into the bottom of the third. She would hold BC scoreless through seven.
It was the Kuma, Bryan combination again that pushed Georgia to a two-run lead. Bryan was hit by a pitch, stole second and touched home on a double down the left field line from Kuma, 2-0 Georgia.
Bryan crossed home yet again in the fifth to widen the Bulldogs' lead to three. Bryan reached on a single to right field and used her speed to score on a Mosley single followed by an error.
In the bottom of the sixth, Puckett sprung into action, driving in Doggett as the result of a pinch-hit single. Avant struck out the side to solidify the 4-0 Georgia victory.
#15 Georgia 7, Western Carolina 2
Senior Alley Cutting (5-1) worked six innings in the circle for Georgia. Cutting struck out seven, walked none, allowing four hits and two runs though neither were earned. Senior Amanda Ablan came in relief in the top of the seventh. In her lone inning in the circle, Ablan tallied one strikeout and allowed one Catamount to reach on a single.
At the plate, junior Jessica Morgan jumped at her first appearance in the starting lineup this season, knocking Georgia's only home run of the day. Morgan's two RBI matched two from Fincher to co-lead the Bulldogs. The freshman duo of Sydney Kuma and Sara Mosley each had 2-for-3 showings. Doggett and sophomore CJ Landrum contributed one RBI apiece on two hits each. In all, Georgia plated seven runs on 11 hits.
In her first start of the season, Morgan jumpstarted the Bulldogs' offense, blasting a two-run home run in the bottom of the second to take the 2-0 lead.
A Georgia error in the top of the third allowed WCU to cut into its deficit before tying it two-all off a wild pitch.
Another pair of errors, this time from WCU, allowed Georgia to plate two runs in the bottom of the third to regain the 4-2 advantage. Mosley led off for the Bulldogs with a stand-up double down the left field line and scored on a fielding and throwing error in the Doggett at-bat. Landrum drove in Doggett with a right side single.
The Bulldogs were able to widen the gap, 5-2, in the bottom of the fifth. Fincher kickstarted the momentum for Georgia with a lead-off triple. Doggett then jumped at the first pitch of her at bat, sending it to right field to drive Fincher home.
Cutting was able to strand two WCU runners in the top of the sixth. With two on and two out, Fincher smoked one off the left field wall to drive in two more runs, extending Georgia's lead to five, 7-2. Ablan came in for relief to seal the 7-2 Georgia victory.
Georgia wraps up play at the 11th Annual Bulldog Classic Sunday at 1 p.m. with a rematch against Western Carolina.
Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
On Mary Wilson Avant's performance in today's and yesterday's games...
"I thought she was outstanding. She threw us a couple of shutouts that we had a good chance of winning, and I'm just really proud of her. She's really just matured. Her and Coach [Rachele] Fico have a great working relationship. They work really well together. They come into the dugout and you hear them talking and growing the game. I'm really proud of their efforts together, the maturity there, and the leadership Mary Wilson brings to our team."
On knowing she has more depth on the bench with Jessica Morgan back... "Jessica's a kid that's been working really hard. She had a phenomenal fall, and unfortunately got a concussion. But she's come back and worked hard, and it's really fun to see her let herself be the hitter she is."
Senior pitcher Mary Wilson Avant
On what her key was this weekend...
"Just trusting my pitches more than normal, and focusing on using my legs through all my pitches."
On whether her and Coach Fico are on the same page when it comes to calling pitches...
"Yes, and we always communicate between innings if something feels off or something feels extra good. We communicate so we're making sure to throw something a little less or a little more."