GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Georgia softball team defeated nationally-seeded No. 4 Florida by way of a 4-0 shutout Friday evening in game one of the Gainesville Super Regional at KSP Stadium.
The Bulldogs and Gators will square off in game two Saturday at noon. With a win, Georgia would punch its ticket to its fifth Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Saturday's game will air nationally on ESPN.
Graduate Mary Wilson Avant (19-10) pitched her second shutout of the Gators this season. She allowed only three hits and carried a no-hit bid into the fourth inning, ending on a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth. Avant concluded the game with nine strikeouts, her highest strikeout count since 11 at Ole Miss on March 28.
At the plate, redshirt-sophomore Jaiden Fields was responsible for exactly half of Georgia's six hits. Her three hits tied a career best. Freshman catcher Payden Bordeau tied a season-high two hits including a three-run home run in the seventh for a season-best three RBI.
In her first start in the lineup since May 1, Fields put the Bulldogs (33-21) ahead in the top of the third with her sixth home run of the season, 1-0 Georgia. The leadoff home run was a shot to dead center.
Bordeau's fourth home run of the season provided some key insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, widening Georgia's lead to 4-0.
Avant retired the Gators (45-10) in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the game one victory.
With the win, Georgia improves its postseason record against Florida to 4-1.
Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
"Proud of the team for coming out playing hard. It was nice to see us be out there playing Georgia softball. I thought that Mary (Wilson Avant) pitched a heck of a game. The defense was really solid behind her. Really excited about the bottom of the order-we had 6, 7, 8, 9 be really clutch with Jaiden (Fields) going 3-for-3 today. Just an outstanding day at the plate for her. Then, Pay (Bordeau) with a big, clutch bomb at the end, just to give us a little extra. Just proud of the team for the scrap, fight, find a way-really proud of them."
On the momentum heading into Game Two...
"We're going to go one game at a time. Today was fun. It was a good game by the girls. They played hard, and tomorrow's another day, and we're going to come out hard again."
Sophomore Jaiden Fields
On her home run...
"It was pretty cool. I just did what I knew I had to do. My approach was to hit a change-up-she pitched me change-up last time we faced her, so that's what I was hitting. I knew that Mary was doing a great job on defense. So, just going up there, I was able to be comfortable with what the way she was pitching, so just going up there and doing my thing."
Freshman Payden Bordeau
On her home run...
"Just a mindset of not trying to do anything big. Truly, the mindset was to hit a ground ball between the first and second basemen, so just trying to stay in the moment and stay calm and just do what I know to do."